No Cause for Celebration: Question Three, “Can I avoid using stained-glass language?”

Introduction to the seriesMy brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died in January of 2013 as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his illness.  In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book calledThe Dave Test. The book distills Dave’s quest into ten questions that any of us can ask ourselves, when we are in one of life’s hard places or when we are trying to support those we love.  Whether that har … [Read more...]

No Cause for Celebration Taking The Dave Test during the holidays Question Two

“Can I give up my broken gods?” Introduction to the seriesMy brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died in January of 2013 as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his illness.  In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book calledThe Dave Test. The book distills Dave’s quest into ten questions that any of us can ask ourselves, when we are in one of life’s hard places or when we are tryin … [Read more...]

“Done” with the wrong kind of Church

Mark Sandlin recently wrote a telling article on the rise of the “Dones,” people who have been active in the church and their departure.  The article hit a deep nerve and a number of people declared themselves among this new, disaffected tribe.  Sandlin lays the blame at the church’s doorstep, noting that the church has “killed spiritual community.”On one level, I agree, but reading the church’s failure against the backdrop of over two thousand years of history I could have hoped for a bit mo … [Read more...]

What is a seminary faculty?

As we discuss curriculum revision at my own seminary, I’ve found myself thinking anew about what it means to be part of a seminary faculty.  Watching events embroil other seminary faculties in troubling conflict, that question has gained considerable urgency.The question may seem abstract, but an answer might go some way toward answering the questions about the mission of today’s seminaries. The answer also has the potential for answering questions about the relationship between seminary boar … [Read more...]

General Theological Seminary and Progressive Christianity

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The crisis at General Theological Seminary probably hasn’t been felt very far beyond the walls of The Episcopal Church. That’s not surprising. General is hardly a large seminary and, like most of our denomination’s seminaries, its faculty and student body is comparatively homogeneous, denominationally speaking. But the crisis has certainly rocked our little corner of the church-world. In part, because the dispute between General’s faculty and its President-Dean became the instant subject of conve … [Read more...]

Throw Like a Girl: The Power of Enacted Contradictions

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In a world fraught with an increasing number of bitter debates over what is theoretically possible, the best antidote to prejudice may still be the enacted contradiction.  That, at least, is one of the lessons to be learned from the Little League career of pitcher Mo’ne Davis who pitches at 70 mph and just threw history’s first shut out for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons. She shatters sexist assumptions about what it means to “throw like a girl” and she does it all with composure that most adults f … [Read more...]

Question Eight of Ten: “Can I grieve with others?”

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holiday Question Eight: “Can I grieve with others?”Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in October.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book call … [Read more...]

A Vulnerable Church: Passing The Dave Test

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Much of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old this month.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book called The Dave Test, which was just released by Abingdon Press.  The book distills Dave’s quest into ten questions that any of u … [Read more...]


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