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...]

Beyond Pink Carnations: Why I Don’t Do Mother’s Day at Church

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Most Sunday mornings, I take a few prayerful moments before worship. I stand at the window, and I watch people come.They come with hope and thanksgiving. They come with expectation, and hella heavy baggage. They come with joy and they come bearing gifts. Often, they come with heartbreak. And while I don’t always know what that is for each person, I often do. I spot the one with the recent diagnosis; the newly or nearly divorced; the struggling to make ends meet; the care-worn who just moved i … [Read more...]

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...]


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