The Poetry of Emptiness: Reflections from the Festival of Homiletics

Guest post: My friend and colleague Rev. Laura Ann Phillips shares a good word from the Festival of Homiletics, happening in Atlanta this week. It feels like I have been “going” non-stop since October 2014, and if I’m completely honest, it’s exhausting. I’ve been reading articles about gluten intolerance and insulin resistance wondering if that’s what is wrong with me. Maybe what I’m eating is making me tired? I’ve been trying to figure out how to get more protein in fruit smoothies as a safe … [Read more...]

Don’t Like Your Pastor? Don’t Leave Your Church

There's a blog post going around called "So You Don't Like your Pastor..." I read it. And it wasn't about what I thought it was going to be about.First of all, it was written from a completely male perspective. Not just written by a man, but written as though only men exist in the world, ever. You know how those things go... But the article was about clergy burn-out, the unique stresses of pastoral life, and how church members should have empathy for their pastors... Understanding that m … [Read more...]

Cleaning the Brushes: The Never-Done Work of Ministry

My friend Kory shares some thoughts on the "never done-ness" of ministry. On behalf of pastors everywhere, I say, "amen, brother."I helped my neighbor stain his pool deck this weekend. I wish I could tell you I did this Mother Theresa-style, all selfless and void of any agenda. But in all honesty, I had two motivations: (1) he helped me stain my deck last year, and (2) I want to stay in his good graces so my family and I have an all-access pass to use his pool.It took us about four … [Read more...]

Lost and Found: A Parable In Socks

You know what was great about living in the desert all those years? Among other things--not having to wear socks. Ever.Maybe occasionally with running shoes or hiking boots, if you were going out on a trail. Because, you know, rattle snakes. But otherwise, it was 10 months a year of sandals. Glorious, breezy, open-toed, sock-less freedom.Sure, I love a warm fuzzy pair to wear around the house on a cold winter day. But even better was the complete absence of cold winter days. For the most … [Read more...]

7 Ways From Sunday: 7 True Things From 7 Years of Blogging

Yesterday, I logged into my "back end" blog stuff to edit something and noticed--purely by chance--that I've written 499 blog posts. Ever.499.... That means that this, right here, is my 500th blog post. **Cue fireworks and champagne and fancy outfits!**Actually. Cue coffee in a local dive, a morning of people-watching (my favorite) and rain-day hair. That's what I'm rocking for this momentous occasion.7 years ago, I got a free Wordpress account and started messing around. I had … [Read more...]

The Death We Carry

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

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

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

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...]