Rev. Dan Schwerin
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is available to anyone: discovery. I continue to discover. Often the God is hidden in a story about your day, or embedded in a person’s struggle—even layered like a seven layer bar in our collective story as the body of Christ. Not that I know much about seven layer bars.
My heart leaps when I study a scripture for Sunday that suggests the ravens waited on Elijah—and I find out that ‘raven’ once was a pejorative term for the Bedouins. Here at the core of a story is a slur and it marks how we ‘other’ each other. In a common plot twist, God uses the outsider to provide hospitality that reveals discovery. God uses the community, and often the rejected offer us a relationship to discover the holy. At the very least we are often surprised how God’s goodness is found in something you might consider nothing better than a raven. Better yet, come to worship at First UMC and you may get to sit next to a raven God has welcomed into the story.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Like the best of Bob Dylan, I have many favorites. I am a husband, father, and grandfather. (Yes, I am way too young to be a grandfather.) I am a poet, too. My favorite form of poetry is the haiku and its range of expression. It is a way to distill images or reflect on my days and sift them for the holy. I have more fun than usually suspected of clergy.
What is your favorite movie quote?
Easy. “In our family there was no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.” That is from, “A River Runs Through It,” based on a novel by Norman Maclean.
What are you currently reading?
Everything. I am studying an email from an editor and poet about how haiku take us to the confluence of where art, religion, and what we can know comes to us. Today I also spent some time in the Psalms, a book of prayers by John O’Donohue, Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche, and Jane Hirshfield’s new collection, The Beauty. Later today I read an article on family systems in the new journal from The Bowen Center. Here in a minute I will return to a great book by Donna Bauerly on the haiku of Raymond Roseliep. Before the night is over, I will look again at a wonderful batch of poems sent by a friend via email. Let’s not forget the newspaper. Wait. Somebody just tweeted me something by Joan Chittester—who knows—there may be a sermon waiting in that one (a short one).
Here is what people want to know: what kind of preacher are you?
I am a story teller. Stories are painless, but they sneak up on you. Then we sense somewhere in the middle God has just made us a participant. There it is: discovery.