Sinking Ships: 6 Do’s, and One Big Don’t, for Fundraising

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Ever been on a sinking ship? I have. Literally.But not for long. Because the minute I figured out it was going down, I bailed. That’s what you DO when the boat’s in trouble… you get yourself elsewhere. Quickly.Which is why “sinking ship fundraising” doesn't work.If you’ve ever been connected with an institution for any amount of time—a church, school, non-profit, or civic body—you’ve gotten "the pitch." Maybe it was an email, a paper letter, a phone call, or an appeal at a large g … [Read more...]

More than Half Enough

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Guest post, by Rev. Ryan Motter“Well, look at you.  You’re half the man you used to be.”It was in the line after worship, standing at the back door as we shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.  The other congregation members were offering gentle reminders: “Don’t forget the Youth meeting on Wednesday,”  “Please remember that I’m having that procedure tomorrow morning,”  “I’ll be out of town for the next three weeks.  Pray for me.”From these folks, she comes up and places her hands on … [Read more...]

Saving Atticus

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One day, all is right with the literary world... And then suddenly, one of the most significant characters of all time has transformed into someone we scarcely recognize. How does this happen? And what does it mean?First, a word about narrative sequence: Go Set a Watchman is not the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. Nor is it an intentional prequel. As legend has it (b/c any word spoken in reference to Nell Harper Lee smacks of legend) the author penned these pages first. They amount to what A … [Read more...]

Cloud By Day: Living With Ambiguity and Measuring Ministry

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In every generation, people of faith journey across the hazy plains of “What does this mean,” and “why are we here?” Right about the time one band of believers establishes a clear sense of purpose and identity for their time and place…well, they die. It is time for them to step aside and let the kids figure out what’s next, with nothing but "a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night" to guide them. And is that ever a painful hand-off, every single time.We can wax poetic and … [Read more...]

Self-Evident Truths: 7 Ways the Constitution is Not the Bible

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When it comes to guns, religion and the display of hateful symbols on public property, we hear much talk of “rights” and “freedom.”  The arguments amount to blindly sentimental patriotism at best, and toxic entitlement at worst. At the same time—and from many of the same quarters—equal rights for LGBT folks are met with language of “values” and “tradition” and “what God and/or our forefathers intended for all people.” This marks a tragic disconnect among those who embrace the Bible with one hand … [Read more...]

Holy Edges: 10 Things to Preach if Your Church is Divided on Gay Marriage

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It’s going to be a great day at my church tomorrow. My congregation has been open and affirming since before that was a thing. So at our place, the news of the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage will be met with rejoicing. There will be a special prayer. There will probably be cheering. We might haul the kids’ noisemakers out of the closet. I know, and it’s not even Christmas!But in other congregations, there will be a sharp, icy chill in the air. I’m not talking about the churches where everyone— … [Read more...]

Good Call: 10 Ways to Nail that Pastoral Search Interview

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It's that time again. All over the country, exhausted pastoral search committees plow through another pile of profiles, fumble with the technology for another round of Skype interviews, and miss another week of family dinner times to make a series of reference-check phone calls. Meanwhile, pastors sit anxiously by the phone, like they are waiting for the daggone quarterback to call on a Friday night, just hoping for that next small sign of hope: "we are moving ahead in our selection process, and … [Read more...]

Who Run the World (#ChurchGirls): 10 Threatening Women to Watch

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You guys, this is adorable. A friend sent me this blog post about how to know if you have accidentally wandered into one of those scary progressive churches. I'm not going to post a link to it, because Voldemort. But anyway, they tell you how to stay true to the gospel and RUN AWAY, before the evil “emergent” church folk can get their gay-loving, non-hell-fearing, climate-change-believing hooks in you. I think if you read way down to the bottom, there’s probably a map with a literal actual exit r … [Read more...]

Fear, Faith and Freedom: What You and I Know about Anti-Muslim Rallies

All Hands Magazine

*Ritzheimer. I mean… it just SOUNDS like a Nazi caricature. A cartoon bad guy with a swastika and a little Hitler mustache, a tiny cartoon devil at his shoulder. But the real guy’s not a cartoon. He’s alive and real in Phoenix, and he’s drumming up an anti-Muslim following. Last week, he rallied a couple hundred of his white supremacist buddies for a “demonstration” on the steps of a local mosque. Wearing t-shirts with a message so obscene, the media has had to blur most of the words out in pict … [Read more...]


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