Guest post by Les Lamkin. I briefly attended a church that, every few weeks, would drag a kiddie pool onto the stage, fill it with water and offer impromptu baptisms. One Sunday morning after such a session, the assistant pastor and I talked about their approach to baptism. She said, “We can’t find anywhere in scripture that says you must go through a class before being baptized, so anyone who wants to be baptized gets baptized.” Are the Catholics, Orthodox… Read more

BURIAL OF THE DEAD, RITE ONE Anthems “Nearer, My God, to Thee” arr. John Gardner “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” arr. Mack Wilberg sung by St. Martin’s Parish Choir Hymn 390 “Praise to the Lord” RECEPTION OF THE BODY The Celebrant meets the body at the door of the church and says With faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the body of our sister Barbara Pierce Bush for burial. Let us pray with confidence to God, the Giver of life,… Read more

Worship: A Prelude to What? I don’t use the term “orgasmic” to be unnecessarily graphic or crude. Though I’m not reaching for shock value, the comparison between modern worship and sexual intimacy might be shocking. Good. It should be shocking. Because what is passing for worship in many of Christianity’s largest churches is nothing more than a pseudo-sexual experience. The comparison is nothing new. Even when I was growing up in an evangelical, ultra-cool megachurch youth group, contemporary worship detractors… Read more

If there’s one thing commercial Christian “worship” music does well, it’s mixing metaphor. There’s one “artist” who does it in nearly every song he writes. I’d tell you his name, but it always makes people mad and gets me lots of hate comments. So let’s just call him Thris Comlin. My all-time favorite: “And like a flood, his mercy reigns…” Um…wait…what? Shockingly, contemporary worshipers are often so quick to gloss over this sort of laziness, as if it contains some… Read more

I’ve always loved the story of Jesus appearing to Thomas. Maybe it’s because of the skeptic in me. Growing up in the megachurch movement, I watched thousands of people around me every Sunday, swallowing a self-help gospel hook, line, and sinker. It wasn’t the Joel Osteen style, “you were born to win” sort of self-help gospel. I think that’s what it was so easy to digest to the usual churchy, Christian crowd. (By the way, despite what the megachurch movement… Read more

This Sunday was my 34th time to hear an Easter sermon. Well, I was probably in the nursery for the first couple, but still, I’m assuming I caught a word or two at least. I’ve heard some great Easter sermons, including one just two days ago. I’ve heard some awful ones, too. Some have been pretty short, others far too long. But they’ve all had this one thing in common. They’ve all been preached by men. Every single one. Not… Read more

13. I tell you what, our jesusy cover band is making Easter great again! 12. How about that, folks? Risen savior, $1.98 piano. 11. You officially suck as a human being. 10. We’ve misplaced our offering plates, so we’ll be passing KFC buckets. 9. Does this alb make my chasuble look fat? 8. Because we want to be seeker-sensitive for all of you who don’t regularly join us, I will now do a dramatic reading of the classic children’s book,… Read more

  10. Please rise for our first hymn, “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” by Chris Tomlin. 9. Pardon the scratching, but I’ve got this terrible, oozing skin condition. 8. Instead of a traditional Easter message, I’m continuing our topical sermon series, “Prostitutes of the Old Testament.” 7. Due to allergies in the choir we’ve replaced the Easter lilies with Easter Portuguese Water Dogs. 6. This resurrection is brought to you by HelloFresh. 5. Please give a warm welcome to… Read more

As I rocked my infant daughter late last night, I started humming a gospel song I remember from childhood. It’s funny to me that as far as I wander from my Southern Baptist upbringing, these are often the songs my heart recalls in life’s tender moments. As much work as I’ve put in over the years to perfect my generic hymn vernacular, these hymns are my mother tongue, a language I’ll surely never lose. Sadly, most of the Baptist churches… Read more

And this is why you always – ALWAYS – proofread the bulletin. Answers were provided by family, friends, colleagues, Ponder Anew followers, and members of the Facebook group, “I’m fed up with bad church music.” Choir anthem – “With a Voice of Sinning” Strength will rise ass we wait upon the Lord… Following the Christmas Day services, poinsettias will be distributed to shit-ins and others. From the Apostles’ Creed: “…born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Panties Pilate…” Thou shalt… Read more

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