Many thanks to our friends who voted for Englewood’s Garden Project…

 If you hadn't heard already, Englewood did win a $25,000 grant from State Farm for our garden project!!!!   Huge thanks to everyone who voted for us, we are very grateful for your friendship.  Mike Bowling, pastor of Englewood Christian Church, wrote this little reflection for our congregation's May newsletter...----------------------------- We are a wealthy church! However, our wealth does not come through the offering plate; it is not stored away in a bank vault. Our wealth is our friends. Scripture says, “Wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend.” … [Read more...]

Emergent Church: Lacking “a Focus on Issues of Class”?

An excerpt from the new book:Occupy Religion: Theology of the Multitude By Joerg Rieger and Kwok Pui-lan Hardback: Rowman and Littlefield, 2012. Page 122. Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]HT: Ric Hudgens for pointing out this passage (Ric is working on a review of this book for The Englewood Review of Books)Generally speaking, these words ring true in my experience of the emergent church.  What do you think?  Is it possible that race and class can become more prominent issues within Emergent Christianity? … [Read more...]

LAST DAY to help Englewood win $25K to complete our gardens!

 (John and I were both at the Inhabit conference over the weekend; it was wonderful as always and we will get some reflections on that posted later this week.)TODAY is the last day to vote for the Englewood Neighborhood on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis (where I live, work and worship), in its quest for a $25,000 grant Neighborhood Assist Grant from State Farm. Can you do two quick things that will be a huge help us? 1) Make sure that you vote 10 times for us today.  (People are allowed to vote daily, so even if you've voted previously, we'd love to get your vote today.  The c … [Read more...]

Help The Englewood Neighborhood win $25,000 to finish our Outdoor Nature Playspace!

Starting today, the Englewood Neighborhood on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis (where I live, work and worship), is in the running for a $25,000 grant Neighborhood Assist Grant from State Farm. If we would win, the money would be used to turn our community garden and the adjacent lot into a playspace and Nature education outdoor classroom We have worked with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to develop a plan for the space, which if you are interested, you can view here... The plans include lots of trees for climbing, fruit trees, a tree house, water play area, a picnic shelter and … [Read more...]

Holy Saturday and Unanswered Questions

[Author's Note: A couple years ago I was asked to contribute to an article for Relevant Magazine about "five things we wish our pastors knew." Other contributors included Anne Marie Miller, Enuma Okoro, Matthew Paul Turner, and Jason Boyett. I wrote my piece as a kind of open letter to our church's new pastor. I'm reposting it here because it was written during, and inspired by, Holy Week.]Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday represent the hinge of human history. We celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday because they make everything else possible. But I think it’s a mistake to m … [Read more...]

Reconciled Diversity: Or, Why I Go to the Inhabit Conference

[Update: Make sure to check out Coté Soerens's response to this post. She brings up some important points: "Yet, we are a long ways to go in the task of breaking long-held barriers to diversity and dialogue between communities in the US...The forces behind homogeneity in our church communities, such as discrimination, privilege, and inequality, demand holistic efforts based on tireless presence and practice." I'm happy Coté is one of the presenters at this year's conference.]One of the most distressing aspects of the Church Growth Movement is its reliance on homogeneity. Donald McGavran, th … [Read more...]

Shusaku Endo’s “Silence”

[Note: Today is the birthday of the great Japanese Catholic novelist Shusaku Endo. To mark the occasion, we're posting an essay John wrote for Besides the Bible: 100 Books that Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture (IVP, 2010) about Endo's powerful novel, Silence. The director Martin Scorsese has said he hopes to start production on a film adaptation of Silence in 2014.]Francis Xavier disembarked at the southernmost tip of Japan in August 1549, and for two years the trailblazing Jesuit missionary preached in the streets, debated Buddhist monks, and conversed with local warlords. Wh … [Read more...]