I’d rather burn out than fade away

Last week, my husband and I visited a congregation we'd first attended nearly thirty years ago. We didn't see many familiar faces - not that we even would have recognized any of them. Thirty years is a long time, and people change. It is quite possible that a few of those folks from the days from when Flock Of Seagulls songs were in heavy rotation on the radio might have been there during last week's visit. The large majority of the people there were our age (middle-age) and older. The … [Read more...]

A modest proposal

If all the words in the blogosphere and broadcast media about this weekend's 9/11 Qur'an bonfire in Florida and the furor over the planned "Ground Zero Mosque" were committed to ink and paper, I have a feeling the entire Pacific Northwest would be 90% deforested by now. There are a lot of people exercising (and in some public cases, abusing) their right to free speech over these issues right now.And in all the furor leading up to this weekend's painful anniversary, I have heard nary a word about … [Read more...]

Dear Preacher

Dear Preacher,I just did some math, and discovered that there have been 1,716 Sundays in my life from age 18 to now. I've been in church most of those Sundays listening to your messages. I've also listened to a fair share of messages over the years via radio, cassette tape, CD, and even recently, podcast. I've learned some useful stuff from you over the years. Once in a while, lightning will strike and you'll say something life-changing. But I've had to wade through a lot (A LOT!) of words … [Read more...]

On the road again

Q: Would you drive 45+ minutes to attend an ideal church service each week or would you become a part of a church community with whom you differed on some points of doctrine and practice right in your own backyard? Though we've all been told that consumer Christianity is a bad thing, the truth is that since the Reformation, Protestant believers have often sought out the fellowship of like-minded compadres. We also know that that the thousands of different flavors of fellowship can be … [Read more...]

Stage mom Mary?

Friends in liturgical churches are honoring Jesus' mother Mary (Miryam) today/tomorrow. Suffice it to say that the various traditions have a pretty wide range of opinion about the way she lived and died. I can gladly rest in the fact that this faithful Jewish teen said 'yes' to the Lord in ways that most of us can begin to comprehend.Because I use a daily devotional put together by an Orthodox priest, some of this morning's readings focused on Mary, including this account where Jesus turned … [Read more...]

Book review: The Devil in Pew Number Seven

A campaign of terror waged by a church member furious at the changes a new pastor has brought to his little corner of the world ends in violence.The story would be unbelievable......unless you've ever been in church leadership. Then, except for perhaps the degree, you'd recognize all the stock characters of the grim drama in Rebecca Nicols Alonzo's compelling story, The Devil in Pew Number Seven (Tyndale, 2010)*. Veteran writer Bob DeMoss shaped the heartbreaking story leading to the violent … [Read more...]

Not for sissies

Writing isn't for sissies.I have been journeying with a friend as she's worked on her doctoral dissertation. A while ago, she'd asked me to do help her with some editing and offer some constructive criticism on her content. I reminded her that I do not possess even a bachelor's degree*, but that I'd be happy to look for misplaced modifiers and call her out on her use of passive voice in her sentence construction. It's been a lot of fun to watch her progress as a writer - and the subject of her … [Read more...]