At The Intersection Of Time & Eternity: Ordinary Time

It sounds so basic, doesn't it? After the drama of those mountains and valleys between Advent through Pentecost, "Ordinary Time" sounds like a long, dreary drive across North Dakota. Those of us in congregations not using the church calendar are familiar with the high points of the first half of the Christian year: Christmas and Easter. Ordinary Time? Not so much.The name Ordinary Time does little to commend it to people who hear "boring" in the word "ordinary".  It makes it sound as though t … [Read more...]

The Successor To WWJD

Remember these?      The quintessential 90's Christian accessories, the WWJD bracelet, T-shirt, Bible cover, bumper sticker (and today, an app) were all derived from the 1896 book penned by Charles Sheldon entitled In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?  The titular question got a lot of people pondering what their choices might look like if they'd act as Jesus would. In some cases, the question brought clarity: Q. Would Jesus steal this … [Read more...]

At The Intersection Of Time & Eternity: Pentecost

He told them to wait.Wait for who?Every time I read the account of the first Pentecost, I'm struck by the fact that Jesus' followers had no clear picture of exactly who or what they were waiting for. But the risen Messiah told them to wait, so that's exactly what they did. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a … [Read more...]

In Search Of Mercy

 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’" (Luke 18:9-14 NIV) Imagine the scene Jesus described in … [Read more...]

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...]

Welcome to Zebra World!

"When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras." - Attributed to Dr. Theodore WoodwardA doctor gave this bit of homespun advice to a a group of medical students as a way of telling them to focus on the most obvious causes for an illness when a patient came in search of help, rather than using all their newfound medical knowledge to hunt for rare diseases they'd just learned about in a textbook. That is wise advice, unless you happen to be a patient who is, in fact, a zebra.I … [Read more...]

Read, Reading, Gonna Read

I love a long conversation over coffee with a friend. Before I was old enough to drink coffee, books were my favorite conversation partners and most trusted friends. They still hold a prime spot in my heart. The not-so-good ones give me food for thought, if only to remind me to do something different in my own writing. Good books educate, provoke, or inspire. Great ones do all three.The long weeks of illness combined with the shut-in-life that is late winter in Chicago gave me plenty of … [Read more...]


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