Post-church church leaders: Now what?

What do these people have in common?The single woman in her mid-thirties with $40,000 worth of seminary debt now working as an office manager for a software vendor.The former youth pastor now installing replacement windows for a home-improvement company.The veteran minister with 20 years of pastoral experience now an anonymous attender at another congregation after losing his job when a nasty split took place in his old church.Each aimed at vocational ministry, believing … [Read more...]

Unintended Consequences Of The Jesus Movement: Voting Republican

Remember when we were gonna not only change the world, but completely rearrange it?The Jesus Movement was seeded by the Spirit in the soil of the massive social unrest of the 1960's. Many Boomers who came of age during this era learned that the military-industrial cabal responsible for U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, the Cold War, Agent Orange, and Wonder Bread needed to be dismantled. Young people discovered their voices as they questioned authority in the form of dissent, protest, and in … [Read more...]

Can Two-Dimensional Non-Community Be Church?

In a world where many large Protestant churches livestream their services online, where both Catholic and Evangelicals/Charismatics have their own basic cable networks, why show up in person at a local church when you can watch a much slicker version of church on your computer or TV? Why show up at a local church when the "quality" of the worship service may seem like a low-budget version of old school TV talent show Ted Mack's Amateur Hour and the group dynamics scream middle school instead of … [Read more...]

Communion: Remembering To Remember

The church we currently attend* offers communion once-a-month-ish during its worship services. If a special event or speaker is slated, communion isn't offered that month. Though I've spent four decades worshipping in mostly Evangelical churches, I've never bought in to the idea is a communion once-a-month post-script to the "real" worship service (sung worship, announcements, offering, and sermon). Passover Seders formed my context for communion, and time in Lutheran and Anglican congregations … [Read more...]

#AdventWord 2015

I've enjoyed participating in this year's #AdventWord Instagram journey with the online community connected with St. John the Evangelist. Each day, the brothers of the order gave us a word we could use for contemplation. We were invited to share our Instagrammed images inspired by that word with others. Here are mine. Blessings as you make your way to the manger this … [Read more...]

Jewish Evangelism In Light Of “The Gifts & Calling” Document

I am not Catholic, but am grateful for my Catholic siblings in faith. I've been strengthened by many Catholic writers over the years, particularly those from the contemplative tradition. I've been encouraged by Catholic pro-life activism and challenged by the Church's commitment to social justice and care for the least of these. I love studying the Bible with Catholic friends.So much kingdom goodness in these things. These affirmations of goodness also carry deep sorrow with them, an … [Read more...]

Reader’s Theater: Where Love Is, God Is

One of my favorite Leo Tolstoy short stories is "Where Love Is, God Is". It is profound in its simplicity at any time of year, but certainly suits this season. A few years ago, I turned the story into a reader's theater for seven voices. It takes about 12-14 minutes to perform. A couple of churches of which we've been a part have used it during Advent or Lent.Avdeich rested his head upon both his arms, and did not notice how he fell asleep. “Martin!” suddenly seemed to sound in his ear … [Read more...]