#Religion: Let’s Talk About the Relationship

Recently I saw a bumper sticker: “It’s not a religion / It’s a relationship.” The bumper sticker was in black and white with a little cross on the left side. My first thought: “good marketing!” That phrase surely comes as the result of contemporary research showing that younger people, millennials, are looking for just that: [Read More…]

Getting a Mission On

If I’ve learned anything from serving and visiting several congregations, it is that survival is not a mission. Religious institutions either have a saving message or they don’t. They know why they exist or they don’t. When I see a thriving congregation, I see one that is continually asking itself why it exists at all. [Read More…]

Getting Real With Church (or: More Questions Than Answers)

In a recent blog post by marketing entrepreneur Seth Godin called “Supply and Demand” Godin says: “Just because you have a supply . . . that doesn’t necessarily mean you are entitled to demand” (4/23/2016). Godin is talking about business, but is this what is happening as US church attendance drops toward twenty-percent of the [Read More…]

So You Want a #Spiritual Experience? #SBNR

GET YOUR AWE ON Which religion offers the best chance at a spiritual experience? Thirty-nine percent of Evangelical Christians and 47% of Roman Catholics report having had such experiences sometime in their lives, the highest percentages among the religious. (“Spirituality” is a US phenomenon.) But the answer is none of the above. Fifty-four percent of [Read More…]

A spiritual responsibility for a moral tomorrow

In case the not so subtle nuances and coded language around race and class that are pouring out of state legislatures and the presidential candidate nomination races have puzzled you, let us a take a moment to look back to the post-Civil war Reconstruction era.  The need for White supremacy and 1%-er capitalism is explicitly explained and defended as [Read More…]

Cutting Some Slack for Integrity

Reformers. Protestants. Heretics. Loudmouths. William Tyndale’s (1494-1536) crime was translating the bible into English. Tyndale said, I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause se a boy that drives the plow to know more scripture than he (the Pope) does. God—or at least the authorities [Read More…]

Humanist Jesus

The changing religious landscape in the US is a bit hard to get one’s head around. For the sake of clarity, let’s imagine ourselves in the midst of something I’ll call the Average Christian Church, ACC. On a Sunday morning. We find ourselves repeating the Apostles’ Creed— I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy [Read More…]

The heartwork of coming alive

“Under all the harsh noise of the world coming in on us, this is how the things that last move: a small wave from the deep moves us on and the more we’re moved, the more we bend and bow and reach for each other. Our very life is the ground of practice by which [Read More…]

Some Accumulated Wisdom for Seminarians 

One of the best aspects of being a senior minister is working with ministers-in-training. I have learned far more from seminarians than they have learned from me. Here are some things I’ve gleaned over the years: #1. Hear the wisdom of the congregation. (#hivemind) #2. Be you . . . but be getting better. (#cultured) [Read More…]

#Apatheism

This year First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis is celebrating a century of humanism. Rev. John Dietrich, often called the father of religious humanism, was called as minister to the congregation in 1916. Dietrich had already been tried for heresy and had declared himself humanist in his previous congregation, so the folks in Minneapolis knew what [Read More…]


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