It is totally bizarre to be looking out my Midtown Manhattan office window at a sunny day, and to be canceling events for Sunday because a hurricane might be coming and to be asking my son to take a bus back to college on Saturday, instead of our driving him.

But when the mayor announces a shutdown of the city’s vast transit system, starting Saturday noon, and evacuation of certain public facilities and low-lying residential areas, I pay attention.

If Hurricane Irene subsides or changes course, we who took precautions can take credit for sending the storm elsewhere. The power of irony. Or maybe just be grateful.

Longtime New York residents note another bizarre aspect: September 11, 2001 was exactly like this. A beautiful sunny day, not a cloud, until terrorists flew passenger jets into the World Trade Center and all hell broke loose.

Proof that we never know what’s coming next.


Q: It is said that the church is one of the few institutions seeking to serve a wide spectrum of generations (often 5-6). Is this an impossible task?

A: Not at all, as long as each generation remains open to the unique needs and personalities of other generations. That openness tends to be the rub. I have been part of churches where young adults had zero interest in the failing marriages, failing health and job distress of older generations, and of others where older adults were impatient with children and uninterested in young adults. It is a rare congregation that places strong and equal value on all generations.

No, it shouldn’t be that way. How do we encourage openness to all? One way is to make sure all generations are represented in church leadership, and not as silent tokens. Clergy will need to recruit broadly. Some activities will need to bring generations together – like parish suppers, work projects, seasonal parties – while others overtly target the unique needs of each generation.

Note the link to “Turnaround.” This refers to a series of eight webinars I will be offering in 2011-2012 on “Turnaround Strategies for Your Church.” Click here for details.