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Listen to the nudge of the Holy Spirit

Isolation is hell

Bruce Humphrey: “The 21st Century is changing faster than we realize.”
  • Bruce Humphrey: “The 21st Century is changing faster than we realize.”

Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church

17010 Pomerado Road, Rancho Bernardo

Membership: 1800

Attendance: 1200–1300

Pastor: Bruce Humphrey

Age: 63

Born: Moscow, ID

Formation: University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Boston Campus) Roxbury, MA; San Francisco Seminary, San Anselmo, CA; Trinity Theological School, Newburgh, IN.

Years Ordained: 38

San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Bruce Humphrey: How to listen to the nudge of the Holy Spirit in everyday situations. I believe God is talking and the primary issue is that we’re not listening. We get pretty distracted in our own lives and miss the multiple nudges every day and the opportunity to be a recipient from God and also a deliverer of blessings to others.

SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PH: I think that current civil justice issues are pushing the boundaries of freedom of religion and freedom of speech so that the way things are being defined force the issue: is a preacher still allowed to speak conscience to disagree with public policy to take a stand on some issue?… An easy example is the current conversation happening in churches and legislations concerning marriage laws. Must pastors perform marriages that they disagree with? Must churches host marriages where they don’t feel this is representative of a Christian view? Even my way of wording it shows that I don’t take a stand on it but I see how the situation is moving toward crisis.

SDR: What’s the mission of your church?

PH: To engage with our surrounding community, be highly connected in the local community, and be a blessing in the city of San Diego. I certainly focus my ministry style on releasing our people to find their mission calling, their engagement whether in the neighborhood or across the border helping at an orphanage. I really push our people to see faith as more than gathering to read the Bible….

SDR: What are you most proud of as you prepare to retire from ministry?

PH: I had the joy of watching each of the ministries I’ve been part of grow. I was able to take foundering situations, stable situations, struggling situations, and make them come alive primarily through deep spirituality. I was proud of being able to be active through the peak of American Christianity in the 1980s and 1990s, when churches were flourishing.

SDR: What are your prayers for the church as you retire?

PH: My prayers are that the church stays healthy, vibrant, engaged in the community, be bold and confident about changes. I’ve been saying for a long time, the 21st Century is changing faster than we realize and technology is impacting us more than we realize. The church is one of the last groups institutionally to engage in change. So, I’m trying to keep us more on the cutting edge of change rather than a delayed generation behind in change.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PH: My description of heaven is comparable to C.S. Lewis’s view of heaven. I’m rereading one of his books right now, The Great Divorce — those who choose bitterness, resentment, anger and reject those around them will be allowed by a loving God to continue moving that way for thousands and millions of years in total isolation. I think that turns out to be hell — isolation from God and everyone else. Heaven is drawing us closer to each other, more sharing, more knowing each other at deeper level, all the experience of heaven.

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