A modest proposal for pastors

"How many you running at your church?" The first time I heard one pastor ask another pastor that question, I remember my first reaction was instant nausea. My brain started deconstructing the question, which quelled my queasiness a bit, but only because I found a way to distract myself from the topic at hand. It also helped me keep my trap clamped shut, since I had been a peripheral part of the conversation.I've heard lots of variations on this question over the years, and I've even asked it … [Read more...]

A Lenten Throwdown

My one of my favorite pit stops on the info superhighway is Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed Blog. (Can I see a show of hands? You too, right?) Thoughtful theological/eccelsiological/coffee/sports/Crocs discussion, emceed by a truly kind person. Since today is day 1 of that 40 days of purpose leading into resurrection day - better known as Lent - I thought I'd share one simple and heart-breaking (in the best way possible!) suggestion to consider as so many who are a part of the church take stock of … [Read more...]

Scissors, skinny old cats and random requests

My coffee table is covered with pictures of monkeys, goats, a spaceship, a glued-together horse and carrot and a lot of confetti-like pieces of paper. My grandson Gabriel was here today. It occurred to me the last time I was at Target that he'd never been properly introduced to the pre-schoolers' friend: a scissors. It was big fun to help him learn how to cut today, and he was so into it that he didn't even ask to watch (and watch and watch and watch) a Thomas The Train video for nearly 45 … [Read more...]

How did this gal get to be the Proverbs 31 woman?

She's adorable - no doubt about it. Come on - just look at that skirt! But how did she become our prototype for the Proverbs 31 woman?I was always pretty freaked out by her, because I thought I was miles away from ever being her. I used the Scripture passage as a sort of report card on how I was doing in the woman department. I was better at some things on the list than others. Totally flunked the part about "rising while its still night to prepare food for her household", for example. Used to … [Read more...]

A strange place for a monastery

It started in a trailer behind a church building. It now resides in a converted grocery store in a small strip mall in a leafy neighborhood full of 1960's ranch homes and apartment complexes. Part of the strip mall is given to fairly mundane tenants: a realtor, a coffee shop, a small independent bookstore, some office space. On one side of the strip mall is a free-standing gas station. Across the road, a small liquor store. At the strip mall, they've got nearly 1000 people there from around the … [Read more...]

Truth In Labeling

In recent weeks, I've run across a new phenomenon in church leadership. It is that of the long-distance Pastor. As in, the person with the title of Pastor jets back and forth every week between his/her home in City A and his/her employer, a church in city B. These people tend to be the Communicators - the magnetic Sunday morning teachers who draw the crowds, or the gifted high-level strategists working behind the scenes.For years, conference speakers, traveling teachers and evangelists have … [Read more...]

Why I cut in line at the DMV today

So I should start right off by apologizing. I'm sorry, O people of the Libertyville, IL DMV. I'm an oldest child, which means that I have a finely-tuned sense of justice. I am not a habitual line-butter. I have practiced waiting my turn in line from the time I hit elementary school and we had to line up on those grade-numbered yellow painted onto the playground blacktop before we could enter the building. I know the rules about waiting in line, honest I do. But really, most of the time, there's … [Read more...]