Church in place

We spent the last week wandering around Boston.  We lived in the city when we were first married, and it’s one of our favorite places.  Down in South Boston, near a canal and a swathe of red brick warehouse buildings, we stumbled upon a little chapel: Our Lady of Good Voyage.  It’s a shrine originally [Read More…]

Faith, fear, and love

Faith feels like the bottom dropping out of life.  In a good way. I know, I know–faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).  But there’s so much mystery, so much that we can’t wrap our heads around, so much that confounds any attempt on our part [Read More…]

Standing to hear the gospel

I worshiped with a different congregation yesterday.  They’re a church on the deep end of the liturgical tradition, which means they had an elaborate, sturdy ritual scaffolding to hold God’s people before God in prayer.  The church was high-ceilinged, marbled, and gilt.  There were columns and candles and a great throne for the bishop above which [Read More…]

Which way?

A long time ago in a college far, far away, I took a philosophy course.  I quickly came to admire my professor’s discipline, the strictness of his thought categories, the way he seemed to run his life along nice, straight lines.  He had taught himself to draw a perfect circle freehand on the chalkboard.  He [Read More…]

On completing my to-do list

I arrived at an amazing place today: I completed my to-do list.  (Okay, I still need to iron a few shirts, but close enough).  In preparation for a summer sabbatical time that my congregation has kindly given me, I’ve been wrapping up loose ends and laying aside responsibilities.   We’ve got some travel planned, but I’ve [Read More…]

What is a call to ministry?

A long time ago in the big city, I was a graduate student studying the New Testament.  My wife and I had another student and his wife over for supper, and we were talking shop: Bible and theology, church and history.  Our friends were these passionate Presbyterians, and I was saying something judicious about finding [Read More…]

Book in hand! – God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church

I’m excited to have in hand the Advance Reader Copy of my book, God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and The Future of the Rural Church, coming out September 19 from Herald Press!  It’s beautiful.  After nine months of writing and many more months of editing and rewriting, we’re almost there, and I wanted to share the joy. God’s [Read More…]

Eat our way to joy

Joy strikes out of the blue nothingness.   You can’t expect it or manufacture it or capture it. For Christians, the completeness of our joy comes from Jesus.  After he taught on his abiding in us and our abiding in him, he told the disciples, “I have said these things to you so that my joy [Read More…]

Pray the Ascension

With the Ascension, the Incarnation is completed as Jesus bears his humanity into the fullness of God’s presence and power. [Read more…]

The snake’s greatest trick

We often think about the Snake tempting Adam and Eve to do the wrong thing, but perhaps the Snake’s greatest trick was actually getting Adam and Eve to not do the right thing [Read more…]