7 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for Dating…Without Using a Shotgun


It’s the oldest joke in our cultural lexicon: the father, casually cleaning his shotgun on the front porch as the daughter’s date comes to the door. Drop any variation of that scenario into a sit-com, meme or conversation, and you’ve got an instant LoL. A shared experience that some people will even say they’ve experienced firsthand, to some degree, whether as daughter, date or dad.You can say it’s harmless, JUST A JOKE. But given the power that guns wield, both symbolically and physically, i … [Read more...]

20 Before 40: A Birthday Wish List


Your birthday is not the best day to start a diet. So I’m not. However, I do know this to be true— 38 is going to have to be the year when I stop eating whatever I want. I have recently become victim to what my Mamaw has always called “the creeping weight.” It’s creeping because you don’t notice a pound here or two pounds there… until one day your jeans don’t fit, and you’re like ‘what just happened??” and then you step on the scale and are introduced to five pounds you were not acquainted with, … [Read more...]

Talking to Strangers: Scene in a Bar


I was drinking a beer. That was her first clue that I wasn’t a real Christian.When she asked me what I did and I mentioned that I was a pastor, I’m guessing that sealed the deal.So when she asked me to tell her about my church, I could have quoted our denomination’s identity statement, keeping it light and generic. Or I could have told her about youth group and women’s ministries and mission work in El Salvador. But I figured I was already batting zero—drinking a beer AND being a lady min … [Read more...]

Get Well Soon! And Other Perky Things Not to Say to a Dying Person


I was on my way out the door to visit a church member in hospice care. My travelling communion in hand, I remembered the stack of cards in my office--made by church kids for anyone who might be sick or homebound. This seemed like the perfect time to make use of their ministry gift, so I went to grab one.They were cheerful pictures--mostly of flowers--brightly colored, made with love, and all bearing the same message: Get well soon! Yeah, I can't take that to hospice.I'll save  … [Read more...]

$h*! Jesus Says: 7 Reasons I’m (Still) a Christian


This one's for the Skeptics, the Cynics, the Critics; the Dones, the Nones, and the Professional Bu!!Sh*t Callers--I hear you. You're my people. I see every bit of the drama, the pettiness, the poor stewardship, the moral grandstanding, the lack of authenticity and the love of tedious-meeting-having that defines westernized Christianity. I know it can be gross. I know. I know the music can be bad, and the utility bill is higher than the mission giving. I know that sometimes the coffee is … [Read more...]

And Yet: Two Words to Transform The Church

tug of war

A friend of mine who works in youth ministry has a theory: Millennials, contrary to popular belief, are pro-institution. They will be the ones to rebuild all of the organizations that the Gen Xers have systematically destroyed.It’s true; we Xers have been pretty down on structure and systems ever since we endured the first rounds of education reform, only to find that all the tedious, test-driven exercises prepared us for nothing. ‘Not caring what anybody thinks of me!’ is our spiritual gift. … [Read more...]

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


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


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...]

Home By Another Way


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 of sensory overload, … [Read more...]