What Do Your Kids Know About Communion?

I taught Sunday School for years. The experience taught me a few things. One essential lesson was to avoid any craft project involving glitter. I found glitter in my clothes, hair, and Bible for days after creating sparkly Noah’s Ark rainbows with my class of first-and second-graders. A word to the wise: no matter how cute it looks in the curriculum guide or on Pinterest, there’s really no sane reason to drag glitter into your Sunday morning.A second, more serious lesson had to do with how in … [Read more...]

Back To Church?

I’ve been blogging for more than a decade,and I’ve written often about spiritual abuse by church leaders – sharing both my own experience and referencing the struggles of others. I’m just one voice in a large crowd: there are numerous blogs, books, and worthwhile organizations telling the stories of spiritual and/or clergy sexual abuse survivors. The internet has been a tool for good in this struggle as it has facilitated connection between survivors. In a few high profile cases, the networking o … [Read more...]

The Gift of Context In Worship

One of many gifts my Jewish identity offered to me was the deep conviction that the Old Testament and New Testament were a single, seamless narrative revealing God’s perfect nature and redemptive work among his created, beloved image-bearers. Though few Gentile Christians would disagree with that sentiment, I’ve learned many have a conflicted relationship with the first 75% or so of the pages in their Bibles.While this statement reflects the continuing trend toward Bible illiteracy in our chu … [Read more...]

Welcome To Post-Adulthood?

This recent Washington Post article highlights an idea foreign to the majority of us living in Western culture. Dr. Bill Thomas contends, "...there is a 'third' phase of life beyond adulthood that can be as rich as either of the phases that came before." This idea has implications for the church - if only we have ears to hear.For those interested in nurturing spiritual growth and development throughout every phase of life, and some of those who work with aging populations, these words are m … [Read more...]

Unintended Consequences Of The Jesus Movement: Church by Org Chart

The middle-aged man stood before our group of mostly thirty-something congregational lay leaders and announced with the kind of certainty that comes from being a paid, invited consultant, "80% of most congregations are comprised of people with the spiritual gift of helps."Our pastoral team had invited him to come to our church in the early 1980's to help us come up with a way to move forward after the resignation of the leader who'd launched the church during the Jesus Movement during the ea … [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...]

What Kind Of Evangelical Am I?

(This post is part of the Patheos "Why I Am Still An Evangelical" conversation.)My four decades in the Evangelical world has been a pilgrim's road trip. I came to faith in 1974 in the waning days of the Jesus Movement, and have since swum laps in a variety of different streams within Evangelicalism: fundamentalist, second- and third-wave Charismatic, conservative and progressive non-denominational congregations, house churches, Messianic Jewish congregations*, and local churches with a … [Read more...]