Scott Hagan

Author's details

Name: Scott Hagan
Date registered: September 25, 2012
URL: https://plus.google.com/112662514982926163841

Latest posts

  1. Reflections on the The Word and World: Confirmation is Counter-Cultural and that is a Good Thing — April 23, 2014
  2. Reflections on the The Word and World: God draws close at Easter — April 17, 2014
  3. Reflections on the The Word and World: Prayer is Not Like That or That…So Slow Down — April 8, 2014
  4. Reflections on the The Word and World: Checking in. Where are we? — April 2, 2014
  5. Reflections on the The Word and World: Paying Attention To What? — March 26, 2014

Author's posts listings

Apr 23 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Confirmation is Counter-Cultural and that is a Good Thing

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/04/confirmation-is-counter-cultural-and.html


"Our consumer culture is organized against history. There is a depreciation of memory and a ridicule of hope, which means everything must be held in the now, either an urgent now or an eternal now."
Walter Brueggemann in his book The Prophetic Imagination, 1978

   Our world and the culture that is so pervasive would have all of us reduce the timeline of history down into the mere present. Things have to be done now. Trust is lessened because it requires faith in the future. Most of all, the crime of culture tempts us to devalue the past because we've bought into the myth that our present is so different. Brueggemann, the Bible scholar and living legend in the world of church and academia, is speaking directly about us. 
   Yet, the church is called to hold the present in tension with the past and the future. There is more to history than right now. So, we read from the sacred texts of the Bible every week in worship and have volunteers teaching our children to memorize them every month. We sing songs that were not written to sell records. We gather in a place that was built by the hands of others who came before us. We go forth believing that our purpose in life is larger than our appetite or needs or impulses. This is the very essence of the church's counter-cultural response.
   Confirmation is also about honoring history, empowering our sense of memory, and finding hope in both the past and the future. As Confirmation Sunday approaches this weekend, I am looking back on the past three months spent in close proximity with the young people who have participated. I am in awe of what a blessing it has been for me personally. They are smart, funny, engaged, and every moment spent with them has been a tremendous gift. I am thankful to Andy Unger for his steady and faithful leadership in the lives of these young people. I am thankful to all of the parents who helped these young people to keep this a priority, and especially to Jenifer Middleton who attended every session and assisted in numerous ways as mom and leader. 
   We are more than just the present moment. The young people who stand in front of the church are embracing the past and staking a claim in the future. This is what all of us are called to do, every day. Faithfulness and trust in the Creator from our past and Savior of our present and future is the stuff of every day for Christians. Grace and Peace, Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/confirmation-is-counter-cultural-and-that-is-a-good-thing/

Apr 17 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: God draws close at Easter

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/04/god-draws-close-at-easter.html


Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am thirsty." A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 

    The Gospel of John offers these details about the last moments of Jesus earthly life in chapter 19. Jesus' final words were "It is finished." His body could no longer endure the suffering. Yet, there is something more going on with Jesus' last words. Marcus Dods, from his Footsteps in the Path of Life, suggests:

The purpose of God in the history of man was accomplished when Jesus breathed his last upon the cross. The cry “It is finished” was not the mere gasp of a worn-out life; it was not the cry of satisfaction with which a career of pain and sorrow is terminated; it was the deliberate utterance of a clear consciousness on the part of God’s appointed Revealer that now all had been done that could be done to make God known to man and to identify him with men. God’s purpose had ever been one and indivisible – declared to men in various ways, a hint here, a broad light there, now by a gleam of insight in the mind of a prophet, now by a deed or heroism in king or leader, through rude contrivances and through the tenderest of human affections and the highest human thoughts. God had been making men ever more and more sensible that his one purpose was to come closer and closer into fellowship with him, and to draw them into a perfect harmony with him. Forgiveness and deliverance from sin were provided for them, knowledge of God’s law and will, thus they might learn to know and to serve him – all these were secured when Jesus cried, “It is finished.”

   God draws closer to women and men at Easter. History is indeed filled with the efforts of God to awaken humanity to the goodness of intent of our Creator. God hinted here, revealed there, spoke then, and nudged us again and again. Easter is different. Easter is both declaration of intent and the erasing of past grievances. Easter is the forgiveness for the past and the new promise of the future.
   May our songs, as varied as we are, and our attention to God's holy story draws us and others closer to the truth of all that Jesus accomplished in that first Holy Week.
   Grace and Peace, Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/god-draws-close-at-easter/

Apr 08 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Prayer is Not Like That or That…So Slow Down

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/04/prayer-is-not-like-that-or-thatso-slow.html


"The great thing is prayer. Prayer itself. If you want a life of prayer, the way to get it is by praying. We were indoctrinated so much into means and ends that we don't realize that there is a different dimension in the life of prayer. In technology you have this short horizontal progress, where you must start at one point and move to another and then another. But that is not the way to build a life of prayer. In prayer we discover what we already have. Start where you are and you deepen what you already have. And you realize that you are already there."
Thomas Merton, 1980

   Just last week, I wrote about progress: about moving from one place to another. Our construction has been progressing. Our Vision Team - tasked with discerning how the Spirit of a God has made Epworth unique compared to 10,000 other churches - has been progressing. But, to be honest, I've had a sense that I've been standing still. 
Thomas Merton
   In the quote above, Thomas Merton, the contemplative giant of the last century, says that prayer is unlike the progress seen in these modern examples. Prayer is not about progress or movement from one place to another. It is discovering what we already have. I believe this helps to explain the struggle I've lived with this Season of Lent. I have struggled to pray. I have prayed - but not in the amounts or the quality that I know Jesus desires. It is not for trying. One part of my Lenten observance was to fast from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I've accomplished that goal almost flawlessly for five weeks now and have loved the extra time, but I have not translated this gained time to better prayer. 
   It is then that I re-read another passage from Merton that drives home how difficult this is. It is learning to slow down to the pace we were made for and give up the exhilarating, addicting speeds that our world now would have us believe are normal (and required if we are going to be counted as successful). Merton writes,

"If we really want prayer, we'll have to give it time. We must slow down to a human tempo and we'll begin to listen. And as soon as we listen to what's going on, things will begin to take shape by themselves."

   May this Easter come with a renewed sense of how much God loves us and wants to speak to us through the gift of prayer. May we be silent enough and slow down enough to experience this. Grace and Peace, Scott

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/prayer-is-not-like-that-or-that-so-slow-down/

Apr 02 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Checking in. Where are we?

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/04/checking-in-where-are-we.html


  The Building Committee continues to serve this congregation well through the two projects that Epworth has going on right now. We can all see the results of the renovations that are happening to our interior. Plans for expanding the rear parking lot are in the works, as well. They have met multiple times, kept in touch through countless emails, and checked in on a weekly basis through their presence in worship and in the office each week. A building project requires communication and checking in. I have been blessed to be involved in an up close way on this project. Many conversations with Andy Rolling, the general contractor that is leading our work, happen each week. Most of them are simply for the purpose of checking in. How are we doing? Where are we? What is next?
  There are other important projects happening simultaneous to the work in our hallways. A group of about a dozen of Epworth's leaders have been meeting since January. We are engaged in a process for discerning God's unique vision for Epworth. The last three sessions have all been driven by broad questions. They have sought to determine what we do (our mission), why we do it (our core values) and how we do it (our map for ministry). There are more questions ahead. In the end, the vision team will be excited to share with the congregation where we've been, where we are, and where we are going, with God's leading. 
I hope we've all been engaged in another project, too. These six weeks leading up to Easter are intended to build within us the anticipation of God's ongoing work of saving us through Jesus Christ. My encouragement to observe moments of silence is also a way of checking in: not with the general contractor here on earth, but with the great builder who is it work in our minds and souls. These questions are before us: how are we doing, where are we, and what is next? 
  I encourage you to continue in the Lenten observance of seeking God and listening to the spirit. I, also, encourage you to join us on Thursday, April 17, in our sanctuary for our Maundy Thursday service. We remember Jesus' final words before his arrest and betrayal, and celebrate again the holy moments of Communion. 
  Grace and Peace, Scott.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/checking-in-where-are-we/

Mar 26 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Paying Attention To What?

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/03/paying-attention-to-what.html


   I rounded the corner of a hallway I have walked through hundreds of times before only to be standing face to face with a wall. It literally was not there the day before. I was walking through the underground hallways of St. Francis hospital when all of the sudden my route changed. I had been in the hospital the day before, but this wall had been erected since I had last passed that way.
   I found myself paying more attention as I walked the rest of my visit there - what else had I missed? What else had changed along the path that had once been routine?
   Later, that same day, I found myself standing in the middle of the Linwood Cemetery waiting for the start of a graveside service. I looked up the hill to see the marker at the burial plot of General Henry Benning, the lawyer and Civil War soldier from Columbus who is the namesake for our city's most famous landmark now. Beyond that marker, in the distance stood the Medical Center. I thought about the juxtaposition of a place that intends to bring healing with a cemetery where loved ones are laid to rest. I thought of the contrasts between the two. I then thought of some similarities, too.
   Finally, riding back from my visits and settling into my routine, I found myself paying attention to some of these thoughts. You could say I was paying attention to what I had been paying attention to. That is when it hit me: I had been missing something all day.
   I've been encouraging each of us to spend some time this Season of Lent in silence. I've asked us to consider turning off some things - televisions, smartphones, music, and distractions - in order to allow God to speak to us in the silence. Silence can allow us to pay closer attention to the ways God is leading us. But, we have to work at it. For all of the attention I had been paying that day to hallways at the hospital or landmarks in downtown, I had failed to listen to the One who gives all these things meaning. Spending time in prayer, meditation, and silence before God requires effort. It is more than just the passing of time. It has the power to heal and to guide. Jesus said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6) May we spend some time in silence paying attention to the Spirit of God wanting to lead us. Grace and Peace, Scott

An Update from the Building Committee
   The Hallway Renovations will be wrapping up this week and next week. The new and expanded Women's Bathroom is on track to being finished in the next week, also. As the bathroom nears completion, they will be able to put down the carpet tiles in the back. On Monday, March 31, the ceiling tiles and grids from the front will be removed, the walls will be painted, the new ceilings will be installed, and the new baseboards will go in. Because of this, the church office will not be accessible except by phone or email next Monday through Wednesday.
   The Parking Lot plans were signed on Friday and submitted by French and Associates to the City for review and approval. Still on track for starting in early May.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/03/paying-attention-to-what/

Mar 26 2014

Reflections on the The Word and World: Paying Attention To What?

Original post at http://dscotthagan.blogspot.com/2014/03/paying-attention-to-what.html


   I rounded the corner of a hallway I have walked through hundreds of times before only to be standing face to face with a wall. It literally was not there the day before. I was walking through the underground hallways of St. Francis hospital when all of the sudden my route changed. I had been in the hospital the day before, but this wall had been erected since I had last passed that way.
   I found myself paying more attention as I walked the rest of my visit there - what else had I missed? What else had changed along the path that had once been routine?
   Later, that same day, I found myself standing in the middle of the Linwood Cemetery waiting for the start of a graveside service. I looked up the hill to see the marker at the burial plot of General Henry Benning, the lawyer and Civil War soldier from Columbus who is the namesake for our city's most famous landmark now. Beyond that marker, in the distance stood the Medical Center. I thought about the juxtaposition of a place that intends to bring healing with a cemetery where loved ones are laid to rest. I thought of the contrasts between the two. I then thought of some similarities, too.
   Finally, riding back from my visits and settling into my routine, I found myself paying attention to some of these thoughts. You could say I was paying attention to what I had been paying attention to. That is when it hit me: I had been missing something all day.
   I've been encouraging each of us to spend some time this Season of Lent in silence. I've asked us to consider turning off some things - televisions, smartphones, music, and distractions - in order to allow God to speak to us in the silence. Silence can allow us to pay closer attention to the ways God is leading us. But, we have to work at it. For all of the attention I had been paying that day to hallways at the hospital or landmarks in downtown, I had failed to listen to the One who gives all these things meaning. Spending time in prayer, meditation, and silence before God requires effort. It is more than just the passing of time. It has the power to heal and to guide. Jesus said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6) May we spend some time in silence paying attention to the Spirit of God wanting to lead us. Grace and Peace, Scott

An Update from the Building Committee
   The Hallway Renovations will be wrapping up this week and next week. The new and expanded Women's Bathroom is on track to being finished in the next week, also. As the bathroom nears completion, they will be able to put down the carpet tiles in the back. On Monday, March 31, the ceiling tiles and grids from the front will be removed, the walls will be painted, the new ceilings will be installed, and the new baseboards will go in. Because of this, the church office will not be accessible except by phone or email next Monday through Wednesday.
   The Parking Lot plans were signed on Friday and submitted by French and Associates to the City for review and approval. Still on track for starting in early May.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/03/paying-attention-to-what-2/

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