My Ordinnaversary

rainbow

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...]

Rootless and Wandering

If you ever wonder what pastors talk about when we get together, the topics are, in no particular order:-Church people. I mean, we don't spill pastoral confidences, but we definitely talk about our people. It's mostly good news. Mostly...-Sermons; process, upcoming themes, recent triumphs and epic disasters.-Kids (if we have kids) and how we balance the parent and pastor acts. (The answer is: just barely, most days).-Which new tv show/band/book series has THEOLOGICAL SUBTEXT. We … [Read more...]

Psalm 23-and-a-half

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The Lord is my shepherd,whether I like it or not.I shall not want.Except for a bigger house, a nicer car a slimmer waistline;a newer device, a little more power;and to always, always, every day, be right about everything.He makes me lie down in green pasturesas the world grays with concreteand browns with toxic fumesand bleeds with violence and rage.He leads me beside still waters                           even though I pull away, and make a run for the … [Read more...]

When Good People Say Dumb Stuff

In the wake of a tragedy like yesterday's bombing, we ask the age-old question: why do bad things happen to good people?And in the hours and days following such an event, we might also find ourselves wondering: why do good people say dumb things?Through our collective prayers, we seek understanding; we ask for God's comfort with the wounded and those suffering loss; we give thanks for our own loved ones, safe at home, by some stroke of grace or luck; we pray for justice and peace. These … [Read more...]

Head and Heart

operation

When a church is dying, The Body wants to know why. When people are leaving (or just not coming), when no new programs emerge, when there's no money for outreach, and no passion for mission, we start asking questions: what are we doing wrong? what are we just plain not doing? It's a sad conversation, with fatigue and frustration involved. The physical weight of the unknown and unknowable...it sits heavy on the congregational heart, and smothers everything. Even--maybe especially--the spirit of wo … [Read more...]

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 uno on  … [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 effort t … [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 sin.’ … [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 thing you sai … [Read more...]


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