A Voice in the Desert

sign

Sometimes, I wish I were still in Phoenix.Like in January. That’s a given. Or like when I need to clear my head and want to just step out my back door and go for a hike in the beautiful desert mountains. Or when I try to catch a glimpse of the sunset, here in the midwest, but my view is blocked by treetops and all my neighbors’ houses.And right now, I’m wishing I was back there in the desert... because a group of “Biblically based” churches (in the most affluent part of town) is joining t … [Read more...]

Which Body Are We Talking About? Gay Marriage, Christian Unity, and Mainline Decline

walls and halls

Last week, Adam Hamilton shared this post about gay marriage in the United Methodist Church. Hamilton is a public figure, an authoritative voice not just within his own denomination, but within all of mainline Protestantism. He’s a popular author and speaker, and having grown his church to ‘mega’ status—mostly unheard of outside of fundamentalist circles—his voice carries.His take on LGBT inclusion is that local congregations and area conferences should be empowered to determine their own pol … [Read more...]

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

Smabs Sputzer / via flickr

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...]

Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist

From the 12th Street Riot, Detroit, 1967. #notalwaysthisovert

I cringe when an article begins “Dear White People…” It lacks nuance, among other things. So I am resisting my urge to start there, even though it’s exactly how this note goes, in my head. How about this:To all y’all who, like me, are not people of color, and/or, all who identify as ‘Caucasian’ when we check the little box on a survey or job application:   We have no idea. And maybe we should stop talking.  From a distance, the rioting in Baltimore looks like senseless, barbaric d … [Read more...]

10 Signs of Life: Your Church Might Just Make It

flower in cracks

I once took a group of church leaders on a planning/visioning retreat. We read and discussed a great article, something to the effect of “10 Traits of a Healthy Church.” Or a growing church... Thriving church? Something like that. And it wasn’t the usual variation on a theme, this particular piece was insightful and inspired. And it was exactly the right mix of challenge and affirmation for where that congregation was at the time.In preparation for a similar gathering this week, I tried to fi … [Read more...]

You’re In the Jungle, Baby: Sexual Harassment at School (and elsewhere)

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I saw a statistic yesterday that said 83% of girls are sexually harassed in high school. My first thought was: is that all?I tell you what--100% of girls are sexually harassed in high school. Whether they know it or not, whether they talk about it or not. I’m pretty sure they teach a class on lewd behavior for freshmen boys. It is not a required elective, but there's a lot of peer pressure to take it.It might seem extreme to say that 'all' girls are harassed in high school, but by har … [Read more...]

Resurrection Matters: The Holy Unknowing

cave

The insistence on a literal, physical, bodily resurrection is killing the conservative Church.The denial of a literal, physical, bodily resurrection is killing the progressive Church.Yeah, it’s a pickle.The Bible says Jesus died, rose again, and ascended to heaven. All tensions within the Body of Christ can be reduced to this one question:  Did he or didn’t he?That may not be the only question that divides people of faith. But most bones of biblical and ideological contention s … [Read more...]

Holy Week Survival Guide: 10 Life Hacks for Clergy

rabbit

Deep breath. Inward Ommmmmmmmmmmm. It is Holy Week! Lace up your sprinting shoes, get ready to stress eat and drink way too much coffee, and tell your family that you will see them next Monday. No wait—Monday, you hibernate. Tuesday, for sure!  You will be down for breakfast on Tuesday. Or at least lunch… Something about that pattern seems not-so-holy, though. Sure, it’s going to be busy. You will need caffeine and adrenaline and the Holy Spirit to power through. And yet… we clergy types often w … [Read more...]

From the Crowd to the Cross: On Palm Sunday, Politics, and Religious Liberty

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Palm Sunday--the gateway to Holy Week. Which is not only deeply sacred and important and full of all the meaning and all the feelings… but also the busiest week of the year for church folks. Dust the corners, print extra bulletins, shine the brass, eat your Wheaties, and for sure print extra bulletins. Gather early in the narthex and line up all the kids, and start the madness with a parade. We’ve been here before.Which is to say, I’ve got stuff to do. And I am so tired of writing about WHAT … [Read more...]


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