New job title!

I am pleased to announce that I am now an instructor coaching and marketing consultant with BeADisciple!

After more than a decade of building, leading, and marketing my own courses, I’ll now be helping other instructors to do that. Hopefully, I’ve learned some things along the way that will support new (and seasoned!) instructors in their ministries!

You can learn more about all of the BeADisicple team here. And if you are an instructor looking for a little support with your courses, please drop me an email!

Blessings,

Beth

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Spider Babies!

While this isn’t my best photography, look closely in the mass of green spider plant and you’ll see some yellow streaks and a few orange ones. The yellow are fresh new stems, with just the start of new spider plants emerging at the end.

The orange are more sturdy stems, ones that have been spreading for a few weeks – and they culminate off-camera, with 20-30-50 babies per stem!

Those stems have merged with the big pots of geraniums on my deck so that little white spider baby flowers peek out between the red blossoms! They also spread out across the deck wall like ivy and, in the corner, are moving up and almost over, like Rapulzel getting ready to scale herself right out of here!

I’m a preacher and teacher, so I can’t help but see metaphors all over the place! And here they are in abundance! From the variety of life stages held in the geography of one small pot… to the beauty of the intermingled flowers… to the need for trimming, separating, and repotting… It’s all here!

But I am think this afternoon – when I was too tired to tackle a visit with a relative – on the lack of care I put into my spider plants. They seem to thrive on being neglected, preferring not to have an overabundance of water, and they do so much better when root-bound with barely enough soil to support them!

The only time that I do spend extraordinary time with them is in late spring when I dust them off and take them outside for the summer. (“them” may be an exaggeration… this spring’s was an “it”) I pot the babies in fresh dirt and water; I separate the root-bound. Then I walk away and hope Mother Nature does her thing.

This year of horrible heat, I have taken a little more care. If I notice that there won’t be rain for a week, I pour a little water around the edges of their pots… But I have done nothing to deserve being gifted with 100-150 baby spider plants to adorn my deck this August!

There are all sorts of metaphors this works for – but you know I am overly focused on the women in the Bible these last few years. Many of us preachers and teachers do little to care for the abundance of beauty, variety, longevity, and hardiness exhibited by those women. And yet they have endured there for thousands of years.

Give them just a little bit of care, a little repotting into the present, some gentle nurture, and they will grace your life like these plants grace my deck! And if you need a few spider plants, please drop me a note!

Blessings,

Beth

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Another Facebook Live!!!!

Tan sand, dark blue ocean, and pale to rich blue sky.

I had a revelation as I trudged through what seemed like miles of sand to the shoreline… I wouldn’t have lasted a week in the ancient Middle-Eastern wilderness/dessert/however you translate “arabah“!

Perhaps instead of needing to go to seminary, we all need to spend some time at the beach? Can’t wait to talk with Meg Calvin – and all of you about this!

Blessings,

Beth

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Facebook Live event!

Thank you to Terry for being with me in this Live event – and for having such great things to say about the courses!

If you weren’t able to be there, the recording is still on BeADisciple’s group page!

On Monday, July 12th, Terry Palmatier – a current participant in the Women’s Ministries program – and I will be talking about three questions that empower women in ministry! We promise to be brief – if that’s possible when talking about such a great topic!

Please join us at 10am CST – 11am Eastern time – don’t be late!

But if you can’t make it then, just check on BeADisciple’s Facebook page for the video: facebook.com/groups/BeADisciple.

And I hope you are having a great July!

Blessings,

Beth

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Evaluations – fear and trepidation….

There was a time that, whenever I saw an evaluation for a course, I was filled with fear and trepidation….

It came from experience: normally, the only people who fill out evaluations are one who have some high stakes involved – who care dramatically about that course.

And often those are people who didn’t earn a good grade or didn’t like the structure or the technology or the teacher….

I remember some tough evaluations from college students who didn’t do well in a course and those evaluations often revolved around my many failures!

So last fall, in the midst of the pandemic – with college students forced into online learning and living in an incredibly stress-filled situation…. Well, it was an almost sure thing that evaluations were not going to be good.

I admit, I let the fear and trepidation win. I did not encourage anyone to turn in an evaluation!

When the results came in, I also admit, I ignored it for awhile. But then curiosity won out over fear.

Amazingly, they were great evaluations! Students appreciated that I had tried to make the religious information interesting and relevant to their lives.

I get evaluations from BeADisciple.com all the time, and they, too, are much easier to read. Often I learn what is working and what isn’t working in a course and can make adjustments. Sometimes I just have to accept that one person’s view might not be everyone’s.

But I’ve learned to welcome the responses of any sort and to use them to help me be a better educator!

You see some of those evaluations on this website. They are titled “Reviews” in the bar to the right of your screen. I invite you to read them – you have nothing to fear! And you’ll likely learn something about the courses that I lead that can help you to evaluate whether they might be right for you or not.

I hope they are!

Blessings,

Beth

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Tables of one sort or another….

As I looked at the picture at the top of this page today, I had a flashing thought about family… You see, that table is an “heirloom.” (You might call it a “hand-me-down”…. or an “antique”… or something less friendly….)

It’s rather shabby, not very sturdy, and it takes up a lot more space than you’d think a little table would.

But I’m never getting rid of it! It belonged to my grandmother’s grandmother – generation 1.

My grandmother – generation 3 – painted it with the same paint she painted the floors in her house every few years. Usually a muddy brown.

When my father inherited it – generation 4 – he decided to strip away all the years of paint and find the wood beneath. Unfortunately it wasn’t very nice wood and he, too, painted it, although with a better quality of paint!

I got it – generation 5 – when my parents sold their home in the north and headed south permanently. And a few summers ago, I put a coat of white paint on it and hoped for the best.

No amount of paint can change the fact that it is a very old table, of not very fine quality wood. It does have wonderful turned legs but that just makes it hard to dust. There’s nothing remarkable about it at all.

But it belonged to my great, great, grandmother. Five generations have placed their books and candles and pictures on it… and who knows what else! I’m sure it held a dirty diaper or two, some beer bottles, maybe even an ashtray!

Like all tables, it’s meant to be used and it has lived its life and done its task very well!

As it holds those books for the Women’s Ministry certification program, I think about all the tables in those women’s lives, too. The tables that Hagar and Sarah sat around, that held food and wine for Huldah and Rahab, that probably held a diaper or two and some oil lamps for women like Rachel and Deborah and Hannah and Mary.

We have a family heirloom from them too – its all their stories, preserved for us, handed down through the generations… Doing their task and doing it well as they work for us in our time!

What have you been handed and how is it working for you?

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What my friends and I are doing….

My last post was about what my friend Nan Nelson and I are doing around accountability… And in this post I’d like to tell you a little about another friend who is starting a program that some of you might be interested in!

Her name is Amihan Valdez Barker – Amy – and she is the organizer for WeARE – a woman’s group started during the pandemic to provide support to each other!

First, I want to tell you about her new one-week BeADisciple course on missions – Going Deeper: Beyond Mission Trips into Mission Mutuality.

As the former Executive Director of the Global Mission Connections Unit at Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, and the former Chief Connectional Ministries Officer for the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church, she brings a wealth of mission information, ideas, and understanding to the course!

Second, I also want to share that I will be speaking to Amy’s WeARE group on May 6th at 8:30pm on a topic that is close to my heart: Women Mystics!

Some of you might have taken my BeADisciple course on the women mystics in Christianity, but this course will spread the discussion to world religions and, hopefully, a little current spirituality, as well!

I hope to see you there!

Blessings,

Beth

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Another Facebook Live!

Who would have thought I’d end up doing so many live events? Not me, that’s for sure! And two on one course… well, that’s a lot, right?

But if you’ve taken the Becoming Accountable Disciples course with me in the past – and wanted to take the following course (Class Leaders), you’ll be glad to know about this one!

Rev. Nan Nelson is developing the Class Leaders course and it will be offered in July this year. So joining us for this Live event will be a great chance to meet her and learn more about the course!

I hope to see you there!

Blessings,

Beth

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Facebook Live Interview

Please join me on Monday March 22nd when Meg Calvin and I discuss these three misconceptions about biblical interpretation! Even if you aren’t planning to register for my BeADisciple course called Leading Bible Study: Biblical Interpretation, the discussion is likely to be lively and informative! I hope to see you there!

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Spring is approaching!

This week, we hit a temperatures of 55 degrees! That came about a week after the last snow and now, a few days later, it is back down in the 30s!

The weather, the covid numbers, politics…. it all feels a lot like that these days, doesn’t it? Up one day, down the next! Leaving us all with what I heard some describe as “morale crash”!

I’m not sure how they define that but to me it sounds like the problem that happens after a tragedy in the workplace. Morale stays low long after the grief for the co-worker is acknowledged and cared for. As if no one dares to enjoy themselves in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Some of us seem to still think that one day our national tragedies, like covid, will be gone and everything will be good. And we’re waiting for that day to dare to hope or act or enjoy the day that we have today.

Winter is undoubtedly still here; covid is undoubtedly going to remain with us for a long time in some form or the other. Racism and political arguments will unfortunately continue for a time.

But we do not have to wait for some future day to enjoy this day, to live with hope, and to take action to bring that future day into reality! I pray you enjoy your remaining days of winter and act to create a better spring!

Psalm 2:11-13 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.

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