Help! How can I do good for others when I’m such a rotten person?

It never worked. Ultimately, none escaped the “noonday demons” when the fullness of their darkness would be exposed yet once more. Dear Thoughtful Pastor, Recently, I have encountered quite a few Christians who have told me that, after they were saved, living out their Christianity has been “easy.” “You just do the right thing,” they [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: When Will They Pray? Good Friday Meditations

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have visited a number of churches in the last few years. Often I wonder during the services, “When are they going to pray?” Every year on Good Friday, my mom made us sit still for three hours from noon to three. She reminded us that Jesus was on the cross. Why [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: "Deliberately Diluting God's Word" and First Class Women

  Dear Thoughtful Pastor: We have several examples of the power of prayer and the direct influence it can have on our lives and the lives of those around us. Yet you, in a previous column, would discourage people from believing that prayer has any real power, and encourage them to think of prayer as [Read More…]

Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: Prayer and Lost Children

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Do you believe in prayer? Does prayer work? If I pray for a friend with a disease and she dies anyway, did I just not pray hard enough? ~Disappointed Dear Disappointed: Three questions here. First question: do I believe in prayer? Well, not exactly, although I think I understand what you are [Read More…]

How Megachurches Have Killed the Practice of Prayer

It suddenly dawned on me last Sunday: Prayer is not media-friendly. In this past year, I’ve visited over forty different types of churches, writing up my experiences for a regional newspaper. I then post the columns on this blog and write a more thorough analysis of what I saw and experienced. Many of the places [Read More…]

Questions, Questions, We’ve Got Questions

Last Tuesday, a group of people sat in a circle and we began an open discussion about our questions about our faith.  I have called this group “Doubters Anonymous” and have invited anyone who wants to explore any aspect of their faith to come together during Lent and do so in an open, welcoming atmosphere [Read More…]

Everybody and Their Dogs Were at Worship Today

We could have turned off all the lights in the worship center today and the light on this child’s face would have illuminated the entire space when she came forward for the blessing of the toys.  As her mother said later, “Everybody and their dogs were at worship today! The children in prayer as we [Read More…]

The Conversation

“OK, in German, nouns have four cases:  nominative, accusative, dative and genitive.  Here, let me show you what I mean in this sentence.” I overheard this conversation in a sandwich shop recently as I had settled myself for a late lunch with time to work on a message I needed to prepare.  For the next [Read More…]

Prayer Letters

It was a quiet Friday morning.  I slept late, knowing I need the extra rest as I’ve fought cold after cold all fall and am clearly not treating my body well. As always, I woke to spend some time in prayer, offering thankfulness for another day and then way too quickly, moving to what I’m [Read More…]

Two Prayers–and a Problem

Two people want to pray. People can certainly pray anywhere, but these two decided to go to a place where prayers are routinely said. There is definitely something that enhances prayers by going to a place that really is set aside for such activity. The atmosphere may quiet the spirit, the whispers of other prayers, [Read More…]