Dear family and friends,
Hi, my name is Doug.
I write little essays about faith and life.
I also laugh at my own jokes and correct other people's grammar.
I'm far from perfect.
This is my blog.
Dear family and friends,
The country where I live does not celebrate Thanksgiving Day. They say they do, but they don’t.
They call it the Federal Day of Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer, which is a mouthful, especially in German, but it’s nothing, really. It falls in the middle of September, and to me it’s just a day like any other.
I miss Thanksgiving Day, the real one, the one I remember from childhood. I woke up a little sad this morning thinking about it. Continue Reading →
Yesterday a church member said to me, “How’s the farewell tour going?”
I suppose this had something to do with my upcoming retirement, and I will assume (because of my natural good-heartedness) that the comment was meant in jest, but it hit the ear wrong. I found myself tearing up unexpectedly.
It’s true that I am in the last months of my ministry here in Switzerland, and I’ve been thinking that there might be some wisdom that I could pass along – or at least note for my own benefit.
I thought about keeping a journal over these last weeks and months, with a view toward writing my next book Continue Reading →
(At the invitation of NEXT Church, a network of Presbyterian leaders in the U.S., I wrote something about becoming a more diverse church, a subject to which I have given considerable thought. You can find the original here at the NEXT Church website.)
I’m no longer sure what got into me, but at the ripe old age of 59, after serving mostly white and mostly suburban congregations over the course of more than 30 years of ministry, I accepted the call to become pastor of the International Protestant Church of Zürich (Switzerland).
On my first Sunday at my new church, I looked out at one of the most racially and ethnically diverse congregations in the world. On any given Sunday, more than two dozen nationalities are present in worship at my church, every skin tone God ever imagined. There are also more language groups than I have dared to count. Continue Reading →
I’ve been using the word “retirement” for the last few years mainly as a joke, as though it were some distant possibility, certainly not something that I needed to worry about any time soon.
And then, last week, what had seemed so distant and unlikely suddenly became a reality. I am planning to retire early next year, six months from now. Continue Reading →
Timing may not be everything in the publishing world – a few other factors are important too – but bad timing is never good for the launch of a new book.
In the forward to my just-published book, How to Become a Multicultural Church, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson points out that most western democracies are having a hard time right about now with multiculturalism, especially with what feels like a rising tide of refugees, immigrants, and others who are, well, different from the rest of us.
In the recent presidential election, Donald Trump successfully tapped into the fears and anxieties that many Continue Reading →
As I write this, I am getting ready to travel to the U.S. for my mother’s 90th birthday. She is doing well, she lives independently, and (like the Queen of England) she still drives, though not as much as in the past, mainly for her weekly hair appointment. Continue Reading →
After visiting European cathedrals, castles, gardens, and museums, I finally visited my first concentration camp on a cloudy and cold Friday afternoon in April. Continue Reading →
Last night a church member called to ask if we would be offering “translation services” to Arabic or Kurdish speaking people on Easter morning. She is tutoring refugee women in her village, and a half dozen or more are apparently interested in coming to Zürich for worship. Continue Reading →
As his forty-year career in ministry comes to an end, Douglas Brouwer finds himself wondering about one of the oldest questions there is: who am I? To find his true identity, Brouwer undertakes extensive genealogical research, probes the meaning of his family name, explores his ethnic heritage, asks what genealogies are for (biblical genealogies and his own), reflects on the meaning of his DNA testing, and tells sometimes-unflattering family stories. In the end, he arrives at one of the most basic answers it’s possible to give about our identity as human beings created in the image and likeness of God. The Truth About Who We Are is written as a letter from Brouwer to his grandchildren, but the story is a universal one. The answer he discovers at the end applies to all.
I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I captured second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I have also been 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 near Holland, Michigan.
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