When Church Island Crumbles

Spoiler Alert: If you have not seen Disney's Inside Out, this post contains the basic plot of the story but without giving away the ending.I’d like to introduce you Riley. She is the blond, 11-year-old girl who stars in the animated hit, Inside Out. The story of Inside Out revolves around the adventures of the emotions that make up who we are, and what happens when they start to change. In the movie we not only see Riley as she navigates a big cross country move and all of the uncertainty t … [Read more...]

How we failed to plant a successful church

Bec Cranford-Smith works at the Gateway Center in Atlanta. She is the site supervisor of  contextual education in partnership with Gateway Center and  Candler School of Theology. She is the pastor of Church of the Misfits.

 How We failed at Successful Church Planting  I sat with middle aged white men in a room decorated by someone infatuated with browns and oranges. The paintings seemed vaguely reminiscent of French vineyards and Italian streets, yet I was closer to crop dust, cotton and Crepe Myrtles in Macon, Georgia. The inquiry began after a couple of jokes and a word of prayer. I crafted my vision of the Church of The Misfits, sharing with conviction about contextualizing Christ to … [Read more...]

I Used To Know How To Walk On Water

Now and then,  I find myself  knocked down in the dirt in confusion and only music can touch my soul. Here is a lamentation from the least expected source, it showed up in my life (thanks Spotify) and for the past few years it was given words to a wide range of thoughts and emotions.I Used To Know How To Walk On Water is probably the most beautiful spiritual song I have heard in many, many years - maybe in all my life. It motivated me to drive three hours to a small hole in the wall concert i … [Read more...]

Pentecost: An Invitation to Dream

In the liturgical calendar of the Christian year, today is Pentecost — a celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the early disciples of Jesus. From a historical perspective, Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, both in terms of marking the inauguration of a Jesus-movement and in celebrating the enlivening, efficacious stirrings of the Spirit in Christian community. And in the tradition of biblical birth narratives, the Pentecost story is an odd one:When the day of Pentecost ha … [Read more...]

All About That Faith

Untitled drawing (3)

Since the day we first enter the world, we face the realities of imperfection. We know that we will struggle to do well, to live in a way that best reflects Christ and that brings joy to the people we are on the journey with. But sometimes, somewhere along the way, things start to change. The arguments about the color of the sanctuary carpet move from fun and exciting, to painful and dull. The music we have always found as a pathway to worship starts to sound flat and lifeless. The traditions … [Read more...]

Let’s Talk About Race


This week at my church, Solomon's Porch, while our usual master of ceremonies, Doug Pagitt, is out of town for the Christianity 21 Conference, I will be hosting the sermon time conversation. Actually I will be co-hosting the conversation with my friend Victor, who is one of the only black men in our community. And we're going to talk about race.Church continues to be one of the most segregated spaces in our culture. And my church is no exception. How does a predominantly white church go about … [Read more...]

On Sleeping Early and Laundry in the Middle of the Night


“The ordinary activities I find most compatible with contemplation are walking, baking bread, and doing laundry." - Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries A delicious rain fell off and on all day yesterday and and again, last night starting a little before the children's bedtime. The kind of rain that gives everything a grayish, warm glow, and begs for blankets, books, and sleep. The twins, even little Oz went down so easily - another rare gift when they almost tuck themselves in and only jabb … [Read more...]



50 years ago is a very short time.Fifty years ago there loomed a war over the mind's of Americans. In the south, preachers screamed vehemently and twisted the word of God to suggest that slavery and racism were God's truth.  Men and women found themselves beaten, raped, and tolerating all manners of abuse. Children walked down the street, and were gunned down just for being black.50 years ago is a very short time.Fifty years later, I think there is a war and an attack on the minds of … [Read more...]

The Not So Irresistible Revolution


In 2005 I read Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution and fell in love with the idea of intentional community. Five intentional communities later, I know now that living in community is tough stuff. In fact, Shane says it himself: “The simple way is not the easy way. No one ever promised us that community or Christian discipleship would be easy… This love is not sentimental but heart wrenching, the most difficult and the most beautiful thing in the world.”I must have skimmed over that part … [Read more...]

An Emergent Episcopalian Shares Some Thoughts about the Church


Many of us in the emergent conversation have left institutional Christianity. We do not trust institutions and are suspicious of hierarchies. Our personal histories and experiences of Christianity are filled with the frustration caused by the disconnect between the truth claims of our religious Christian institutions and their actual lived existence. We have seen how much energy and money is spent in the maintenance of our institutions, instead of the mission of Jesus. Some of us have been … [Read more...]