Monday, August 20, 2007

My Book

Hey, can we do shameless self-promotion here? I think I read someone else using the phrase, so I'm going to go for it. It's not all self-promotion, of course; it's also a great joy I can share.
I published a book early this year. It's a fantasy fiction novel entitled "As in a Mirror." If you have any taste for this genre, please order a copy and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your comments.

It's only available online (through an internet self-publishing house): www(dot)lulu(dot)com. Search for my name (emrys tyler) and "As in a Mirror" ought to come up. If you're feeling really keen, after you read it (not before) leave a review on the Lulu website.

I post this now because I just had to do a major revision--changing one name in the text--because a character showed up in a scene where he wasn't supposed to be present. Ach! But now it's flawless until another reader finds another error. Maybe you'll be the next one!

Thanks for indulging me.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This is a response to an earlier post by Julie: "How did your congregation celebrate Pentecost?"

I (with the blessing of the worship committee) decided to make this Pentecost my annual sermon with clearly proselytizing content. So I prepped the congregation by preaching a 4-sermon series on evangelism, and told them way in advance that Pentecost would be invite-a-friend Sunday.

Those aren't the parts that are significant to me. They're just background.

I led a candlelight service (at the end of May). Everyone got a candle on the way in. After the sermon, I invited all present to come forward and light his or her candle from a candle held by one of the elders. When they lit their candles, they received blessings from the elders (prepared beforehand, because my elders are generally nervous about leading any part of the worship service).

Long-time members of the congregation affirmed their confession in Christ and received a blessing of affirmation.

Lapsed members confessed their intention to recommit and received a blessing of strength and will to do so.

Non-believers came forward and stated their desire to be found by the Lord, and received a blessing of new faith.

At the end of the ceremony, everyone's candle was lit, and I reminded them of the Pentecost story: that the Holy Spirit had come down on all of them by faith in Jesus. When we extinguished our candles, I framed it not as a "blowing out" but as a "spreading the light" throughout the world--our calling as disciples. (I think I may have got that idea from one of y'all. Thanks!)

Most everyone I talked to found it to be a moving worship service. I'm glad I did it. Perhaps we'll have to light more candles again at Pentecost next year.

Or maybe we can get those Burger King crowns (remember those?) and tape candles to them, then light them--"tongues of fire coming to rest on them" and all that. Maybe for a Children's Time . . .


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Doesn't the Tortoise Win?

I'm slow. So slow, in fact, that today is the first time I checked Seeing the Moon blog. I feel deeply disappointed in myself for not checking earlier; at the same time I recognize cognitively that this trend might continue. Sigh.

The summer flies by like an albatross, bothering not even to put its feet out. The illusion of stopping for a moment would deceive no one. And the wind blows so well and so high that pausing seems like tom-foolery. Yet drifting on the cool courses of jet-stream brings its own serendipitous serenity. When you get far enough away from the surface of the earth, things slow down. The whitecaps become flecks of dust lolligagging around a smooth blue calm.

Vegetables explode (especially that squash), Japanese beetles devour. Beds hunger for water, soil thirsts for shade. The Lord hungers for justice, the Spirit thirsts for righteousness (lectionary text: Isa5.1-7, praise the Lord!). How will we taste on the tongue of our God? Will we have the sweet bouquet that presages a brilliant vintage year? Or will we sting the palate of our Saviour with a bitterness that makes the Spirit gag? This is my question for the week.

Shalom, chaverim; shalom, chaverot!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Dog Day Greetings

Hello friends! How are you? What is going on in your lives and ministry?

This is the gospel lection for today (a part of it, anyway):

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, " Can you see anything?" And the man looked up and said, "I can see people, but they look like trees, walking." Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even go into the village."

~ Mark 8:22-26

I am getting ready for a big transition: I will be preaching on August 26 for a congregation that may call me to be their designated pastor. I am very excited by this development, and also aware of the newness of this call, after these four years of work in interim situations.

We have above an average, workaday miracle of Jesus'. I love the messiness of it-- saliva!-- and also the not-perfect-on-the-first-try nature of it as well. I pray for all of us that we might embrace our messy lives and ministries, and that we may engage in holy persistence in all our efforts.

Emrys is building a treehouse... and enjoying squashblossoms!

Julie is enjoying quiet mornings before VBS.

I saw a curious item in the local paper. (I wonder if she "accidentally" burned the wedding photos too...)

Tell me where you are.