Good News about the Church: Tithing, Giving

Ruth Graham: Does your church do this? Should it? Church giving is serious business. Scores of newsletters, workshops, and books are devoted to it, and consultants exist to advise institutions on how to maximize funds. A five-year study released last year estimated that “tithers”—Christians who donate 10% or more of their income to church or [Read More...]

Good News: Women in Ministry (Elizabeth Sherwood)

In keeping with the historical practice of Friends (Quakers), Newberg Friends Church, (Newberg, OR) experienced the leadership and speaking gifts of women from its inception in the 1870s to well into the 1900s. The Evangelical Movement of the 20th century impacted both the private faith experiences of congregants and the larger practice of the church. [Read More...]

Good News: Women in Ministry (Tara Beth Leach)

Tara Beth Leach: “Your voice is important and needed in our context,” said Pastor Glen, Teaching Pastor at Good Shepherd Church in Naperville Illinois.  I wanted to believe him, I really did, but it was so radically different than what I had just experienced over the last year. I was 26 years old, fresh out of [Read More...]

Good News: Women in Ministry (Alice Shirey)

This week is dedicated to Good News stories about women in ministry, some of whom are serving in local churches and others serving in parachurch ministries. This is Christmas week, and these stories are told in the context of the story of Mary. The first story is about Alice Shirey and comes from my book Junia [Read More...]

An Ode to Grandparents Who Buy Books

Stephanie Appell: It’s only now, during my second holiday shopping season here at Parnassus, that I realize: The books that changed my life were probably put into my grandparents’ hands by somebody much like myself. Somebody at John Rollins Booksellers who saw someone like you in the children’s section and walked over and asked, “Is [Read More...]

On the term “Kingdom”

When Jesus announced that the kingdom had drawn near (Matthew 4:17), that word “kingdom” only made sense if his contemporaries were looking forward to a kingdom. What kind of kingdom was that? The way to answer this question is first to take a good long look at the Old Testament use of the term, and [Read More...]

Discovering an Ancient Israelite Farm

Laura Geggel: An ancient farmhouse dating back to 2,800 years ago — complete with 23 rooms, wine presses and a grain silo — is no longer lost to the ages. Over the past few weeks, archaeologists have uncovered the sprawling stone house in Rosh Ha-’Ayin, in central Israel. Archaeologists found the farmhouse during an excavation [Read More...]

Fourth Advent Candle

Today we relight the first three candles of the Advent Wreath — the candles of HOPE, PEACE and JOY. Now we light the fourth candle of Advent. This is the candle of LOVE. Jesus demonstrated self-giving love in his ministry as the Good Shepherd. Advent is a time for kindness, thinking of others, and sharing [Read More...]

St Matt’s is Outrageously Generous

From Father Rob Merola: This story is the gospel at work. There is a family with four young children. The two youngest children, both under seven years old, have autism. The younger of these two is also nonverbal, and another child struggles with an eating problem caused by food allergies. A friend knows that they [Read More...]

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, That your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. BCP [Read more...]

Tip Bombing

USA Today: HERNDON, Va. — An unsuspecting waitress got the tip of her life on Thursday. Megan Asadi was working her regular shift at the Virginia Kitchen, when she received a $1,200 dollar tip on a $128 tab. The tip came from an anonymous group that calls the massive gratuity a ‘Tip Bomb.’ The group chooses not [Read More...]

Weekly Meanderings, 20 December 2014

Timothy George on Bonhoeffer at Advent in prison: At this point, Bonhoeffer still hoped he might be released, perhaps even in time to spend Christmas with his family and his nineteen-year-old fiancée Maria von Wedemeyer. It was not to be. Though he would be shifted to other prisons and concentration camps on the way to [Read More...]

Gender and Student Evaluations

Matt Shipman: A new study shows that college students in online courses give better evaluations to instructors they think are men – even when the instructor is actually a woman. “The ratings that students give instructors are really important, because they’re used to guide higher education decisions related to hiring, promotions and tenure,” says Lillian [Read More...]

That Paraclete Package

Every Christmas season the good folks at Paraclete Press send Kris and me a little package — cinnamon raisin bread with Apple Pie Jam! We do our best to spread this out over a whole week of tasty snacks. It’s one of the highlights of the Christmas season for Kris and me, leading to a [Read More...]

Brad Brisco — “Stand and Greet”

Brad Brisco: This past week I posted a short excerpt from a Thom Rainer article where he discussed the disdain that many people have for the “Stand and Greet” time that is a part of many Sunday morning worship services. He argues that churches are actually driving “guests” away from Sunday services because of the practice. You [Read More...]

Little Town, Tiny King: An Advent Reflection

Little Town, Tiny King (by John Frye) Imperial power, unwitting accomplice Of ancient promises tucked in Jewish scrolls, Arranged the birth of the tiny King and Edict sealed its own imperial doom. Israel’s hope, tempered by shameful exile, Fragmented by competing causes to escort God’s curious kingdom home, Got lost in causes and missed the [Read More...]

Wisdom of Richard J. Mouw

Richard J. Mouw, former President at Fuller Seminary, has been one of the most versatile and insightful leaders of the 20th-21st Century for American evangelicalism. He helped shape the “moral minority” as a Calvin professor and then led Fuller in times of its becoming a leading — if not the leading — seminary in North America. [Read More...]