The “C” Word: Prayer Request For Some Friends

I walked out of a meeting on Tuesday afternoon and checked my phone for messages. The moment I heard my friend Teri's wavering voice asking me to call her back, I had that sinking feeling - you know, the one that hits you in the belly just as the roller coaster is coming over that first hill after the long, slow climb to the top. I punched her number, and she greeted me with the words, "Pam has breast cancer."Pam, 27, is Teri's daughter and is the mother of two young children. She's been … [Read more...]

Nepotism And The Local Church: A Question

The pastor’s wife leads the worship ministry at their small congregation. Or…the pastor’s son-in-law becomes the youth minister.It’s only natural that family members serve together at a local congregation, isn’t it?Even some of Jesus’ first disciples were brothers. The prayer and ideal is of families sharing an active, engaged faith. Wouldn’t the logical conclusion of this shared faith be shared ministry?Yes. And no.Did you know that the word nepotism has its roots in medieval chu … [Read more...]

From The Margins: Pastoral Care For Seniors (And Everyone Else)

An old friend who has been the pastor of a rural Lutheran congregation for more than two decades sent me the message below in response to the question I posed earlier this week about what ministry to older adults might look like.His response offers us a very important perspective on what multi-generational pastoral care looks like. There are many who may not have "Pastor" on our business cards, but have been graced by God with pastoral gifts. My friend's experience may inspire some of you to … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / Beyond Recreation Therapy?

Since I started writing and speaking about midlifers' changing relationship with the local church, various friends have pointed me toward a few churches who are making some sort of attempt to minister to their older congregants. As I learned when I offered my survey on the subject earlier this summer, many congregations don't know what to do to nurture spiritual maturity in their "second adulthood" members beyond asking them to fill slots on the church org chart. This energizes some, but leaves … [Read more...]

Review: Tent Of David

"I wish I were Jewish. I just love the Jewish people!"When some Christians learn I am a Jewish believer, they begin to gush their love of of all things Jewish to me. Some have stories of beloved Jewish doctors or accountants. Others share their deep political allegiance to modern Israel. Still others believe that they may have had a Jewish relative who hid his or her identity in order to survive the Holocaust or duck anti-Semitism in this country.Of this group, there are a few who've … [Read more...]

The Transformative Heart Of ‘What Not To Wear’

I hear voices in my head if I'm tempted to run to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things dressed in my work-at-home uniform of an oversized T-shirt, sweats and well-worn Birkenstocks. Those voices say things like, "Why are you going out in public in that schlumpy, sad sack of an outfit? Have you learned nothing at all from a decade of watching our TV show?"Beyond a mere makeover show, TLC long-running What Not To Wear explores the emotion and esteem issues behind our clothing c … [Read more...]

Pilgrim’s Road Trip #14: On ‘Moving On’

We live as exiles. We’re called to be pilgrims.I am journeying through Scripture, stopping at a few oases along the way, in order to contemplate our exile experience. I’ll also offer some helpful thoughts about how Christ can reshape that identity and reorient our journey so we live as pilgrims. To read earlier posts in the series, click here. * * * * * * * If there's a phrase I don't understand, it's "moving on". When someone says "Survivors are rebuilding and moving on with their lives a … [Read more...]