The above litany was used in a service recently at Crooked Creek Baptist Church, in which Rev. Joy Amick delivered a sermon which was essentially a first person narrative told from the perspective of the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman mentioned in the Gospels. The service mentioned Jesus having his horizons broadened by his encounter with [Read More...]

Rock Prayers

I’ve floated the idea of doing a service of rock and roll prayers at my church. Here are the songs that I think would work for it. Can you suggest others? U2, “40″ Peter Gabriel, “In Your Eyes” Mr. Mister, “Kyrie” Styx, “Show Me The Way” Foreigner, “I Want to Know What Love Is” Mike [Read More...]

Ultimate Concern

I had the privilege of sharing the song I wrote, “Ultimate Concern,” at Crooked Creek Baptist Church today. I am grateful to the musicians who participated in learning the song and performing it with me. The inspiration from the ideas of Paul Tillich will be obvious to those familiar with his writings. Here are the [Read More...]

A Welcoming Congregation

When I saw this cartoon by David Hayward, it struck me as a poignant depiction of the dishonesty that pervades a great many religious congregations. The pastor has presumably been going through some challenging times. When he finally admits where he is at for the first time, the congregation finally feels that they can tell [Read More...]

Bad Theology Month at Crooked Creek Baptist Church

I’m joking about the title – the series is actually provisionally called “Volatile.” But my pastor, Tom Bartley, is seriously planning to preach about controversial topics, and why church is precisely where you ought to be able to talk about them openly, throughout the month of August. If you are in Indianapolis or its vicinity, [Read More...]

Speaking in Tongues at Crooked Creek Baptist Church

Today at my church, as it was Pentecost, we had the text (Acts 2:1-13) read in several different languages. I contributed by reading the text in Koine Greek. I was rather annoyed with myself for not being able to read it out loud in a more fluent manner, without stumbling a bit over longer words [Read More...]

You Raise Me Up

Although I’ve been involved in singing in church for a while now, I had never before today sung a song as a solo. Today, with some help from my son on the violin, I sang “You Raise Me Up.” Even though I found it challenging (while as nervous as I was) to play and sing [Read More...]

Another Bible in the Wall

David Hayward’s cartoon which I’ve shared above illustrates one of the ways that people use the Bible. The Bible, of course, includes plenty of material for dividing and separating people. But it also includes a lot of dynamite for busting holes in such walls and knocking them down altogether. What you choose to use this [Read More...]


This Sunday morning’s service at Crooked Creek Baptist Church was held jointly not just with the members of Grace Tabernacle, a Congolese congregation that has been sharing our building, but with many guests who were here for the “Life After Pain” conference. We had our own choir as well as a Congolese choir, and the [Read More...]

Cloak Sunday

The service at my church yesterday focused on “Cloak Sunday.” Although it is “Palm Sunday,” the reading was from Luke’s Gospel, which has people strewing clothing before Jesus rather than palm branches. It is interesting to ask whether Luke was aware that the use of palms in the manner depicted would more naturally suggest a [Read More...]

Holy Week at Crooked Creek Baptist Church

First, the funny part. In an earlier version of the announcement on my church website about Holy Week events, it said of the lunchtime Good Friday service: The theme for the service will focus on the stations of the cross and will feature medications from several local pastors. If you are not sure why that [Read More...]