project 1827-2

It took more than fifteen months to finally find the mission statement for Project 1827–talking to Cara Gilger after an episode of Two on One, she said, “If you don’t have your act together by forty, things get rough.”

So the purpose of Project 1827 is to get my act together before or on my fortieth birthday, which will be September 3, 2024. It is not far away.

Additionally–and this is a refinement well into Project 1827, I should note, but nothing has to be set in stone here, does it?–I think all of these have to do with maintaining sobriety.

So, the way I see it, there are seven parts of self.

Body. Soul. Mind. Spirit. Heart. Community. Call.

In Luke 10, Jesus Christ is asked what the greatest commandment is, and he says in verse 27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27, NIV).


  • Body is how I’m choosing to interpret strength–I have a physical body. It is made in God’s image, just like my soul and mind and spirit. I need to take care of it. Arguably, in order for the other aspects of self to function and function well, physical health is paramount. In 2022, my five-letter word for this is daily.
  • Mind is the pursuit of knowledge and cultivation of wisdom. I like thinking; if I’m not careful, I live inside my head (and also in the future). Finding diverse voices to be in dialogue with, discovering and diving into things that challenge my assumptions and comfort, and reading (because I like reading) are all ways to love God with one’s mind. In 2022, my five-letter word for this is wider.
  • Soul is depth of self, and there’s a lot of ink spilled about what difference there is between one’s spirit and soul, if there is any at all. For our purposes here, I am going to count soul as transformation, which has to be assessed as well as experienced. Soul is caring to stop, and in 2022, my five-letter word for this is pause.
  • Spirit is the height of self, the brushing up against (or really, standing tall in the ground of being) with God. Study and prayer cultivate understanding and grace that can be spent all day long, as I’ve discovered in recent practice. In 2022, my five-letter word for this is abide.
  • Heart is tricky here. In 2021, the premise was from the Sermon on the Mount, dealing with “where your treasure is, there too is your heart,” which is fine, I guess, but really, this is about serving others; in my notes I’ve written “ministry outside of ministry,” or finding ways to serve as Arthur, not just the good Reverend. Not surprisingly, my five-letter word for this in 2022 is serve.
  • Community is people in groups. I am social, and the pandemic has challenged my well-being in creating consistent isolation with inconsistent internet connection! As the pandemic lifts (or becomes endemic), I want to safely share space and time with people in person, build narratives and make meaning in groups of folks. In 2022, my five-letter word for this is story.
  • Call is particular and general for all of us. My particular vocational call is to serve as an ordained minister, in congregational ministry. I am happy at Riverside, and I definitely am settled there as their pastor. And, this is a call where nine months in, we went entirely online; there is some foundational work that has to happen. There are bridges yet to be built, let alone crossed. In 2022, my five-letter word for this is roots.

Being able to name these seven parts, and doing a really rather thorough evaluation of what I think I value, and what I actually value (by participating in it), I set some reasonable and crazy goals for 40 (that is, September 2024) and for this calendar year, 2022. (For the recap of 2021, please click here eventually.)

Next: What kind of goals can even be made?