Rectifying the Names

Version 4When I first introduced myself to Foothills back in August, I asked for some grace as I attempted to learn the names of the over 800 people involved in the life of the congregation; and grace has been afforded for which I am eternally grateful. Names are important. There is a reason we all have one, and that ancient christians explicitly included the naming of a child as part of the baptismal rite.

In Confucianism there is a story in which Confucius, approached by the leaders of a particular province asked him “If you were to be the governor of the land, what would your first order of business be?”  Confucius answer shocked them all.

“I would rectify the names.”

We cannot, Confucius argued, be successful with anything, if our language is not in concordance with the truth of things. If we call someone a teacher, and yet they do not teach, or if we call a friend a friend but they are not, our language gets away from us. It leads us astray from the truth and our actions fall away.

What I love about Confucius’ answer is that he call us not just to learn the true names but to live up to the names we have been given. In the past month I have been learning what it will mean to be your minister. In a song circle around the campfire at Buckhorn, during staff and worship meetings, and in the countless conversations where I have learned more than just your name but a small slice about your life. There is no way for me to live, grow and deepen as a minister to and with this congregation without this ongoing, and deepening, dialogue. Everyday I am falling more in love with what I find here at Foothills: a music loving, fiercely loyal, motivated, compassionate and eager church. A church, who in Confucius’ vernacular, is striving to live up the meaning of that name: to unleash courageous love.

And this process never ends. We are constantly learning and living into our names (sometimes they even change!), and so I want to extend a special invitation to attend one of the small group gatherings that the transitions team has planned, so we can further getting to know each other.  Information can be found below for the different gatherings.

Region:            Southeast Fort Collins

Host:               Sue Ferguson

Date:               Friday, September 23           Time: 1-3 PM

Address:          1313 Tuckaway Ct, 80525

Region:           Southwest Fort Collins

Host:               Karen Johnese

Date:               Wednesday, September 28  Time: 7-9 PM

Address:          2900 Skimmerhorn St, 80526

Region:            City Park Neighborhood, Fort Collins

Hosts:              Ed and Linda Beers

Date:               Friday, October 7      Time: 7-9 PM

Address:          408 S. Jackson, 80521

Please send an RSVP email to ( and specify which location and how many in your party.

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