Saturday, June 28, 2008

Diplomacy education economy entrepreneurship

Said George Fechter today at Chautauqua:

+ Growing the economy requires two things: finding smart people to support and focusing on solving problems.

+ Single biggest and longest-lasting difference in the world would be made by helping women throughout the world learn to read.

+ Higher education can be an effective form of diplomacy.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Chautauqua pictures

A picture of Lake Chautauqua and some of the manu sailboats that adorn it. Enjoy --
This picture is of the Hall of Philosophy. It seats around 500 people and is the location of many great presentations and discussions, including the daily religion lectures.

This is the famous Atheneaum Hotel.

One of my favorite places is the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. It is an inspiring and engaging place offering a ton of activities in a relaxing and beautiful atmosphere.

My family and I are here this week while I serve as chaplain for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which has two houses on Chautauqua’s campus. One of our daughters is taking a class about computer gaming, and has already written the first level of her new, as yet unnamed, computer game. Our other daughter is taking a beginning ballet class.

Next week Janice is presenting a program on the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Africa, Swaziland in particular, and her recently published book, Exploring Solutions: How to Talk About HIV Prevention in the Church. I am teaching a class on the biblical and cultural history of Satan.

I’ll post a bit here and there about our adventures at Chautauqua.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

New book HIV AIDS discussion in church

Check out this new book on HIV and AIDS discussions in the church and other community settings:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Below is a press release from the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, an organization I respect.

Leading Conflict Mediators Convene in Oslo, June 2008

Conflict 'hot spots', such as Darfur and Chad, Iran and Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Lebanon, Kenya, Congo and Cyprus, sit high on the global agenda of mediators.Many of the peace-makers in these conflicts will be among the approximately 100 senior mediators who will assemble in Oslo on 24 to 26 June (Tuesday to Thursday). Their purpose is to exchange experiences, examine critically their mediation practices, consider how to adapt to new mediation perspectives, and to build ties with fellow international professional peacemakers.

The OSLO Forum, as this annual gathering is called, has come a long way in its 6-year history. From just a handful of conflict mediation practitioners at the first meeting in 2003, the Forum has developed into what is now widely acknowledged as the leading global assembly of the world's top mediators.

United States international relations

An opinion column worth a read about smart power in the US:


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New church site

When you get a chance, check out

Still needs some work, but it's underway and will be consistently updated!


Church camp climbing wall

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) church camps in Indiana kicked off last weekend. This picture is from Camp Barbee in Leesburg, IN.

Trampoline on Father's Day

Part of Father's Day, 2008: assembling the

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Youth mission pictures

The whole group!

First Christian Church, Shelbyville IN
Youth and Sponsors
Some Christians promote an escapist theology where Christians wait to escape one world for another. Other Christians strive to enact God's will in this world as in heaven.
36 youth and adults from First Christian in Shelbyville, Indiana are in the latter camp. I'm pleased to be one of them, and proud of their work and witness.
Here we are in Dungannon, Virginia, at the Dingannon Development Commission.

More youth mission trip pictures

More pictures from the youth mission and service trip.

Monday, June 09, 2008

First Christian Shelbyville youth mission

Two more youth mission pictures.

First Christian Shelbyville youth mission Monday midday

36 youth and adults from First Christian, Shelbyville IN are engaged in mission and service work in southwest Virginia with the Dungannon Development Commission.
In the picture to the left, many of the youth and adults (others joined later) are outside the chapel after Sunday morning worship. The chapel was on a 5.2 mile hike the youth and adults took.
The trip is off to a grand start -- little sleep, lots of work and even more fun; just the way youth trips are supposed to be!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Full Life

My view of God largely influences how I live my life. Said the other way around, how I live my life largely results from my view of God. I’m convinced of this!

The decisions I make, the chances I take, the depth of my relationships, the ways I celebrate and suffer, worship and work, help and hope – in short, how I live my life – results from my view of God.

At the church I serve, we just started a worship series built around this truth. We are calling the series, “How Big is God?” In it, we are exploring two very real questions: 1) Do I view God as small and occasionally reliable or big and always reliable; and, 2) what difference does it make in how I live my life?

If I view God as distant and uncaring, then I am likely to act in ways that are uncertain, timid and passive. When the going gets rough, as it always does at some point, I might give in, give up or give out because I’m not sure that God is really there, really engaged or really cares. My tomorrow is likely to be the same as my yesterday since the unpredictability of change makes growth undesirable.

On the other hand, if I view God as dependably present and utterly loving, then I am likely to act in ways that are confident, trusting and even daring. I know the security of God’s acceptance and the reliability of God’s promises. Growth and change are for me adventures to embrace. Yes, they are still unpredictable, but they can be embraced because God is trustworthy.

With a big and dependable God, I am allowed, even encouraged, to live a big life. What is a big life, you ask? Today let’s look at just two characteristics of living a big life.

First of all, a big life snatches all life has to offer and even squeezes out a little more. I like this quote from Ray Bradbury, "I do wish to run, to seize this greatest time in all the history of man to be alive, to stuff my senses with it, to eye it, touch it, listen to it, smell it, taste it, and hope that others will run with me, pursuing and pursued by ideas."

A big life snatches all life has and squeezes out more.

Second, a big life shares with others. You have gifts the world needs. What exactly are your gifts and who exactly needs them? I don’t know.

As a friend puts it, “Maybe your song won't be sung on David Letterman. It may never make the top-40 list. But somebody out there needs to hear it. Maybe it's the 92-year-old shut-in who lives next door, who giggles every time she overhears you sing, ‘I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Weiner’ outside her bedroom window. Isn't that enough?”

It is. A big life shares with others.

So go on now, get out there. Live a big life. It’s okay, you know, because thankfully yours is a big God!

Nathan Wilson is pastor of First Christian Church on West Washington Street, and a life coach helping people move from where they are to where they want to be in their professions and their personal lives. He can be reached at