A Doctor, A Pastor, and a Car Salesman…

No, they're not walking into a bar. But perhaps they should...Here's what I know about TMJ: well, I know a lot, and guess/infer a lot more--this is some of each. For starters 1) it affects more women than men; 2) it is a whole-person issue, encompassing physical, dental, and psychological factors--which means that no type of insurance coverage-- even if you have benefits for all three of these areas--wants to cover treatment. Some come right out and say in the fine print 'we do not cover … [Read more...]

In New Skin, Again

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Yes, this is what I do when I should be working on sermon notes, or prayerfully reflecting on high holy days. I rhyme things. It's a sickness... My car and my office are both a big messAnd I’m a big pile of hot-wired stress--Even the preacher has to confesswhen It’s Holy Week again. Friday’s black (but not like for shopping)The dang Easter bunny comes hippity hoppingAnd I wish this headache would just start stoppingIt’s Holy Week again … [Read more...]

Showing Up

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I never know what to say when someone thanks me for making a hospital or home visit. A simple 'you're welcome' will sometimes suffice. But at other times, people more than thank me. They say 'I know you're busy,' and “I hate that you had to go to this trouble;’ 'this is so important to my family,' and maybe even 'you're so wonderful to come.''You're welcome' doesn't quite seem to cut it.It almost feels like they're thanking me for breathing. For enjoying a great dessert, for taking a wal … [Read more...]

In Church, At Christmas Time

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It's Christmas week, and you know what that means--re-runs! I wrote this piece last year, but as our staff puts final touches on the Christmas Eve services for tomorrow, I am reminded, all over again, that the sacred community bears gifts of miraculous proportions. I'm sharing this again today, with great thanksgiving for all the people who 'do' church, and who make Christmas happen for others. Blessings...The phone is ringing off the hook,The sanctuary’s hard to book.It's p … [Read more...]

Detour: Holiday Hospitality for Churches

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It’s the week before Christmas. You haven’t been to church in a year. Maybe in lots of years. Maybe you’ve only ever been to church for weddings and funerals, but this year, something compels you to seek a sacred connection in community. So you scan the newspaper ‘seasonal worship’ ads. You scour the internet. You maybe ask around the neighborhood.Having found a place that might be the place, you set out on Christmas Eve. Maybe you had to feed, dress and corral a herd of small children into t … [Read more...]

I Never Wanted Church

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Guest Post by Sarah Stewart HollandIn 2009, I convinced my husband to leave our fancy six-figure lives in Washington, DC, and move back to my hometown of Paducah, KY. Well, convinced is a strong word. I got pregnant and then told him me and the baby were moving to Paducah and he was welcome to join us.A decade before I had loaded up my cherry red Oldsmobile Cutlass and headed away for college convinced I was leaving the town of my birth forever. My dreams were too big to be contained … [Read more...]

What’s the Point of Church?

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Guest Post by The Rev. Andrew ShepherdA few weeks ago, I sat at a conference where a young pastor in his first year expressed frustration about his job, and subsequently his calling. I believe his exact words were “What’s the point of church?” That’s a rough place in which to be: working your first call and suddenly having a crisis of faith -- not necessarily in God, but in the work you’ve dedicated quite a bit of time (and school) to. My response to this question was something like “our soci … [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...]

Go and See

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Advent and Christmas might be the most hectic time in the church year. But it can also be the fullest and most blessed. All the serving and sharing, the singing and decorating, the gathering and singing some more...it all leads up to something that feels almost magical, as we gather in a candle-lit, greened up sanctuary on Christmas Eve.Or i should say, sanctuaries. Because part of the magic of that sacred gathering is knowing that, in sanctuaries all over the world, others gather to sing … [Read more...]


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