Everything I Really Needed to Know About Ministry, I Learned as a Sorority Rush Chair

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In a small group at church last weekend, we were asked to complete the following sentence: "When I was 10, I wanted to be __________."While some folks had actual answers (the hands-down winner was "Seaworld dolphin trainer!") it was apparent that none of us had become that which we thought we'd be. At least, not exactly.Even if our life's calling is not a clearly defined career path, we each have a set of inborn gifts and graces. Hopefully, we also bear an impulse to use those gifts in th … [Read more...]

The Secret Password

Time for Lenten weeping and gnashing of teeth. We progressive/mainline protestant types aren't into the whole sackcloth thing, but a sound 'mea culpa' from time to time can be good for the soul. And this week, I've got one for us all. Repeat after me:"I am selfish."The other day, a friend posted on Facebook that, while she does not consider herself a religious person, she has been asking frequent prayer for a child in her family who is ill. Her question to her Christian friends: "Does Go … [Read more...]

Year of the Dude: Hyper-Masculinity in Marketing, Media and Mega-church

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Any time i post an especially pro-woman bit of commentary, i get feedback saying that i clearly--clearly--have a problem with men.For the record, I love men. My husband, my brother, my father, my good friends and male colleagues in ministry, the male members of my church, the stranger at the grocery store...men are great. They are important to me, and to the world in general.So no, I don't have a problem with men. Who I've got a problem with is 'dudes.' More specifically, the many ways … [Read more...]

Snow Days, Sick Days, and Other Enforced Sabbaths

I made the mistake of saying out loud last week that I hadn't been sick in more than two years. Ha ha, universe. You got me.As I battle a cold this week, I'm aware that I have used 1, maybe 2 sick days in the past 4 years. That means I've a) been healthy;  b) planned my illnesses around regular days off;  Or c) preached through a hacking cough, subjecting my congregation to germs, and also to--let's say less-than-my-usual stunning aesthetic.Now that we have another pastor on staff, I don' … [Read more...]

Watered Down

True story: my husband and i were out having dinner at a nice restaurant. Which is hard to find in the desert suburbs. There's an Applebee's, Olive Garden, and TGi whatever on every corner, but anything without a namebrand can't seem to afford the real estate. Anyway--if i recall, it was our first night out after the second baby. It was a spur of the moment thing.  We called a last minute babysitter and were instantly transported to a leather booth with mood lighting and an excellent steak. On a … [Read more...]

Downer Abbey

If you want to avoid Downton spoilers, then just go visit my guest post on HerKentucky today. Meanwhile, the rest of us are going to don some sack cloth and ashes and lament the season finale. It's very Lent-y, I promise.**Spoiler Alert ... fair warning.Awhile back, I posted The Gospel of Grantham.  I noted here that our fascination with Downton Abbey is really a timely response to our own dramatically changing culture. The show speaks deep spiritual truth about how we cope with our own s … [Read more...]

The New Anonymous

My friend Matt over at the Board of Church Extension wrote a great piece about 'anonymous letters' to the pastor. He says that pastors should not respond to these letters at all, and should probably not even read them.I agree that the anonymous angst letter should not be dignified with a response. A reply empowers the person who does not even give you the courtesy of their name (side note: we still know who you are)...and this sort of behavior should not be encouraged.But most clergy don' … [Read more...]

Out of the (little black) Box

Hey. Watch this real quick. When you're done tossing your pink frosted cookies, come back and we'll chat:Love Story, or beginning of epic slasher flick?Ok. Thanks for coming back. Now, where do we begin: a)terrible acting, b) shameless commercialization of love, or c) icky gender roles and the notion that women are afraid of loud noises?I'm going to go with 'all of the above' and say D) The dangerous notion that love can fit into a little black box.Advertisers have their way with … [Read more...]

Ashes and Casseroles: The Business of Life

I did a funeral this morning for a beloved saint of the church. Now I'm working on an Ash Wednesday service for later this evening.I tell you what--sometimes us Pastors have the funnest jobs EVER.Days like today, I remember that we are in the business of death. We are in the business of comforting folks as they exit the world; of blessing people into the next life; of drawing threads of narrative to speak the purpose of it all. We are in the business of sitting next to the widow.In ce … [Read more...]


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