Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Thursday, September 13, 2007


My friend, former associate pastor, and keen minded, large hearted companion in serving Christ, died yesterday. When a woman in our congregation had cancer, he shaved his head in solidarity. He could sing like Kermit the frog. When we were having a brain storming session in a staff meeting once, everyone kept shooting down ideas being offered, so I said, "Enough with the sarcasm - anybody who criticizes someone else's idea needs to put a dollar on the table." Someone spoke. Scott quietly reached into his pocket and laid down the dollar. We all burst out laughing.

Scott loved the church, without idolizing or romanticizing it. In fact, he was one of the church's most vocal critics, but always with an eye towards building and contributing to its health. His heart and mind was directed towards making sure that Jesus' followers ask the right questions. He read widely, and his thoughts, sermons and books by authors whose names I can barely pronounce have shaped me in significant ways.

But mostly, Scott loved the church by loving people - sitting with them in the grief; laughing with them in their pleasures; walking with them through their everyday lives with no agenda other than to be present. And so I mourn the loss of a close friend - but more - I'm filled with melancholy, joy, and grief as I remember that season of life when those few of us were thrown together to serve the great community that is Bethany Community Church. NE, RK, SB, RD, TT, CG -- six of us called to serve -- they were rich times, even as today is also filled with rich times. But SB's departure... has me looking back with gratitude on days that are forever gone.

Scott had cancer - and was in his mid-forties. What is this, that people are taken so soon? So many taken so soon...

Thanks Scott - for your life, your grace, your courage, your honesty, your friendship.


At 13/9/07 13:55, Anonymous donna dahlstrom said...

You will be missed, dear Scott, but as long as there is Kermit the Frog sitting upon my desk or Simpsons re-runs on TV, there will always be laughter as I remember your humor, your compassion, your life. I will forever be grateful that we had you for as long as we did and that you changed us as much as you have.

with much love,

At 13/9/07 22:21, Blogger Rachel said...

Richard - I just came across your blog via a friend's blog. The news of Scott's death saddens me. It adds to the heaviness I feel from hearing of a 2 month old who died of SIDS. It's hard at times like these not to give into fear. My heart is sick thinking of the day when this type of tragedy comes to my family. I know it is not if, but when. My prayer since college has been that I can sing "It is Well With My Soul" no matter what life throws at me. It makes my eyes well just thinking about it. Without the comfort of the Holy Spirit I can't imagine how people survive these times.

I've read a few blogs back and enjoy your thoughts on journaling/blogging. I too am a journaler and find that blogging satisfies my need to write on a regular basis but it is definately not a place that I will ever post anything very personal, especially when it relates to those I love. Blogs are great for encouraging and sharing ideas but not for working through the deeper, personal things in life.

I come across my sermon notes from a sermon you gave a few years back (about Moses being honest with God with his doubts) in my Bible every now and then and think fondly of my time at Bethany. I so appreciate your teaching - so transparent and spiritually challenging! Our new pastor, Fitz Neal, actually reminds me of you in many respects.

When you have some time, check out my blog to see some recent pictures of our kids.



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