Like a Child

We are celebrating Children's Sabbath at church this week. As i think through what that service should look like, I am mindful that it should not just be a service for children. It should be one that honors the spiritual gifts that children possess, and recognizes them not as the 'future church,' but as fully active and vital parts of the body, right now.Scripture refers to God as "father" so often, that many people hold a firm image of God as not only parental, but fully male. Even those of … [Read more...]

Unto Others

I'm preaching on the Golden Rule this Sunday. Total snooze, right?It seems like the very heart of simplicity. Otherwise known as the 'ethic of reciprocity,' there is an equivalent of this directive in every faith tradition in the history of the world. And yet, the notion of treating others as we'd like to be treated is the most challenging, transforming, life-giving concept imaginable. Even if we memorize it in kindergarten, it has a way of getting lost among the other platitudes of our … [Read more...]

Benediction

'Saint' is a word i don't throw around much. I often find it trite, empty, and too dang precious. But in the case of Dorothy, I can say many things things that I don't normally say. Like the fact that she has "crossed over," or "gone to glory." And yes, that she is a saint of the church. Dorothy was from Kentucky. From the same small corner, in fact, that produced me, and every woman of faith who raised me. In many ways, Dorothy was my 'people' long before we met as two mountain women, set in a f … [Read more...]

Preparing a Place

Sometimes the best, most life-giving things in the life of a church evolve without a great deal of planning. They emerge out of daily life without meetings, without a line-item in the budget, without a major marketing campaign or overhaul of policy.A few weeks ago, I overheard my yoga instructor say that she was looking for a Tuesday morning gig. I said, "I know of a place..." And before i knew it, there were 7 of us gathered in the narthex on mats, engaged in community, mindfulness, and of … [Read more...]

The One Where I’m the Grownup

Find a person who is good at what they do, and ask them a simple question: who shaped you for this? I'm willing to bet that the person you're talking to is more than ready with a litany of people who helped mold them for leadership. Whether their career path is ministry, teaching, business, art, media, or some kind of trade, ANYbody who has managed to get good at something will be able to tell you who first (and best) modelled that vocation for them. Just sit back and hear the story.I can no … [Read more...]

For Life

I mean... way to say it out loud, Mr. Akin. Your ignorance may be astounding--horrific, even--but you are teaching us a valuable lesson. The moral of the story is--this is what single-issue voting will get you.I'm one of many, many people of faith in this country: who are pro-choice, but anti-abortion. If you think that is an oxymoron, stick with me here. I think that abortion is sad and awful, and should not be used as an alternative to birth control, or as a matter of convenience. That … [Read more...]

On Doing, and Being Done

August is to church what April is to accounting firms; or December to the mall; or crab season to those deadliest guys.Traditionally, you think of Christmas and Easter as the 'big' seasons for church work. But they've got nothing on August. August is the time for starting new things, engaging new people, upping the game in worship, and generally trying to get 'Church' back on people's planners--and in their collective imagination--as everybody gets into a daily routine at the end of summe … [Read more...]

If You’re Still Saying “Lifestyle,” We’ve Still Got a Problem…

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. Most recently, as a direct quote from Rick Warren. But more broadly, coming from folks in conservative settings all over the place.  And chances are, if you've heard some version of this line, the conversation was about gay people. Everywhere you look these days, churches, pastors and fundamental Christians are getting more … [Read more...]

A Good Word

On sabbatical, i had the opportunity to go to worship in other places. Like, just GO to church! If you have ever led worship and/or preached on a regular basis, you know that getting to experience worship on the other end, and not have to create or facilitate it in some way, is a gift. Several weeks of this made me realize how much i was missing, being always on the other side of the pulpit--and how i could be a much better preacher if i took time, more often, to hear what other folks are doing … [Read more...]


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