The people you meet, the books you read…

blogs“You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.”

Maybe you’ve heard that quote from Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. In my post “Deep and Wide and Webbed Theology,” I shared about some people who had been especially influential to me. Most of that influence came through reading their works, but it also felt like I had met them by the time I had read several things from them.

I want to introduce you to a few people that I think you should meet. I think hearing what they have to share will change who you are five years from now. There’s a great benefit from hearing from multiple voices that are pressing in good directions – each seeing life from just a bit of a different vantage point. These are mostly people I actually do know, and to my excitement, several just   (re-)started writing recently.

If you’re not using an RSS feed, it’s really the best way to go if you decide to read multiple blogs. Check out feedly to get started.

Crawford Wiley – Crawford is a musician, a student of sacred music at Notre Dame right now. He has a deep appreciation for beauty and liturgy. His writing isn’t quite poetry, but it soars higher than regular prose. His recent pieces on the Daily Office and Christ’s love and on the Christian view of love in a Pink song are especially profound and worth a read.

Wesley Sanders – Wesley just graduated seminary and started writing. He’s one of the brightest young minds I know of in the UMC. His recent article “Without Reserve?” lays out the truth that seems to undermine our Methodist system of itinerancy, and says very well what I’ve been trying to say about pastors’ salaries.

Tom Fuerst – I wish I could assess pop culture the way Tom does. He also writes reflections on particular Scripture passages and on different aspects of ministry. Whatever he does, it’s always profound, never generic. He just wrote an interesting piece on the new Superman movie and how it falls short.

Jonathan Powers – Jonathan just yesterday was awarded his Doctor of Worship Studies. Now that he isn’t writing a dissertation, Dr. Powers has time to blog again. Great news for all of us. Jonathan has taught me most everything I know about worship, and I have a feeling I’ve only scratched the surface of what he’s got. His most recent post is a good place to start: “You’re a Theologian and Don’t Even Know It (or Worship Does Theology).”

Chad Brooks – Chad will give you a bit of organizational wisdom, some great thoughts on ministry in the local church, and a lot to chew on re: worship and culture. See a good, quick read he put out on vision as it relates to ignorance and clarity.

Derek Robinette Derek is a long-time friend of mine. His love for people and energy for what he does are compelling. I expect he’ll share a lot of honest and encouraging thoughts and stories. His first post on youth ministry was especially good.

Andrew Thompson – I should have stopped by now, but I can’t help myself. Andrew Thompson is brilliant and always thoughtful. He would probably be my first stop for deep and reasoned thinking about Methodist doctrine and theology. His post (and linked article) on the re-emergence of doctrine in Methodism was great.

I could include others. I’d like to keep going but feel like I better stop here. I’ll probably point you in more directions in the future. But that should give you a good start.

Bonus: Oh, okay, one more. This one has nothing to do with ministry and theology, so I’m including it here. The Grown Man has just begun writing again. He makes me laugh out loud and actually teaches me how to be a better, grown man along the way. And I’m told that he has more female readers than male, so I can recommend him to all.

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