Touché March 4, 2016
Posted on March 4, 2016 by under Touché,


A Big Life

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jesus Christ)

I remember sitting with Doug Leonard at The Depot in Cold Spring.  He was considering upending his life, his relationship with and the ministry of his church in Rockland County by moving to Oman and taking on the work of the Al Amane Center.  I wanted him to stay in Rockland and continue the work of transformation at the Cortlandtown Reformed Church.  I am glad that he did not listen to my counsel because the work that he has been doing in Christian-Muslim relations is transforming the world.  He is working with the U.N. on conflict resolution.  He has been called on by the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Challenge.  He is meeting with kings and queens, princes and princesses from around the world.  He is living into “A Big Life.”  He feels that he has found his calling in dealing with issues of inter-faith dialogue and conflict resolution and, while he may not stay forever at the Al Amane Center, he certainly has a clearer sense of what God has created him to do.  Doug will be here Sunday to preach and to join in a potluck at noon to share more fully what God has been doing through his ministry.

The Ridder Church Renewal process and Faithwalking are built around the assumption that living the missional life is living “The Big Life” God intended for us.  I recognize that there is a danger using Doug as a model because of the big stage that he has entered.  The hope is not for fame or fortune, or a big stage, but finding our calling.  Jesus calls it- the abundant life.  Frederick Buechner writes it this way: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  This big life may be lived in your home raising godly and gracious children; it may be in making sure everybody in Poughkeepsie who needs a bed receives a bed.  I can’t say what that big life is for you, but I am committed to helping people discover and develop that.  That is why I am committed to Faithwalking and Ridder.

We will be gathering in a few weeks, on April 2 and 3, to explore what it means to be fully alive and fully human.  Our retreat at the Taconic Retreat Center will be a time to go deeper into those questions for your life.  I am looking forward to it.

As we head into the retreat I am pleased to introduce you to the Ridder Team for this next phase of the process.  The team of six is: Joe Donato, Ben Harrington, Wesley Joseph, Michele Ledesma-Baer, KC Schuster, and Colette Varanouskas.  They are working at recruiting for the weekend, but I pray there is no recruitment needed for you to be encouraged toward “A Big Life.”

In Christ,