Friday, July 1, 2011

Faithful By Design

My "Faithful By Design" column in the July 2011 edition of The Presbyterian Outlook
July 1… the beginning of the second half of 2011. Or, in a business-model sense, it’s the third quarter. Time, no matter how you look at it, for a review of some the important details.
First off, I’m amazed at the rush it still gives me when I see my name, an article, or my picture in a magazine or newspaper. I gave up saving hard copies of columns several years ago. But – with literally thousands of published credits now – I get that same tingle of excitement every time I see something new.
Yesterday, for example, the July edition of The Presbyterian Outlook arrived. My commentary is sporadic in terms of when they run me, but my page has a permanent title – “Faithful By Design”– and I feel that it’s an amazing privilege to have some kind of dialog with the entire Presbyterian Church.
Work, in general, is going well. With “Reaching Toward Easter” (due in the stores November) in the final stages of production, I can concentrate on the next book – the one I’m still writing! I’m working with some great material, but really need a couple of weeks super-concentrated effort to put the big picture together.
Breaking News: Believe it or not, I checked my email five minutes ago and the finalized cover design for “Reaching Toward Easter” has showed up for my approval. I’ve got to say it was – as Rebekah would suggest – a “chilly bump” moment. I’m trying to get permission to share the design here on my blog, so watch this space.
Along with the publicity bonanza, this weel I’ve been talking with Tampa Tribune Religion Editor Michele Bearden. She wants to do a feature about me as a “man married to a minister”, with particular attention to my (occasional) Preacher’s Husband blog. I share a lot of that unique story in “The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian” (2009), so maybe the article will give that book a welcome shot in the arm.
Health: Talking of details, some of you may remember my 2,500 mile goal for 2011. That’s walking. The projected schedule requires 50 miles per week, or 100,000 steps. Well, halfway through this year I’m already at 1,319 miles. I’ve registered almost 2.7 million steps on my step-counter. Every week or so I check the counter for reliability, and it tends to come a little short, at around 92% of my actual steps, so my real totals could be adjusted up.
Regardless, I’m very pleased. It has been especially challenging to keep the numbers high during the onslaught of 98-degree days, but Scout Labradoodle has been a great encouragement so we almost never miss a hike.
The key is to keep moving. I don’t so much believe 50 miles is necessarily any better than 40 miles, so long as I’m not sedentary. I’m personally convinced that America (and the western world in general) is seeing just the beginnings of a massive looming health crisis that could be averted simply by moving around. Type II diabetes, obesity, cardiac-disease, compromised quality of life – and it’s just as much about mobility as it is diet.
In a way – and I won’t belabor this obvious parallel – the American lifestyle disaster is a mirror of the malaise of the church:
  • We need more than special-events and spiritual calisthenics, we need simple – consistent – faith-referenced mobility
  • Use it
  • Practice
  • Get off your duff and out of that comfort zone
  • Keep the spirit in motion…
July 1. Welcome to the second half of 2011! So much opportunity to serve and grow and push the envelope. Time’s a wasting!

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