Your Church has an Angel

churchangel

It’s time to begin thinking in new ways about church.Clergy often focus on the numbers and problems: the size of the budget, the number of people who pledge, average Sunday attendance, and a long list of other numbers.  Beyond that, all too often the conversation among clergy turns to questions about the problems to be solved and the hurdles to be cleared.Lay people, on the other hand, often focus on the question, “What does this church have to offer?”  “How is the preaching, the music, and t … [Read more...]

Nukes in Japan

NukesJapan

One of the fastest moving stories in the news and, in some ways, the story that has overshadowed the suffering in Japan is the news about its damaged reactors.  This, in spite of the fact that only one person has died (in a non-nuclear) and several others made ill, whereas by comparison the earthquake and tsunami have claimed thousands of lives and wiped away whole communities.  While it is unclear how the situation will finally be resolved, the measured, sane, scientific voices have pointed out … [Read more...]

Japan: Lessons learned in Vulnerability

JapanEarthquake

There are a number of things that I believe about catastrophes of the kind that struck Japan yesterday:God does not cause disasters.God does not use them to punish people.God does not use them to teach us lessons.Disasters like this are not a blessing in disguise.They are not sent or allowed by God as a test of our faith.There is, in fact, no lesson to be learned from the tragedy itself because it is without content.But I do believe that we can learn in the midst of a … [Read more...]

The altar between heaven and earth

altarwnc

In looking back over more than thirty years of conversations about the Eucharist most of what my colleagues and I have discussed has revolved around three things: the relationship between the church's practice and Judaism; the question of what happens to the bread and wine, if and when a priest blesses them; and the practice of the ritual itself.  All three are important.  But in retrospect, none of the three topics touches on the deeper assumptions behind the Eucharist.  Like the rituals in Je … [Read more...]

Holy Imagination

holyimagination

What most of us want is a God who will solve our problems. It is no surprise that petitions and intercessions top the prayer charts in most American churches.  Invite people to spend some time in silence opening themselves up to the will of God and folks will fidget.  Give them a chance to role out their list and there’s no stopping them.The same problem-solving God shapes the way in which most of us read the Bible.  There is a reason that the Gideons have long offered a Bible with a prob … [Read more...]


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