Category Archives: Advent 2011

Anything worth doing is worth doing it badly!

So Sibyl told me “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly!”

So here’s my 5 min “really bad video” recorded by my awesome husband Scott, with his phone on a ladder!! The training is life changing. The video gives a hint of that =)

For those interested in my Harmony with the Enneagram work check out our page. Info and endorsements found here- http://ccmonline.org/©ienneagram-training-and-certification

CELEBRATING!

This year we celebrate 26 years with Crossroads Church and 15 years with The Transforming Center, a community who became the conduit for healing in my life. Today we head to the TC for an alumni retreat and celebration Here is  my article that appears on the Transforming Center website this month. 



Staying on the Journey: Experiencing Transformation in Community

When the invitation to join what is known as the TC3 community came, I didn’t have to think twice. I signed up immediately knowing that I had unfinished business.

You see, I spent two years with the 1st TC community.  I plopped into that community at 40 years old, 10 years into our church plant. My husband and I were like the typical young church planters, a lot of – developing leaders, pushing, dreaming, strategizing, scheming, building projects, justice work, feed the poor, counsel till the wee hours of the morning, overworking-not much-sleep, pastoral couple. I was really proud of how busy and productive I was, and how tired I was when I first came to the TC.

Even the recent diagnosis of MS was something that I joked about. Through research, I discovered lots of people with MS were “Type A” personalities. I convince myself it was kind of a badge of honor in spite of the inconvenience. “Maybe I worked so hard that I wore off my Myelin Sheath,” I would joke. With that false badge of honor, I would say, “I’d rather burn out than fizzle out!” When the neurologist said managing MS included rest I laughed and said, “I usually work through things and it all works out.”

So, when I landed at the TC and found the first spiritual practice Ruth offered was “rest,” I wondered if God was saying something I needed to hear or if the whole world had gone lazy. Rest? Really? I needed to “work in the vineyard because the sun was going down.” I used to tell my congregation “Night is coming when no man can work so now we must work the works of Him who sent us. Jesus will one day say to us enter into your rest so for now let’s keep working for Jesus!”

In that first TC community I didn’t practice everything that was offered but I learned to practice rest. I told my neurologist that rather than trying the daily interferon or steroidal injections I’d like the rhythms of retreat, solitude silence, praying the hours and rest. Even though she and her colleagues didn’t agree she supported my decision.

Staying on the journey

Signing up for the TC3 community was a commitment to stay on the journey of transformation. Strengthening the soul of my leadership included the sacred rhythms of experiencing community that were not based on my achievements. Add to that the practice of self-knowledge, self examination and confession helped me discover false self strategies that kept me moving at break neck speed in the first half of life, were addictions that would not serve me or the people I was called to lead in the second half.

I learned “production” was my virtue and “deceit” was my vice. I was discovering that I had deceived myself and others into believing I could live beyond my human limitations. Classic “S” on my chest grandiosity was my MO. I was beginning to understand I had an image management strategy to keep anyone from seeing my limits, and it was wounding my life and the life of other people.

Invitations at the TC to practice “honoring my body” as the temple of the Holy Spirit, included listening to my body and letting go of people pleasing and work that was no longer mine to do. It was a wonderful scary part of the journey. Who would I be if I didn’t do all of it? How important would I be to the ministry if I shared the work I had always done myself?

As a workaholic, I was being invited by God to confess that my life had become unmanageable, and I did. I began to “fast” the work, the applause and the criticism that came with it. Don’t get me wrong, I was still working as a Lead Pastor; I just wasn’t Uber-working beyond what I was made to do. This second community, TC3, help solidify my way of “being” in ministry. The second TC Community, for this workaholic, became my AA of sorts. It held me in a safe, non-judgmental place, with the right time, people and disciplines to experience the grace filled transforming power of God.

Life Altering Space

My husband and our elders were thrilled to invest in my experience. They financed both TC1 and TC3 community experiences (and for my husband for TC4.) They were grateful that our leadership culture was changing and learning rhythm’s of work and rest, silence and word, being and doing! My vice was no longer driving our congregation in my compulsive personality style. The redemptive virtue of truth helped us find a new grace-empowered journey. Transformation was happening for us all.

There is so much more I could say. It’s been 15 years since TC1 and 12 years since TC3, I continue my rhythms and it has saved my life. At 5 years my neurologist said “I can’t say you are healed but I think this is more thanremission.” At 12 years I was told that the MRI showed my brain was “unremarkable.” Never thought this performance-oriented-driven leader would want to hear that my brain was unremarkable!  I am well and this is the work of God!

All the Lord has done through the TC has impacted this leader and our church in incalculable ways. Thank you to my beloved teacher, Ruth Barton. God has used her as healing conduit for me and our congregation. To the staff and serving communities of the TC, THANK YOU for creating and supporting this life-altering space! Every pastor we encounter, we recommend they take a step in their journey of transformation with the TC “for the glory of God, the abundance of their own souls and for the sake of others.”


As part of our 15-year anniversary celebration we are sharing stories and testimonies from each completed Transforming Community to celebrate all the Lord has done. We hope these stories will inspire you to continue to go deeper in your relationship with God, draw you into celebration of all the Lord has done, and encourage you to partner with us in all He has yet to do!

Read more stories of Transformation from TC3

Rev. Clare Loughrige was a member of Transforming Community #1 and #3 while serving as Co-Lead Pastor with her husband Scott of Crossroads Church and Ministries in Marshall, MI. She and Scott also participated in the Leading a Transforming Church program, 2012-2014 and as a Transforming Church are a part of the Transforming Church Initiative. Since Transforming Community #5, Clare has served as a Spiritual Director for every TC Community. In addition to 26 years at Crossroads, Clare brings her transforming leadership to educational communities and social justice agencies; including the Leadership team of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task force and President of the International Enneagram Association Midwest Chapter.

Connect the Dots…

“A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”  –Steve Jobs

In our work, people tell us their stories. Sharing our experiences helps us connect the dots, discover a message, a theme, a course to take. Of course, our most difficult experiences are a part of a pattern that reveals a much bigger picture.
The major dot connector for us has been our son Paul’s life and death. Today Paul is 29 years young. Our son is the premier teacher who continues to teach us so many things including; unconditional love, passion for defending the voiceless, and an uncompromising, don’t give up, see it to the end, warrior mindset. This little person has broadened our view and still helps make the connection for us.

The first time we saw him was through ultrasound at 8 weeks old.  We thought we were miscarrying.  From that very small picture our doctor knew something was not quite right with the pregnancy.  A few weeks later the ultrasound revealed that his head, limbs and torso were all at different levels of development. As 25 year old expectant parents we were experiencing something way beyond our experience and what you are never ready for.

While it was already clear that he had several challenges it was also clear our love began to grow, our bond deepened and we named our little one Paul.

In month 5 we saw Paul on screen during our amniocentesis. He was moving away from the long needle that was drawing up the amniotic fluid…that’s when we knew he was a genius because Scott had the same reaction to that needle!

The amniocentesis revealed that Paul had a syndrome that was incompatible with life, Triploidy. Our view and value of life was now broadening.

Over the next 4 months we saw him through regular ultrasounds. We heard his beautiful heart in all four chambers through an echocardiography. We experienced his physical skills through the last trimester weekly stress tests.

We defended his life and dignity while the Perinatologist strongly encouraged us to abort Paul all the way through the 9th month. In every appointment this doctor would advise us not to bond with our baby. When he gave us reports of his test results he called our child, “cells and tissue,” we would reply, “do you mean, Paul?”

The last six months were overtaken with prayers and fasting that Paul would be healed here on earth… not in heaven. There were countless sleepless nights. We cried out to God, earnestly expected a miracle and prepared to bring him home with us. We shared pictures of children with the same birth defects with his big sister and brother so that they wouldn’t be afraid if he looked different. They couldn’t wait to bring their little brother home.

On On March 31st I felt him flip in my womb for the last time. On April 1st, at full term, he was born-still. Our hello was also our goodbye.

Even though his spirit already left his body, he was held, cherished, prayed for and wept over. Aunts, uncles, grandparents and his big sister, Sara, came to the hospital to say goodbye to our beloved Paul. Our view of life and eternity was broadening. Our relationship with God and each other was deepening.

At Paul’s memorial service, We watched Ian and Sara  search our faces for answers to their question, “what is the meaning of this?” Over the years, together we have been connecting the dots. We couldn’t answer “what is the meaning of this” but we have found moment by moment what my dad meant as he eulogized our Paul, “there is great meaning in this.”

When our son Josiah was born a year later on April 14th, he joined the broader view, the connecting of the dots. That will be a story for another day.

Our whole family carries Paul’s heart in our hearts as we sit with others who question the meaning of life.  We take his hand in ours when we hold the hands of the vulnerable, disregarded and marginalized. God has given each of us the gift to walk long, arduous journeys alone and in community with eternity in mind. Paul has helped us broaden our view of life and the meaning in it.

Today our son Ian is taking us to the CSO to hear Gustav Mahler’s 8th Symphony. It is Mahler’s bittersweet view of the brevity of human life, Together we will pay attention to the pattern and make connections. I will pray the prayer from the story of  blind Bartimaeus, “Lord I want to see.” Let us see you and what you are doing in our lives, and in our world.

We look forward to the date when the last dot is connected, the broadest view of eternal life is experienced and our family is reunited, Heaven-side. Right now we’re still connecting the dots.  Until then, we celebrate your life, our beautiful, beloved Paul Anthony.

paul

Paul Anthony Loughrige 4-1-88-Eternity

On International Women’s Day 2017

On International Women’s Day I want GIVE THANKS for my dad who raised me to be a confident human, inspiring me every step of the way as I entered a vocation that is dominantly male and even antagonistic to female leaders. 

dad

I want to APPLAUD my husband, my partner, my equal, my co-conspirator in the mission of justice and mercy. Scott is the strongest man I know who has no need to suppress others so that he can accomplish his goals for good in the world. 

 

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With my hands lifted and my voice raised
I want to give a SHOUT OUT to the WOMEN
who have gone before me
who suffered and died
without seeing the vision God had
in the beginning-
human beings caring for each other and the earth
with love, respect and power used for the advantage of all. 

On this International Women’s Day 
I pray that with reverence and awe 
we would see ourselves and the other 
made in the Image of God. 
Let us lay down our swords 
work a plow 
plant seeds 
sweat through the hard work 
and reap a harvest of peace 
for our children and our children’s children. 

ventureneer-crowdfunding-women-entrepreneurs

May we let go of our sexism, criticism, false-pride and fear 
and find our true call 
to love our neighbor as ourselves.

I See You

I can’t count the women over the years who have told me they either weren’t coming to church on Mother’s Day or couldn’t make it all the way through the service. Remarkable women who have shared their lives, given their energy to change their corner of the world feel excluded on this holiday.

There are so many reasons, and I won’t list them so that I don’t miss a single one. I just want you to know, I see you, I care about you.

Oh, and if you need a written excuse from a pastor to miss church today, I’ll sign it.

Having said that please allow me to say: Today I am celebrating the ALL females who are image bearers of God. Women who bring light in the darkness, hope in despair and presence to fill empty souls. I honor the beautiful women who speak up for the voiceless, offer grace to the sinner and beautify the ugliest corners of the world.

Some will produce human beings from their body, but ALL Image bears reproduce the life that is within them. Women nurture, care and shape individuals and ultimately culture.

Hallelujah for the feminine energy that changes the world through education, science, music, law, art, business and every random act of Divinity! Today I’m celebrating the creative, selfless, unrelenting women who give their lives to the next generation through every effort of faith hope and love.

In the beginning, God created women and men in God’s own image. Rock on magnificent daughters, sisters, friends, and Mothers! I see God in you.

With so much love,

clare

KID PRESIDENT CELEBRATES YOU!