Holy Ground: The Story You Aren’t Hearing About the Dakota Access Pipeline

The summer after college, I was part of a traveling crew that set up, and led, a mission trip experience for high schoolers. Youth groups and their leaders would come and camp out at a local high school; spend their days working on area homes, getting to know the residents and local culture; then come back to the school at night for activities and evening worship. After a week they'd leave, exhausted and maybe more grateful for the relative comfort of their regular lives.That summer, I fell i … [Read more...]

10 Meaningful Ways to Start Your Kids’ School Day

We've probably all read the beautiful, powerful, tear-jerking letter that Glennon Melton (of Momastery fame) wrote to her son Chase for the first day of school. The letter is several years old, but it always re-circulates in the newsfeed this time of year.I love that letter. I shared it far and wide. I used it in a sermon. I read it and cried into my latte with the best of them.But also, that letter is long.  It is a special occasion letter, not something you are going to sit down and t … [Read more...]

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Get Ready for the Polyamory Movement

Guest post, by Katherine Willis Pershey.  As a theologically progressive pastor serving in the United Church of Christ, which is by most measures the most liberal Christian denomination in the country, I have watched and prayed from a comfortable distance as other mainline churches wrestled with questions of human sexuality. Presbyterian and Episcopal communions have fractured over same sex marriage and the ordination of gay and lesbian pastors; meanwhile, the UCC just waves its rainbow flag … [Read more...]

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The Gift of Hard Things: How to Use Yaconelli’s New Book

New life goal: write a book that gets the resounding endorsement of Anne Lamott.Of course, in my real life, this will probably never happen. But for Mark Yaconelli, it is happening. Because he's Mark Yaconelli. And when your new book has the resounding endorsement of Anne Lamott on the cover--in print, even--then you probably don't need a few paragraphs from a two bit blogger (me). But, "The Gift of Hard Things" is a Patheos Book Club choice this month, so a few paragraphs from me is what you … [Read more...]

7 Takeaways from the RNC: And the Only One You Really Need to Know

I tried not to watch. I poured myself a glass of wine and cranked up Netflix on my laptop and tried to keep my heart rate in a normal, resting range.But with my husband watching in the next room, I kept hearing bits and pieces. Mostly the loud, hysterical "BOOs" that seemed to be the pervading sentiment of the evening. That's pretty much the gist, I thought. Who needs to watch?I managed to stay away until"DID I JUST HEAR HIM SAY HE WILL NOT TOLERATE INJUSTICE??" I yell to my sp … [Read more...]

Just One Thing: On Hearing and Being Heard

Sermon from Sunday, July 17;  Luke 10:38-42The man said to the doctor, “I’m concerned my wife isn’t hearing well, and I can’t convince her to get it checked.”“Here’s what you do,” said the doctor. “Stand on the other side of the room and say something. If she doesn’t hear you, move a little closer and try again. Keep doing that until she responds, and then you’ll know how bad the problem really is.”So that night, the man sat on the far side of the room and said, “What’s for dinner?” … [Read more...]

Good Christian Sex: Not an Oxymoron

Guest Post, by Bromleigh McCleneghanLast spring, I told the committee that hired me as the new associate pastor that I was writing a book about sex, both in the interest of full-disclosure and as a bit of self-defense. They couldn’t complain later if they didn’t complain initially, right?They didn’t complain. They are lovely. Though the congregation has taken to teasing me ever so slightly, especially as my book received its title (Good Christian Sex). Apparently it will receive a mentio … [Read more...]

The End of Us: Where Love Is Not Enough

Love is not enough.I'm a pastor, so I'm not supposed to say that. As a minister of the gospel, I'm supposed to say that love "bears all, believes all, endures all," etc. That love conquered the grave. The love is made perfect in Christ, and therefore perfects us all.Love will keep us together. Love lifts us up where we belong. Love is all you need.At some point, it all starts to sound the same, and it all starts to ring hollow. People have had enough of silly love songs.When the … [Read more...]

Why We Don’t Want To Be Made Well

Guest post: by Ed CyzewskiDo you have any moments from your past that make you cringe or recoil in fear and shame?I have a running list of these moments that range from times I publicly embarrassed myself in front of friends and family to the times I’ve deeply wounded friends and family with my own selfishness and anger. I can whip myself into a frenzy of guilt and shame with remarkable efficiency.One afternoon I sat down to pray because I'd had enough of the shame I'd been carrying. … [Read more...]