The Death We Carry

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I've been planning this for weeks. An intentional out-of-office beginning to Lent; traveling to different parts of town with ashes and blessings to share. Mostly I want to meet my people out in the world--in their real every day places where they live and work and share their gifts. Drawing a few strangers with my "ashes to go" sign would be an added bonus.Then last night, I got word of the sudden death of one of my church members. In my line of work, you expect to get these calls, on oc … [Read more...]

Clergy Survival Guide: Flu Season Edition

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I once had a teacher who suffered from severe mysophobia (fear of germs) to the point that it significantly interfered with her life. Her husband taught in the next classroom over, so every morning he would open all her doors, turn on all her computers/projectors, etc, and set her up for the day. She rarely stepped out from behind her desk, and as far as I can tell, never ventured to the bathroom or the cafeteria. We all thought she was nuts.But now, I kind of get it. Because, you guys, kids … [Read more...]

Let it Go: What Church Can and Can’t Be at Christmas

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Here's what I did NOT need to see: that article from "Christianity Today" about how many Americans will go to church for Christmas.The answer? Everybody. ALL THE PEOPLE. They will come from the city and country, from hill and holler; the believing and the skeptical, and happy and the heartbroken, the long-lost and the never-known... It's Christmas and THEY ARE COMING. Prepare the overflow seating...These publications hit us all year long with the depressing 'mainline decline' … [Read more...]

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...]


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