A personal update

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Dear readers,

Instead of the usual post about my latest (and impressive) spiritual insight, or my latest gripe about presidential politics in the U.S., I thought you might enjoy a more personal update:

My next book

It now appears that the publication date of my new book has been pushed back to Spring 2017. I am disappointed, of course, more than you know, but maybe the silver lining here is that interest in my topic – becoming a multicultural church – is growing. Here’s a link to an interesting New York Times article about the subject.

Language learning

I continue to learn grammar and add lots of vocabulary at my village language school, but my German speaking skills are nicht so gut. Schrecklich, to be honest. So, I’m going to do what I probably should have done at the start – namely, attend an immersion class. I’m going to use my study leave this year to attend a Goethe Institut summer intensive in Berlin. I will even be living with a German family while I’m there, enjoying Frühstück with them every morning before class. Sadly, even after attending this class, I won’t have any idea what my Swiss German friends are talking about, since they prefer not to speak Standarddeutsch, the language I am determined to master.

Church Life

My congregation voted in January to extend my contract, a gifted new associate pastor will begin work next month, there are gratifying signs of life and growth, and so I find myself excited about staying in Switzerland a while longer. I occasionally worried about being on autopilot at this stage of my ministry, not being sufficiently challenged, but that worry (like most of my worries over the years) can now be set aside. I find myself fully engaged with the complexity and excitement of ministry in this wonderful multicultural context. All (or almost all) brain cells are engaged!

The Blog

Google Analytics continues to provide me with information about you, my dear readers, and I have no idea what to do with most of it. Here’s an example that you might find interesting. My readers over the last month came from the following cities (in order):

  1. Zürich CH
  2. Wheaton, Illinois
  3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  4. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  5. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  6. Batavia, Illinois
  7. Chicago, Illinois
  8. New York, New York
  9. London UK
  10. Plantation, Florida

And here are a few honorable mentions:

  1. New Delhi, 34. Paris, 44. Sydney (Australia)

and interestingly

  1. Rio de Janeiro (with three page views!)

Thank you for reading my blog, thank you for your thoughtful comments (on the blog itself and on Facebook), and thank you for encouraging me to do what I like to do – namely, write about faith and life.

Love, Doug

(Photo: That’s me in the reflection, wearing a University of Michigan cap and modeling quite a good photographer’s stance. You can’t teach something like that. It’s a gift. )

About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.


15 Responses to A personal update

  1. Wendy Sweeney May 14, 2016 at 5:20 am #

    Like your personal update…how long will you be at the church ..would love to come and visit your church for a weekend since I fly as a flight attendent now and have the means to get there. Sincerely Wendy

    • Doug May 14, 2016 at 8:10 am #

      Please plan a visit, Wendy! I’ll be here for a while. Would love to see you.

  2. Judson McCune May 14, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    My best on your German language attempts.

  3. Bettina May 14, 2016 at 7:12 am #

    And let me guess where you took that picture: Gruyères? Or maybe Moléson?

    • Doug May 14, 2016 at 7:58 am #

      So, good detective work, Bettina. Le Menu de Terroir suggests local foods, right? And then “gruyere” is right there. What kind of quiche would a restaurant in Gruyere serve, except a quiche with gruyere cheese? Good work! (And thanks for reading.)

  4. Karen Walter May 14, 2016 at 8:14 am #

    Hi, doug! Do you still follow the tigers!!!

    • Doug May 14, 2016 at 8:30 am #

      Yes, and they’re off to a terrible start this season! Hi, Karen.

  5. Nicole Behr May 14, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    Doug, glad to hear you are doing well. I enjoy reading your blogs from time to time. It reminds me to keep faith in my life. Thank you!

  6. Sally McClintock-Snyder May 14, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    I, too, read your blogs each and every time. However, I did not see Johnstown, PA mentioned in your list of cities over the last month where your readers reside. You are forgiven.

    • Doug May 14, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      I had to look up Johnstown in Google Analytics, and your city came in at #40 on my list. But I also noticed that you don’t spend much time at the blog, so shame on you. I could also have found out whether you access by phone, tablet, or desktop. And of course what Internet browser you use. But I didn’t go further!

      Hi, Sally. It’s good to hear from you.

  7. Sally McClintock-Snyder May 14, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    Johnstown is a distressed city, but the outskirts are beautiful. I lived in Fort Lauderdale for 43 years, so that is my frame of reference. Tom Keith and I share the same birthday. I access your blog via phone, tablet and desktop, depending what is available at the time.

  8. Kathy Bostrom May 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    Oh, the frustrations of publishing! Bless you for finding a way to be positive in the delay. I look forward to reading your book when it comes out, and in the meantime, I enjoy your blog posts. Still haven’t gotten my own up and running so I am impressed that you keep doing this and that you write such interesting posts! Glad things are going well. Sending blessings from Carlsbad, CA!

  9. Jürg Kessler May 14, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    It will be my pleasure to speak “Standarddeutsch” with you Doug! Maybe over a plate of veal’s head??

  10. Linda Strodtman May 14, 2016 at 11:14 pm #

    Regarding your book, Spring will come faster than you think and unfortunately as it means life goes by in a blink… Looking forward to reading it. Also glad you are having your stay extended and that you will have chance for more language study. The question is what will you do with the language usage after this assignment is up–if you don’t use it then it will be hard to keep up your proficiency. All in all isn’t this a fun stage of life–enjoy every morsel!

    • Doug May 14, 2016 at 11:28 pm #

      To tell the truth, Linda, I haven’t thought much about what to do with my German after I master it. For me it’s a little like training for a marathon. After running the race, I get to wear the medal and say that I did it. Or maybe I’ll use my German to scare my grandchildren!