What is a Church? A Church as an Alternative Community, Part 1

Westport Community Church, Swanzey, New Hampshire

Part 10 of series: What is a Church? The Church as an Alternative Community, Part 1 Let me begin with a brief review. In my last few posts in this series I’ve been exploring the meaning of the Greek word ekklesia, which is ordinarily translated as “church.” This translation, however, is not necessarily the best [Read More...]

How Can I Be Joyful When God Disciplines Me? Inspiration from The High Calling

How Can I Be Joyful When God Disciplines Me? Psalm 94:1-23 Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions. Psalm 94:12 When I hear the word “discipline,” a part of me winces. I don’t have a problem with the sound of the word, but rather its connotation. “Discipline” reminds me of [Read More...]

Nine Stereotypes for Pastors – My Latest Addition to The Pastors Workshop

TV evangelist Benny Hinn preaching in San Antonio. Image from WikiCommons.

My latest contribution to The Pastors Workshop is up. In this column, I consider different stereotypes for pastors. What I’m wondering about is this: What roles and positions in our cultural setting might be projected onto pastors? If people learn that you’re a clergyperson, what assumptions might they have about you and your ministry? What [Read More...]

I Am Such a Trend-Setter!! :) LOL OMG


A couple of months ago, a business associate of mine ended a text message to me with a funny emoticon (AKA smiley). As it turns out, he had intended to send it to his daughter, but sent it to me accidentally. Well, that inspired me, so, with considerable help from Google, I discovered how to [Read More...]

What is a Church? Biblical Basics for Christian Community


For the last three weeks, I’ve been working away at a series I’ve called What is a Church? Biblical Basis for Christian Community. So far, I’ve focused on questions like: Where do people get their ideas of church? When is a church not a church? As you know, in most blogs, if you want to [Read More...]

God, No! Thoughts About Magic and Christianity

Benozzo Gozzoli, "The Fall of Simon Magus," 1461-1462

A recent article in Religion News Service got me thinking about magic and Christianity. “Magicians say their craft makes them see faith as just hocus-pocus” begins by noting the recently published book by famed magician, Penn Jillette. In God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, Jillette uses his platform [Read More...]

A Presbyterian Church Makes the New York Times and There’s No Scandal!

From the Resurrection Presbyterian Church website.

I was surprised and pleased to see that a Presbyterian Church made it into the New York Times today. No, there is no scandal. Nothing about declining membership or divisive church politics. None of that. The headline I read in the morning was “Millenials in Church – Up Close.” The online edition is called “A [Read More...]

What Makes a Great Place to Work?

Microsoft ranks #1 on the list of great places to work.

A recent article in USA Today asks and then answers the question: What makes a place to work a great place to work? The answer to this question comes from aptly named institute, The Great Place to Work Institute.This institute has identified three crucial factors that make a workplace great: Firms that rank high on [Read More...]

I Used to Own One of Chevrolet’s Biggest Flops!

A Chevrolet Citation, care of WikiCommons

A recent article in USA Today celebrates the 100-year birthday of Chevrolet. It contains a few surprises. For example, did you know that the first Chevy Suburban was sold in 1935? That makes Suburban the “longest-lived automotive nameplate in continual use.” What I found most ironic, however, was the list of Chevy’s biggest losers. According [Read More...]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 4

Some of the children of Irvine Presbyterian Church worshiping during Vacation Bible School. Now that's what I call an ekklesia!

Part 9 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 4 In yesterday’s post, I explained that the earliest Christian usage of the word ekklesia, which is normally translated as “church” in English Bibles, referred to an actual gathering of believers in Jesus. The ekklesia in Thessalonica didn’t exist, [Read More...]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 3

"Freedom of Speech," by Normal Rockwell

Part 8 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 3 In my last two posts, I suggested that the Greek word ekklesia, which is usually translated as “church” in our English New Testaments, did not have the religious overtones we naturally hear when “church” is spoken. Because of [Read More...]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 2

Part 7 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 2 In my last post, I argued something fairly commonplace: that the word “church,” understood theologically, does not refer to a building but to the congregation who uses it. This is not news, though it deserves to be repeated. [Read More...]

Here’s an Experiment: Frame Your Day With God’s Love and Faithfulness

Here’s an Experiment: Frame Your Day With God’s Love and Faithfulness Psalm 92:1-15 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, Psalm 92:2 I wonder what would happen if you were to take Psalm 92:2 very literally. What difference might it make in your life if the [Read More...]

“The Perverse Monstrosity of Our Beautiful Work”

The title grabbed my attention: “The Perverse Monstrosity of Our Beautiful Work.” So did author L.L. Barkat’s first sentence: “It was the suckiest letter I ever received.” Any article that combines perversity, monstrosity, beauty, and suckiness just has to be read. Barkat’s “suckiest letter” was in response to something she had written. Someone didn’t like [Read More...]

Baseball, Beards, and Spitting! Yikes!

One of the most impressive beards in baseball belongs to Brian Wilson, relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Most of the beards in the World Series were nicely trimmed. If Wilson wants to help his team into the series, he should get a beard trimmer.

In the last couple of days, I watched more baseball than I have in a couple of years. In the end, it was not much fun for someone from Texas, though I’ve got to give tons of credit to the St. Louis Cardinals. They proved to have great fortitude in addition to great talent. But [Read More...]

You Lost Me: An Interview Not to Be Missed


I am in the middle of reading a book that should be read by every church leader: pastor, elder, deacon, director, lay leader, etc. The book is You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman. In this book, Kinnaman explores in detail why Christians in their late teens and [Read More...]