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,… Read more

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… Read more

I’m at my denomination’s General Assembly this week. Every other year, in the HOTTEST PART OF THE SUMMER, Disciples of Christ descend on some unsuspecting town–usually in the Midwest–and share a time of worship, workshops, celebration and visioning. There are business sessions too. So I hear… Anyway, there’s lots of STUFF going on, every minute of every day. At times, I’ve left my room at 7 in the morning and not gotten back until after midnight. (In a complete state… Read more

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…. Read more

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… Read more

The poorly applied fuchsia lipstick. The nervous stage mothers pounding Starbucks. (The GLITTER SPRAY. God as my witness, there will still be glitter spray eons after the apocalypse. It will outlive the cockroaches and Ted Cruz…) The piles and piles of bobby pins. Strains of Katy Perry lurking around every corner… It must be recital season. Mercy. I used to be a dancer. Then I was a dance teacher. Making the leap from performer/choreographer to dance mom has been a stretch… Read more

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

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… Read more

Can we just take a moment and count the ways in which this has been a week of good news? Especially since it followed a week of such heartbreak and tragedy…   Sometimes the good news wins the newsfeed, and you just want to savor it. So let’s talk about how the Supreme Court said “Yes” to Affordable Care . After years of legislators acting like 2-year-olds in a fight over the last cookie, the right to access medical care… Read more

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… Read more

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