Presidential Writings

Presidential Perspective

Aware July 2012 Thumbnail

Aware Magazine
July 2012
Vital Signs
By Philip A. Amerson

A biology class taken almost fifty years ago laid out four basic human vital signs: temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Recently, I wondered how good my memory was, so I did a little research and discovered I remembered correctly. However, just as I was giving myself an A+ in Vital Signs 101, I learned that other new “vital signs” have been added by modern medicine. Signs like pain, blood glucose or oxygen levels, pupil size, and an array of body chemistry tests are now included. The more we learn, the more we add to knowledge of the full range of indicators of health and vibrancy.

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 aware january 2012 cover

Aware Magazine
January 2012
Thinking Beyond Tomorrow:
Leaders for the Long Haul
By Philip A. Amerson 

As a pastor I held an early morning Bible study in a nearby restaurant. Each week I would pass a hand-printed sign by the cash register that read “All Meals Free Tomorrow.” Of course, anyone expecting a free meal the following day would learn that “tomorrow” on Thursday still meant “tomorrow” on Friday. Or, as the saying goes, “Tomorrow never comes.”

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 Aware Oct 2011 Thumbnail

Aware Magazine
October 2011
On Gratitude
By Philip A. Amerson 

One evening when I was in a former place of ministry, I was enjoying a quiet and friendly dinner with a coworker. Our conversation was filled with humor and joy. Suddenly, astonishingly, my colleague said, “There is something you do that I find troubling.” Caught off guard, I responded, “Please share your concern.” The gentleman quickly and seriously lodged his critique: “You say ‘thank you’ far too much. You shouldn’t be so quick to use those words ‘thank you.’ Save them for special occasions.”

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  Aware July 2011

Aware Magazine
July 2011
The Concessions of the Church
By Philip A. Amerson 

Imagine my surprise when I opened the newspaper. While serving as a parish pastor, a reporter asked for my summer reading list. I mentioned five or six books, mostly books that had been stacked for months unread on my nightstand. These became my “summer reading list.” That weekend I opened the newspaper to the headline “Books Recommended for Summer Reading.” There was my list—with a typo in the very first title! It caused me to laugh out loud. Instead of The Confessions of St. Augustine, there had been a communications glitch, and the title of this Christian classic had been changed to The Concessions of St. Augustine.

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  Aware April 2011

Aware Magazine
April 2011 
Good Work, But Hard Work 
By Philip A. Amerson 

He walked wearily down the hallway toward me. A young student at Garrett-Evangelical, serving as pastor of a congregation in a nearby neighborhood, he was carrying a demanding schedule Noticing his bloodshot eyes, I asked, “How are you?” He paused, looked up and said, “It’s good being a pastor, but it is hard work.” This fine student and promising future leader told me about a new outreach effort and about the challenges of bringing together the good people from the congregation and neighborhood. There are scores of students like this young man walking our halls every day. Like him they are seeking to build social, educational and spiritual bridges – it is good work, but hard work. I also want them to know it is joyful work and not their burden to carry alone.

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 AWARE January 11 Issue.1

Aware Magazine
January 2011
Waiting on SuperChurch
By Philip A. Amerson 

If you haven’t seen the movie Waiting for Superman, you should. This film is a compelling analysis of the state of public education in the United States. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows the life story of five young people, documenting their lack of access to quality education. The film’s title, Waiting for Superman, comes from Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a charter school in New York City. Mr. Canada speaks of his dismay as a child of poverty in discovering that there really was no Superman who would fly in and set injustices right.

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 AWARE Cover October 10

Aware Magazine
October 2010
Whom Shall I Send?
By Philip A. Amerson 

It was orientation week and new students filled our home to overflowing. Enthusiasm and laughter rattled the rafters of the house. Every nook and cranny found students in eager conversation. No one could remember a larger entering class. One hundred and twenty- two (122) new students were enrolling. After several attempts, we were able to quiet them for a prayer. Then in a loud voice I began: “The Lord be with you.” The response roared back: “And also with you!”

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AWARE July 2010

Aware Magazine
July 2010
Grounds for Social and Spiritual Interaction
By Philip A. Amerson 


I relish hearing stories of the fine faculty and staff who faithfully served Garrett-Evangelical in the past. Recently, a conversation turned to Professor Rockwell (Rocky) C. Smith, a pioneer in rural sociology. Rocky's office was a gathering place for faculty and students, in part because he kept a coffee pot at the ready. Rockey liked his coffee black and strong. Above the coffee pot was a sign that read "Grounds for Social Interaction."

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  AWARE - Spring 2010-1

Aware Magazine
April 2010
To What Story are You Sticking?
By Philip A. Amerson 

The voice came from a woman seated behind me. “I’ve just ordered the new macaroni and cheese dish, and this is the best day of my life.” She was on her cell phone, speed-dialing friends. One after another she would leave the same message, “I just ordered macaroni and cheese... best day of my life.” I wanted to turn around and examine this lover of pasta and cheddar. However, my mother taught me it is not polite to stare. My mother, however, had no such advice about listening in on silly phone conversations, so...

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Writings

Beware the Circular Firing Squad (October 2011, G-ETS Blog post)

Leaping Over the Pessimism Gap (October 2011, G-ETS Blog post)

Michael Slaughter: A Compelling Apostle of Jesus Christ (October 2011, G-ETS Blog post)

Exceptional Leaders (January 2011, PDF of presentation given at the Ethical Student Leadership Conference)

Let's Grow Up and Stop Waiting for SuperChurch (November 2010, United Methodist Reporter article)

Beyond the Unexpected Hour (August 2010, PDF of sermon given at the Boston University School of Theology)

That Which Makes for Peace (August 2010, PDF of presentation given at the Consultation of Educators of Religion)

What Can't Be Taught (January 2010, PDF of presentation at the Gathering of the Orders for U.M. pastors in Iowa)

UMC Logo Garrett-Evangelical, a seminary related to
The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.