Working from January Cold to Summer Beachbody

Last summer I successfully completed my first 2-month Sprint Triathlon training: Swim 750m/.47 mi, Bike 20 km/12.4 mi, Run 5 km/3.1 mi. I used the free training program available here.In the fall, I started a 4-month Olympic Triathlon training (1.5 km/0.93 mi Swim, 40 km/24.8 mi Bike, 10 km/6.2 mi Run), but I lost my momentum as the days shortened and the weather grew colder. However, here in January -- on the other side of solstice -- as the days slowly lengthen, I can feel myself ready to s … [Read more...]

Contemplative Listening: A Simple, How-to Guide

An alternate title for this post could be " What To Do If Someone Asks for Counseling and It's Been a Long Time Since Your Last Pastoral Care Class: Or, How To Help If You've Never Had a Counseling Class." Hint: the contemplative listening how-to guide that anyone can do is at the end if you want to skip to that part.I received two interesting emails yesterday. One was a colleague asking for advice on how to respond to the increasing number of non-church members coming for counseling who … [Read more...]

Preaching the Didache: What Is Your Canon and Why?


The Didache (usually pronounced Did-ah-Kay) is an ancient Christian document written around 50-70 CE and rediscovered in 1873. It is addressed not to radical itinerant peasants like Jesus and his original followers, but to householders as a manual for how “to adapt the way of Jesus to the exigencies of family, of occupation, of home — the very things that Jesus and his wandering apostles had left behind.” This post is the first entry in a new series I will be adding to throughout the season of Ep … [Read more...]

Top 10 Blogs You Should Be Reading in 2012 (Or, Why You Should Be Using Google Reader)

I've lost track of the number of blogs that I follow, and there is one reason that makes this possible from a time management perspective: Google Reader.Perhaps you've noticed that many popular blogs feature an odd orange icon or allude to subscribing to their "RSS Feed." "What is RSS," you ask? Well, RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, blogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever … [Read more...]

Church Planting at the Intersection of Emergence and Creation Spirituality


I recently had the chance to catch up in person with a friend who wants to plant a church at the intersection of the Emergent Church Movement and the Creation Spirituality of Matthew Fox, Thomas Berry, and others. In addition to some of the obvious choices, she asked me to recommend some resources that came to mind, and I'm sharing them here for others who may be interested. Possible Congregational StudiesThe Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism by Andrew HarveyDarwin, … [Read more...]

Discernment: A Spiritual Practice for Preaching 1 Samuel 3 (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for January 15, 2012)

In this passage, God speaks to Samuel four times. The first three times, Samuel does not know that the voice he hears is the voice of God. He mistakenly assumes that his mentor, Eli, is calling him. As we read in verse seven, “Samuel did not yet know God, and the word of God had not yet been revealed to him.”  Eventually, however, Eli realizes what is happening, and equips the young boy Samuel with what he needs to identify God’s call. And here we see that the first step of spiritual discernment … [Read more...]

Will There Be Female Roman Catholic Priests in My Lifetime?

My short answer is yes and no.On one hand, yes, there will be female Roman Catholic priests in my lifetime because there already are. As my fellow Patheos blogger Tony Jones has noted, there already are "renegade Roman Catholic priests who just happen to be women."On the other hand, a recent New York Times article on "Catholic Church Unveils New Home for Ex-Episcopalians" perhaps tips the Vatican's hand for the foreseeable future: "Since the Vatican’s grant of an exemption from celibacy i … [Read more...]

Top 3 Blog Posts of 2011

Gold: by far my most viewed blog of this past year was "Four Spiritual Practices for Preaching on Matthew 25."Silver: second place goes to "Jesus’ Seed Parable and Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation.”Bronze: the final top contender was "Jesus, a Donkey, and Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity.”Thanks, everyone, for reading.(Also, just FYI, the above list was generated from Google Analytics, an incredibly handy -- and free! -- tool that all bloggers should embed in their websites immed … [Read more...]

The Sound of Silence: Reflections for a Soulful Solstice

Thursday, December 22 is Winter Solstice: the shortest span of daylight hours and the longest night of the year. In my neck of the woods, this means "The sun is above the horizon for approximately 9 hours, 26 minutes. Sunrise occurs at 7:24 a.m. and sunset at 4:50 p.m."On this day with more than 15 hours of darkness, perhaps Paul Simon offers us the most lyrical invitation for how we might begin to allow ourselves to savor a Soulful Solstice. Simon challenges us to sing, Hello darkness, my o … [Read more...]

Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2011

(1) NPR: Religion – A few years ago my car radio was almost always tuned to NPR. More recently I have taken to listening selectively to my favorite NPR segments. Since I’m a huge religion nerd, I love being able to listen to the religion-themed excerpts of “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and other NPR programs without necessarily having to listen to each of those hour-long shows each day.(2) Homebrewed Christianity - An astonishing number of great interviews with world-class theol … [Read more...]