Baby Jesus to Bloody Jesus: The Children’s Ministry Challenge

happy jesus

I'm finally letting myself believe it: the enormous pile of children in our sanctuary is not a fluke, and this is not just an Easter spike. These kids are coming, and they're staying. And we need to teach them about Jesus. Of course we've been teaching children about Jesus--in small, manageable increments. Now they have outgrown their space, seemingly overnight. Loaves and fishes up in here--but with children. 'New Program for Older Elementary Kids' just went from about #8 to numero … [Read more...]

To Witness

table etc

I've got a testimony. That's a word we don't throw around in mainline progressive circles very often. Nor do we say things like 'give a witness,' 'get saved,' or 'invoke the Holy Spirit.' Sure, we may affirm/believe/enact those words, but we don't say them. They are icky, fundy words that reek of proselytizing evangelism and a judgmental language of faith. Think tri-fold brochures with comic-book drawings of non-believers...going down a fire-y staircase and straight to hell. In the … [Read more...]

The Trouble With Your “Lifestyle”

I'm going to say a thing. Stop me if you've heard it: "Just because I don't accept someone's lifestyle, doesn't mean that I hate them!" I've heard it before. So have you. If nowhere else, you've seen it (blowing up your newsfeed) on a meme quoting Rick Warren. But more broadly, you’ve heard it in conversations with people who do not support equal marriage rights. Maybe you’ve even said it, written it, or thought it yourself. This line of discourse is the new ‘love the sinner/hate the … [Read more...]

Pink Bags (and Other Baggage)

MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

Is this a post about Jesus? Not so much. I somehow couldn't manage to fit 'Jesus' and 'pre-teen lingerie' into the same sentence...Let's just call it a 'sacred embodiment' piece. I have sad news today for men who are married to/partnered with strong, confident alpha-girls: your wives and girlfriends are not shopping at Victoria's Secret anymore. No, it is not something you said. You are not in the dog house, you are not being 'cut off,' and you are not being punished for that … [Read more...]

Sympathy for the Devil?

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A young girl gets drunk at a party. She is, for all intents and purposes, unconscious. In this state, she is raped by (at least) two young men who subsequently 1) brag about it on social media and 2) post naked pictures of their victim. And make no mistake: she was a victim. Why, then, does a major news outlet cover the story of the poor young boys whose lives are ruined by the guilty verdict? CNN basically made an after school-special of the fellas in the courtroom, sobbing  and collapsing … [Read more...]

Prepare the Way: Why I Need Carbs (and Coffee) for Lent

This week, Patheos asked its bloggers to reflect on spiritual practices that we find especially meaningful during Lent. For the life of me...I've got nothing. Maybe I lack the discipline to give things up. I've never even attempted giving up chocolate or alcohol. I believe in moderation, but dang...a girl's got to live. I'm sure sacrificing carbs or sugar or caffeine would purify my body in some powerful way, while also providing soul benefits, but I'm only a person. I run a church, I have … [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 … [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, … [Read more...]

Watered Down

maker's mark

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. … [Read more...]


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