Q&A with Glenn

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here.
Once a year, instead of posting a “regular” reflection, I have the chance to step back to address some of the questions I hear most often from readers.
When you look at the world these days, what grabs your attention?
It’s impossible not to notice how hard it is for people to talk to each other.  It really takes work to hear and understand another person’s perspective, especially if you disagree about something you both think is important.  The secret ingredient, I think, is humility.  That requires sustaining an inner dialogue where we remind ourselves, I might be wrong.  And that seems to be in short supply. 
What’s the way forward? 
We desperately need to embrace the virtue of finding common ground.  That doesn’t mean compromise or watering down the gospel.  It means recognizing that God has given us all kinds of reasons to love and care for each other, no matter where we’re coming from.  If we get that right, good things almost always follow. 
What else is on your mind? 
Civility seems to be something of a lost art.  If followers of Jesus can’t be gracious and patient with others (or even with each other), and we’re called to be the bearers of God’s Good News to the world, will anyone pay attention to what we’re saying?  Spiritual syncretism is also a challenge.  That might be defined as “Jesus and.”  People increasingly seem to be looking for help from Jesus and something else.  Jesus and crystals.  Jesus and angels.  Jesus and my politics.  Jesus and my ideas about sex and money.  We need to help each other remember that “just Jesus” is always enough. 
Do you feel hopeful about the future?
Absolutely.  Even though the actors on the stage sometimes blow their lines, a skilled director will make sure the play turns out right.  And God is a very good Director.
Do readers sometimes push back on what you write?
They sure do.  Those are important opportunities for me to listen and learn, so I welcome all such comments.  Some readers become impassioned when I even hint at certain topics.  But walking with God in every generation has been accompanied by unresolved questions and mysteries, and Morning Reflections would be a lot less interesting, I think, if we only tackled “the easy stuff.” 
How are the podcasts working out?
The response has been very encouraging.  I’m so glad that some of you are finding it easier to listen than to read, and that this has become a new way to forward a reflection to someone else.
Does that mean I have carte-blanche permission to send them to others?
Yes.  In fact, I hope you feel led to do so.  All the reflections are meant to be shared, reposted, or used as illustrations in any context where they might be useful.  

How many people are on the receiving end of the reflections on a given day?
It’s impossible to say with precision.  But the number seems to be growing.  Our best estimate is about 40,000.  That takes into account the many subscribers who acknowledge they regularly forward the reflections to family members, friends, and co-workers. 
Have you thought about publishing some of them in a free-standing volume?
We’re pondering that idea right now. 
Where do you get the ideas for the subjects you address?
Everywhere.  I enjoy books, so many of the ideas spring from whatever I happen to be reading.  I’m especially drawn to science and history.  Pop culture also has a way of sneaking in.  Some of my favorite reflections have been inspired by TV news blurbs or chance interactions with some of you.  During the past year we also took a close look at the book of Ruth, Ephesians chapter one, and the life of Peter.  More in-depth studies like those will be coming in the future. 
Do you write a host of reflections in advance, or take it one day at a time?
I’ve never been able to write very far ahead.  It takes about 2-3 hours to compose a reflection, which is something I usually do during the afternoon or the evening of the day before I send it.  Members of my church will remember that I used to write almost all of my sermons on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.  This is called “walking the high wire without a net,” and it’s a pattern I still hope to break before life’s finish line!   
Is it OK to reach out to you from time to time?
Of course.  It’s easy.  Just hit Reply on any morning reflection, or go to the Contact page on my website.  I connect with a number of readers every day. 
How are things on the business side of Morning Reflections Inc?
Readers have been incredibly generous with their financial gifts.  I cannot thank you enough. 
Any last thoughts? 
It’s impossible to put into words what a joy it is, five times a week, to find new ways to affirm what a great God we serve.  Without you, there would be no ministry.  Thanks for your prayers.  And thanks for your partnership over the past year.  I can’t wait to see where we go from here.   
Glenn McDonald