10 things your clergy should tell you before you get married

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Behind closed doors clergy often ruefully observe that they would rather officiate at a funeral than preside at a wedding.That sounds harsh, but I’m convinced that it’s because most of us watch in frustration as weddings, as well as marriages, get off on the wrong foot.Here’s what your clergy wants you to know:1. Don't wait for the movie. Save the moment. Snap the pictures. But remember: there’s no substitute for being in the moment…making vows, exchanging rings, and looking one anoth … [Read more...]

12 Things that your Pastor, Priest, or Minister Wishes You Knew

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“Church Pew with Worshippers” | Vincent van Gogh | 1882  1. YOU are a source of encouragement to us. All too often the people in our pews imagine that clergy are islands of devotion – except, of course, when we fail spectacularly and publicly. We aren’t. Like everyone else we draw encouragement from others who are faithful and courageous. You shouldn’t be that way for our sake, of course, but don’t forget, there are days when we draw renewed strength from your example.2. Don’t forge … [Read more...]

7 Life-Changing Reasons You Should Take a Vacation This Summer

Summer break

As the semester ends, perhaps this is as good a time as any to reflect -- looking back and looking forward -- to the benefits of both education and travel.  Although they are hardly the same, both should do a number of things:1.  Education and travel should broaden us -- alerting us to the complexity, wonder, and struggle that marks human life. When we go home they should sensitize us to both the shortcomings and the gifts of the places where we live.2.  Education and travel should ch … [Read more...]

PB & J

We’ll be getting the names of the people nominated for Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in a few hours and people have already named the demands of the task.But I have a sinking feeling that – just as with the election of other national leaders – some of us will fall into the trap of thinking that this election will change everything. There will be conversations about the particular camps into which the candidates fall; their capacity for leadership; and the likely shape of their time … [Read more...]

Dear “Rev”

We sit there Sunday after Sunday.We do our own faith-work, coming to conclusions about what matters and doesn’t, about what we believe and about what we don’t believe.Help us to understand you and help yourself to communicate the Gospel.Please consider the following advice:One: Lose the stained glass language.It’s important to connect our faith to the historical language of the church and we know that much of the vocabulary that you use is a form of shorthand. Clergy, just lik … [Read more...]

Lessons on Leadership: Spin

Spin is not a good thing for your organization and it has no place in any approach to leadership that takes the spiritual dimension of that task seriously.It may make you comfortable.  It may buy you a certain amount of distance from criticism and it may transfer blame in some implicit fashion to your critics.  That's certainly how it is used in politics.But, as in politics, spin masks the real problems facing an organization.  It promotes dishonesty and equivocation.   It misleads stak … [Read more...]

Rare Prayer: Cries of Lament

According to Rebekah Ann Eklund a “lament is a persistent cry for salvation to the God who promises to save, a prayer that in a situation of suffering or sin,” is lifted “in the confident hope that this God hears and responds to cries, and acts now and in the future to make whole.”  “Lament,” she notes, “calls upon God to be true to God’s own character and to keep God’s own promises, with respect to humanity, Israel, and the church.”Eklund’s book (and the dissertation on which her book is bas … [Read more...]

Saved — But from what, by whom, how?

In his book, Divine Teaching, Mark MacInosh outlines the analogies or metaphors that the church has used to try to explain what happens from Good Friday through Easter Sunday.The medical metaphor for salvation emphasizes healing -- deep healing that touches the whole of our existence.  The saving work of Jesus restores harmony to our lives, beginning with our relationship with God.  It touches us deep within and it touches our relationships with others.The legalmetaphor takes its point o … [Read more...]


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