Rev. Dan Schwerin
Minister of Administration

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 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.