The One Where I Move to Kansas

When I first answered a call to ministry, I think I told the Lord something to the effect of, “I’ll go anywhere but the Midwest.” Kind of like the biblical prophets, only a lot less holy and humble.  Here I am, send me…anywhere but Kansas.Guess what. I’m moving to Kansas.God’s funny like that.You see, it all started when I got too dang comfortable. When I looked around at my wonderful, spirited, fun, affirming, and growing congregation in the desert and said—THIS. This is what I saw … [Read more...]

The New Normal

Guest Post by Cristen Wathen"The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well." Alfred AdlerI’m a licensed counselor who has worked with a variety of clients over the past five years on issues from career development to sexual abuse to anxiety to spiritual confusion. Before I go out to greet each new client, I like to take a moment to honor the fact that the person I’m about to meet has decided to invite me into his life, to let me see his vulnerabilities, and to share with … [Read more...]

What’s the Point of Church?

Guest Post by The Rev. Andrew ShepherdA few weeks ago, I sat at a conference where a young pastor in his first year expressed frustration about his job, and subsequently his calling. I believe his exact words were “What’s the point of church?” That’s a rough place in which to be: working your first call and suddenly having a crisis of faith -- not necessarily in God, but in the work you’ve dedicated quite a bit of time (and school) to. My response to this question was something like “our soci … [Read more...]

The Other Side of Your Wedding Day: Stuff the Preacher’s Not Telling You

 My friends over at HerKentucky are doing a special series during the month of June about--what else?--weddings! For my guest post yesterday, I shared the wedding experience from the 'other side' of the chancel; the pastor's perspective. Your minister might be too nice to tell you this stuff. But we all know, I'm not that nice! Here is some stuff that we are thinking as you plan for and enjoy your perfect day.1)      We roll inward eyes a little when you say you want 1 Corinthians 13 read in … [Read more...]

Freedom Within, Freedom Without

As is so often the case... I was late to the party.The virtual wake for Will D. Campbell, that is. When he passed away earlier this week, my newsfeed filled up quickly with articles about his life and work. As a general rule, if I see something go by more than 5 times, I take a minute to read it. After all, if so many people are thinking/talking about something...there's a good chance it needs to go into my sermon notes for the week.So I started reading up on the late pastor/author/civil … [Read more...]

Evolving Faith

Designers of the 'Ark Encounter' theme park in Hebron, Kentucky want park-goers to have an authentic experience of biblical events. They want to literally "bring to life" the boarding of the ark, the fall of Babel, and the horror of the plagues.After all, what brings people into close encounter with the Holy better than amusement park rides, corn dogs, and souvenirs reading "I survived 10 plagues and all I got was this lousy t-shirt?"Ok, the shirt design is mine (somebody copyright … [Read more...]

On Enjoying the Show

I remember when dance recital week was the busiest/most stressful week of the year. I didn't eat much in the month leading up to the show because somewhere, along the way, I'd picked up on the memo that real dancers didn't eat. Don't worry, i didn't have the discipline and/or self-loathing to maintain 'recital diet' for the whole year. Still--much of the fatigue I recall attached to that season was probably due to some really practical factors like low blood sugar... Still and all, it was a … [Read more...]

In Season

It's fixin to be June in Phoenix. Lord help us...Some of you know that I’m kind of a snob about tomatoes. I mean, I LOVE tomatoes…But by ‘tomato,’ I do not mean those things that come out of a California hot house in January. That is NOT a tomato.But I can rhapsodize about a real tomato all day long—and the perfect BLT that I make when, on the rarest of occasions, I can lay hands on an actual tomato in the desert. My 4-year-old daughter loves tomatoes too. In fact, she frequently asks for … [Read more...]

My Ordinnaversary

Nine years ago—this weekend exactly—I was ordained to Christian ministry. I remember a few things about that day; I remember that the church ladies who raised me put together a wonderfully warm and abundant reception; I remember the many people who drove some miles to be with me for the occasion; I remember the robe being placed on my shoulders and the hands being laid upon my head, shoulders and back; I recall feeling surrounded by blessing, strength, and a very real sense of the Holy Spirit mov … [Read more...]