Tourist or Pilgrim?

There is a sign at the entrance of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem that reads: We are hoping that: If you enter here as a tourist, you would exit as a pilgrim. If you enter here as a pilgrim, you would exit as a holier one. It’s a fitting and powerful reminder for the millions of people who come in and out of its church doors every year. So many of us travel so far to visit the Holy Land. We make travel plans and find traveling companions and save up money and ask time off from work a … [Read More...]


Finding God in the World: An Interview with Diana Butler Bass

"Maybe one of the things that churches need to do is stop looking at themselves, and go outside the doors of the church and find God there. There are other things we really need to attend to. If there is no world, there will not be a church." – Diana Butler Bass, author, Grounded: Finding God in the World Where is God? It’s a question humans have been asking throughout the ages. In her highly anticipated new book Grounded: Finding God in the World, Diana Butler Bass explores the particular way t … [Read More...]


Oprah’s New Series Captures Belief in an Age of Doubt and Division

Oprah Winfrey’s new series Belief, which premiers this month, offers a fresh glimpse of what it means to be a person of faith in an era in which people are increasingly spiritual but not religious and where anti-Muslim and immigrant sentiments permeate political debates. I got to preview the series at her home in Montecito, where she spoke to her motivation: “My faith always motivated me to to make a difference with my life.” As in so much of her work, Oprah manages to capture sincere belief in a … [Read More...]


After Oregon, “Prayers for ________” Just Rings Hollow

It has happened again. Dear God it has happened again. The reports coming out of Oregon  are just horrifying and gut-wrenching. My heart has been in knots  as various (and sometimes conflicting) stories of what happened there at Umpqua Community College.  Thirty people have been shot.  At least nine people have died. Countless lives have been shattered. A community is in tatters.  It has happened again. Not long after reports of the shooting began to break, memes bearing the words, "Prayers fo … [Read More...]

The Selfie or The Song? Seeking Jesus in the Holy Land

Danielle Shroyer’s new book “Where Jesus Prayed: Illuminations on the Lord’s Prayer in the Holy Land” is a collection of meditations on praying the Lord’s Prayer throughout her two week pilgrimage to the Holy Land.On the second day of my two week pilgrimage to the Holy Land, we begin our morning … [Read More...]

Why Philly is the Perfect Place for the Pope to Denounce the Death Penalty

I guess there is no bad place to call for an end to execution. But Philadelphia, the City of Love, is a really divine place for his Holiness to denounce death.Just this year, Governor Tom Wolf announced a halt on all executions in Pennsylvania, citing deep concerns about errors and biases … [Read More...]

Why Progressive Christians Should Pray

While many bemoan the decline of the American religious, one fact remains: religiously affiliated or not, 55 percent of people in the United States pray each day. Though institutional religion may be going out of style, this ancient spiritual practice seems to be holding steady.But, why, as a … [Read More...]

Labor (Day) of Love

“It is not doing the thing which we like to do, but liking to do the thing which we have to do, that makes the difference.” -- GoetheCan you tell the difference between canned soup and homemade soup? The difference is, in part, the love (or lack of it) that goes into creation of the soup. Even … [Read More...]

13 Simple Ideas for Becoming Human Again

There's nothing like a campaign season to remind us of the worst of humanity. It's not unusual to catch a bit of a stump speech and think, is that person part of the same human race that I am? This week it's Ann Coulter stumping for Donald Trump, and while I try not to give the woman any oxygen or … [Read More...]

The Blessings of a Public School Education

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” ~ Deuteronomy 32:2 I am envious of my child. He gets to soon be welcomed by an entire group of new teachers; each with something to offer, and a way of offering it, that wi … [Read More...]

When Monks Say “I Do”: Confessions of a Former Monastic’s Wife

A recent Pew Report shows that those who choose monastic, celibate lifestyles are in steady decline. The number of Catholic nuns in the U.S. has dropped 72 percent since 1965; men in the priesthood have decreased 35 percent in the same time frame.Culturally, it’s easy to understand why there m … [Read More...]

Too Many Positive Coincidences: How a Church Reaches At-Risk Teens

by The Rev. Pam Brokaw Dreaming of a bright future can be more difficult in an economically depressed community – especially for its young people. However, for the city of Winlock, one church has found a way to plant seeds of hope that are truly taking root.In this rural community in s … [Read More...]

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: A Video Q&A on Spiritual Healing with Reba Riley

"Whatever is bringing you light, and life, and joy, move toward that. That's God. We're told that God is love, over and over, so move toward that love, however that looks like in your life. And whatever's getting in the way of your search for that love, let it go."-- Reba Riley, author, … [Read More...]

Naked Preaching

[Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts we'll be featuring by the Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last May.]  Okay, you pastor types, I know you know the dream. The one where you show up at church missing one or more pieces of clothing. Or the one where y … [Read More...]