By Zen Hess There is a lively discussion on the internet regarding Pope Francis addressing environmental and economic issues. Judging by the blanket coverage given to the Pope’s recent visit, it seems most people were excited to hear the Pope speak about relevant and timely issues. There are, however, people who think that Pope Francis is overstepping his duties. Andrew Napolitano suggests, for example, that the Pope’s job “is to get souls into heaven, period.”Others are upset that the Pope… Read more

As some of you may have noted, a few weeks ago I spent two days at a conference in Wilmore, KY called Grace Prescriptions, composed of Christian healthcare professionals looking for ways to share their faith in their practice. This week I caught up with one of the doctors in attendance, Dr. Vickie Moore, to talk about her experience at the conference and how she’s been putting it into practice. Vickie Moore is a family medicine doctor in Gatlinburg, Tennessee…. Read more

We reprint this post from Mike Coyner, whom you’ve read on this blog often, not because you all are lay United Methodists in Northern Indiana (we know better!) but as an example of a church leader fruitfully encouraging the ministry of the laity. Go thou and do likewise!–Editors On Saturday, October 17th at Castleton UMC, I will gather with all laity of our Indiana Conference for our first “Laity Day with the Bishop,” an event that is sponsored by our… Read more

Let’s face it. Our identity and work are closely aligned–and rightly so because God made us to work. But it’s possible to let work be the defining reality of who we are. When we lose a job or can’t get a job, our very understanding of who we are can unravel. But good can come from this kind of identity crisis according to an article RELEVANT entitled, “Find God in Unemployment: What you can learn when you can’t find a job.” Recent college graduate Brian Livingston… Read more

Originally published at Ithilien in 2006. The catchphrase on the Left these days (and among many who see themselves as moderate) is “theocracy.” Allegedly, conservative Christians are pushing for an explicitly Christian government ruled by Biblical law, in which those who offend Christian codes of belief or ethics will be persecuted. These claims are supported by copious citations from the more extreme writings of the small group of conservative Protestants known as “Reconstructionists,” who are in fact working toward an… Read more

We all are important to God. “God don’t make no junk,” as the saying on the T-shirt reads. This isn’t to deny the reality of brokenness and sin. But in the face of these evils, God still affirms and preserves his creation. Life itself is a blessing from God, and mere existence is proof enough that God values people and has purposes for us. Every one of us. Read more

By Laura E. Everett How do you develop leaders in your organization without funding? The executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches offers 10 ideas for leadership development on a shoestring.This reflection is part of a series on leadership development and is reprinted from Duke Divinity School’s magazine Faith & Leadership, an offering of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity. Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In my experience, those of us who lead… Read more

By David Spickard, originally published in March 2015. Jerome Jenkins is a business owner. It’s in his DNA and he has big plans. Already an owner of a chemical company and a thriving restaurant, Cathy’s Kitchen with his wife, Cathy, he has plans to start a grocery store, a gas station, and five new restaurants. All in his hometown. But people wonder why? After all, he lives in Ferguson. By now, we all know Ferguson. Six months ago, very few… Read more

In a previous post, I highlighted the importance of Leading from the Front with Vision. Focusing on why vision matters, Burt Nanus provides a list of characteristics of organizations with and without vision. Here is a summary of these characteristics: Organizations with Vision Organizations without Vision Opportunity-Driven Focused on Change Progressing toward Goals Oriented Strategically Focused on Long-Term Results Proactive Problem-Driven Focused on Stability Focused on Past Performance Oriented Tactically Focused on Short-Term Results Reactive An orientation toward change, pursuing… Read more

Today is the day after the Feast of the Holy Cross, and in the Catholic tradition this is, fittingly, the commemoration of the Sorrows of Mary. Historically, this feast originated in 1668, although it drew on a longer tradition of devotion to Mary as the sorrowful mother of the suffering Christ. In the 13th century, a religious order, the Servites, made this devotion the focus of their existence as a community, and the September commemoration was a gift to the… Read more

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