Talking to Strangers

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It was Sunday morning. I stopped at my favorite, may or may not have chosen my new house based on proximity to this place, donut joint to buy a couple dozen for our new member class. (I win souls for the Lord with vanilla glazed and pumpkin spice varieties).It was early. Still dark out. There was one other person in the place, and I mean, she looked normal enough… She was being pretty chatty with the register girl, so I jumped into the conversation. Because hey, it’s Sunday morning, there’s a … [Read more...]

Not Their Monster

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Guest Post: Rev. Erika Marksbury is the Associate Pastor on staff with me at Saint Andrew Christian Church. She is finishing up a PhD in a fancy inter-disciplinary thing that I can never remember the name of, but is really impressive. She is also a wife and mom and writer and, really, all the things. A side note: I sent Gov. Brownback a note the other day. Long story short, after being (narrowly) re-elected, he renewed his commitment to block gay marriage in Kansas, no matter what the Su … [Read more...]

Bad News, Good News

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Over the weekend, two young people in our community committed suicide. These young women went the same high school, and played on the same soccer team. I can’t imagine the grief that student body is bearing right now, not to mention the families of the two girls. In the wake of this tragedy, I’ve been impressed by expressions of sympathy and compassion from the entire community. I’m also impressed with the school’s response, encouraging parents to have real and honest conversations with their kid … [Read more...]

Your Faith-Based Voter Guide

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Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Politics in the Pulpit. Read other perspectives here. The toxic commercials. The clutter of yard signs. The sensory assault of angry billboards and radio spots… To quote a friend: Bring on the ridiculously early Christmas music and gaudy decorations. Anything is better than this!! In fact, the only thing worse than the sensory overload of election season is the tense, carefully guarded environments that many of us navigate dai … [Read more...]

Dear Millennials: Sorry We’re So Obsessed With You

Dear Millennials,I know it’s kind of creepy. We want to know where you live, and what classes you take in school (and how much you pay for it). We want to know where you drink coffee; who you date and for how long; what you read, where you spend your money, and what you GIVE your money to; what kind of relationship you have with your parents, how far you wander from home, and how often you go back there. We want to see the depths of your soul, and then we want to take you out for a local c … [Read more...]

Talking About Real Life and Faith: A Review of the Animate DVD Series for Small Groups

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Leaders in the progressive church-y world are always looking for ‘The Thing.’ You know, the perfect curriculum, book, or teaching tool for that one group, or this one season. What we often fine is that ‘the thing’ with the most engaging activities, the colorful promo materials, and the user-friendly leader guide—has terrible theology. No depth, lots of bloody Jesus language, and heavy on patriarchy and/or prosperity gospel.On the flip-side: ‘the thing’ with layers of meaning, challenging ques … [Read more...]

How to Do It All

Sometimes other clergy ask for advice on how to balance being a pastor and a parent. So here, I’m going to give you 10 never-fail secrets to getting it all right at church and at home, keeping up your self-care and personal appearance, while having a smile on your face at all times.Lol, people. L.O.L.The truth is, there is no such list, and if anybody tells you they have one, they’re a lying *#%&^$#@!. When people ask how I do it, I answer, “sometimes, not very well.” And that’s the d … [Read more...]

Sex, Death, and the Same Old Tree

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I just keep thinking about that tree.You know the one. It stood in the center of the garden. Everything else seemed to grow out from its center, and lean in towards it at the same time. Drawn to its vibrant color, its fragrance, the life that seemed to hum from within. Everything else in the garden depended on that one tree for air and light.So the gardener told the tourists not to touch it. To please not pluck its leaves, or eat its fruit, or spray it with pesticide or put a fence … [Read more...]

Mapping the Message: A Choose Your Own Adventure Tale for Preachers

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When I write about pastoral life, I try to make it interesting and/or useful to readers who aren’t clergy. There is almost always a spiritual or practical truth that applies to a broader audience.That said—if you are not a vocational minister, the following might literally bore you TO DEATH, and I don’t want to be responsible for that. Read on if you wish. But I won’t be offended if you go cruise another blog and come back here tomorrow (or the next day).Meantime-- I’m going to share some … [Read more...]


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