A Women’s Conference For The Mind (And Heart, Soul, and Strength)

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." –Mark 12:30, Deuteronomy 6:5Most of the churches I've attended over the last four decades have put the accent on different parts of this command. Some put the emphasis on strength, service, community action and outreach. Others have put the emphasis on the soul - personal piety for believers and evangelism of not-yet-believers were the primary focus of these congregations. O … [Read more...]

Can Christians “forgive themselves”?

Last fall, just as I was putting my finishing touches on my book about regret, a friend sent me a link to this blog post. The author, Chad Bird, suggests that we are deluding ourselves when we talk about forgiving ourselves: "For a time I believed such advice.  No more.  I know now that to 'forgive yourself' is not only impossible; it is foolish, dangerous, and futile.  It is the vain attempt of a soul plagued by guilt to seek relief in the very last place he should be looking: in himself.  Tel … [Read more...]

Review: Adventure Of Ascent

Books written for those in the first half of life are frequently framed in the imperative. Do this to find love of your life! Try these ten ways to divorce-proof your marriage! Here's what you must do to be a successful parent! Do these six things to get the job of your dreams! Those imperatives feed our first-half dreams for our lives. They nourish our ambitions. They are tools in a builder's hands - and while we're building our lives, we often accumulate fix it hardware as though we're … [Read more...]

Is this my seat at the kiddie table?

Just in time for this winter's epic Polar Vortex to swoop into town this winter with its alternating gifts of snow and subzero weather, my husband and I decided it was time to figure out if it still made sense to make the hour and twenty minute round trip drive to attend our church on Sunday mornings. Rush hour traffic threw additional travel time into the mix on weeknights, which prohibited our attendance at other church events. No one else we knew at the church lived in our community. We'd … [Read more...]

Survey: Pastors & Leaders, How Does Your Church Relate To Members Over 40?

Last summer, I launched an informal survey in this space asking readers over age 40 to describe their relationship with their local church. Pollster George Barna’s 2011 State Of The Church survey reported that church attendance is on the decline among mature adults. One of the most significant drops in regular attendance came among Baby Boomers, those born between 1946-1964. There was an uptick in the number of Baby Busters (those born between 1965-1983) who do not claim any church a … [Read more...]

Friday’s Miscellany

Evidence of a series of storms, in the form of layered grit, can't quite mute the expression of gratitude on this license plate. If the plate was clean and shiny, it wouldn't preached the message it did to me this morning in the Kohl's parking lot.When things aren't all so shiny-lovely in my life - as now, when some of those I love most in all the world are struggling and suffering - fear, pain and anxiety form the bulk of my Holy Spirit-groaned prayers for them. Yet I am more likely to s … [Read more...]

Whose Gifts Are They Anyway?

I grabbed a paper cup and pumped hot coffee into it just as I did each week before the Sunday morning worship service began. The coffee table in the lobby of the church was a hive of pre-service Sunday morning activity. As I reached for a lid to cover my cup of brew, I noticed a small, gift-wrapped box tucked just behind the trio of sugar containers. I picked it up and noticed my name penned neatly on a tiny gift tag. I glanced around me at the crowd filling their cups and greeting one another. … [Read more...]