Adult Baptism & Instruction

Is instruction in order to prepare for baptism a requirement in your church? If so, who is the focus on that process?If I’d been required to take a series of prep classes or undergo a formal catechism, I wouldn’t have been able to undergo baptism until I was an adult. I became a follower of Jesus as a teen, and my Jewish parents forbade me to attend church as long as I lived under their roof.However, I was presented with an opportunity to undergo baptism by immersion just months after I f … [Read more...]

Sykes, Eliason, And the Hard Work Of Regret

This past weekend, I heard an expression of regret from a man who had shaped the faith and politics of thousands of of people over the last two decades. The chastened accounting of some of the damage he'd done was a rare and welcome admission. Though it has come so late in the game, I am a firm believer in the old adage that it is never too late to do the right thing. If that's the case, his admission came right on time.I have spent of time pondering the subject of regret. In fact, I even … [Read more...]

Evangelicalism’s Uneasy Relationship With Qohelet

The world-weary author(s) of Ecclesiastes seems to have been well-acquainted with privilege and power. This voice is named only by title (Qohelet*, often translated as "preacher", he's a sage who knows what's what) and a "son of David" (a ruler in his own right and an heir of the king; some suggest Solomon, but Bible scholars have lots of other ideas about the identity - or identities - of the author[s] of this book).  I thought about the "been there, done that" way in which the book o … [Read more...]

What Are You Reading? January 2017 Edition

One of my go-to questions of both friends and new acquaintances is, "What are you reading?" It's really another way of asking, "Who are you hanging around with these days? Maybe I can hang around with you guys, too." I'm always looking for book recommendations. As you can see, I'm a little light (as usual) in the fiction department, so feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments section below.Maybe you're in the market for a book to add to your stack, too. Here's what I've read … [Read more...]

Three Gifts of Women’s Ministry

Last week in this space, I wrote about a flawed Proverbs 31-focused approach one congregation took when they decided to rethink their ministry to women. Even as I raised concerns, I noted that I’ve been enriched by time spent in prayer, study, fellowship, worship, and service with women’s-only groups.Do these single-gender groups reflect who the Church is? Paul highlighted diversity within the Church, even as he reminded us that there is one Savior for all: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, … [Read more...]

Epiphany: One Thing To Learn, One Thing To Taste

It's still Christmas.Yes, I know. The sparkly decor that looked so welcome in early December looks tired and dreary now that the holiday festivities are done. The gingerbread cookies have been eaten, the wrong-sized gifts have been exchanged. It's hard to think "Christmas" once we replace last year's wall calendar with a new model.But on the liturgical calendar, Christmas lasts for 12 days, beginning December 25th. This brief season spent contemplating the incarnation ends with Epiphany … [Read more...]

Learning to Write in Pencil

For the first 56 years of my life, I welcomed each new year with a blank calendar and an abundance of fresh hope. The heroic words of architect Daniel Burnham emboldened my Type A penchant for scripting my life: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized.”I crafted big goals out of big dreams, broke them down into actionable bits, and scrawled them in pen on each new calendar, along with the “little plans” of my daily life: meeti … [Read more...]