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...]

The Soulmaking Room: Review

There's an obscure story in 2 Kings (that reads "Second Kings," for all you politicians trying to quote scripture for pandering purposes) in which the prophet Elisha is taken into the home of some gracious hosts. In fact, his life as an itinerant preacher takes him by this house frequently, so the woman has her husband build a guest room-- just so Elisha will have a place to crash when he's in town. A biblical guest room! Isn't that lovely?Predictably (because it is a Bible story), this act … [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...]

How Jesus Saves the World (From Us): A Review

Some political consultants on NPR this morning--one Democrat, one Republican--were talking about the current election cycle. Given that it was NPR, it was not the level of anxiety and venom that we usually hear in political discourse these days. I've long suspected that NPR's real listener loyalty comes, not from the quality of news and programming, but from that soothing, monotonous drone of their commentary. If you're in heavy traffic, having a crazy day, or just tired of clicking through … [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...]

5 Small Steps to a Simpler Closet (and Safer Planet)

Earlier this week, I shared a post about my family's Sock Scavenger Hunt. I paid my kids actual money to track down every sock in our house, so that we wouldn't have to go buy more. worked!  This exercise was related to growing concerns about textile waste. In addition to wanting to scale back the amount of stuff in our house, I am trying to be more conscientious about where my clothes come from: and the related environmental and humanitarian impact of what I consume.Here's what I've … [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...]

This is Me, Not Writing About Beyoncé

It's here. The Queen dropped a super secret new album on Saturday night on HBO. It is poetic and raw. It is gorgeous and a little ugly. It is a mind-melting paradox of empowered vulnerability... Or vulnerable empowerment? It is brand new, with razor-sharp edge...and yet, there is something ancient about it. It is art and story and song.And it isn't for me. Like the halftime show that she totally crashed (stole) from that one guy (what's his name?) with the "Formation" bad-assery, the n … [Read more...]

An Ecological Conversion: Called by God (and a Scientist) in the Cloud Forest

Guest Post: by Scott Hardin-NieriOur family delighted in God’s creation as we served in Monteverde, Costa Rica as Global Ministries Volunteers. We met neighbors like Howler Monkeys, Three Wattle Bell Birds, Sloths and Toucans. We learned their names and recognized their voices and watched and listened to them with awe. There were human neighbors who also inspired us; like the cab drivers, hotel owners, tropical biologists, bakers, house keepers, coffee farmers, and teachers-- from faith b … [Read more...]