The Main Dish at the Church Potluck [Tara Lamont Eastman]

I grew up going to church. And as far back as I can recall and I have also been going to potluck dinners. Some of my first experiences as a child include feasting my eyes on long tables filled with dishes to pass, casseroles abundant and a dessert table that was this sturdy kid’s happy dream. The variety, options, and new tastes available were beyond my five-year-old stomach’s capacity to absorb.Moving to adulthood, I not only participate in potlucks but, since I work in ministry, I organize … [Read more...]

The Measure of a Ministry [KrisAnne Swartley]

It is one of the cornerstones of missional theology. I have heard it a thousand times and have said it a hundred times myself. “This is God’s work, not ours. We simply join Him in what he is already doing.”Early on, I found that bit of theology exciting, freeing, exhilarating even. I could jump in and connect with what was already there. I did not have to worry about initiating anything or carrying the responsibility to create something out of thin air. God is at work! Pressure off!I’ve b … [Read more...]

The Loss of Lament [Andy Campbell]

On a hot summer night in 2012, I tossed and turned in bed, unable to sleep. I was angry and frustrated. The year before I'd been fired from a large church for "not being a good fit." After blaming the church leaders failed to satiate my anger, I turned to blaming God. If God was omnipotent and loving, why didn't God prevent this from happening to me and my family? I'd committed no great sin; there was no moral or ethical failure that led to my dismissal. Yet, within just a few weeks of being let … [Read more...]

Building Fences Big Enough For A Neighborhood [Fr. Tony Bleything]

There is a common sentiment rising up out of the parish that I serve: “I love the diversity of opinion in this church." Among our members we have strong complimentarian views but we also have a female postulant preparing to be a priest.  We have a person in our congregation who recently officiated a gay wedding in Michigan yet we belong to a denomination that does not support same sex union.  We have a number of staunch Calvinists in our church that worship next to a number of Anglo-Catholics.  W … [Read more...]

#FFFF: Mark Moore

I grew up in an extremely patriotic family. My grandfather was in the Navy and was a Pearl Harbor survivor. He was in the shower when the attack happened and spent the first half of the battle in a towel—the second half without a towel. This is real life Braveheart kind of stuff.My dad was in the Navy and served in Vietnam. He built runways for American planes to land on, all of which are still there to this day. I was proud of him and I was proud of my country.I grew up in the 80’s wat … [Read more...]

#FFFF: Sheldon Steen

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) made headlines last week at its 221st General Assembly. At this weeklong gathering the body made a number of decisions, most of which are overshadowed by the two biggest: the decision to allow pastors the discretion to perform same-sex marriages and to divest from three companies that sell products to Israel for military purposes. These are obviously watershed moments for the denomination. One publication described the decision on same-sex marriage as a “ … [Read more...]

#FFFF: Andy Gill

I used to be a pastor, a youth pastor to be exact, but I quickly came to find that church wasn’t for me. The churches I attended felt more like country clubs for the elite, where we learned how to appear moral and nice, it was the message of, "Be everything but who you are."I was tired of pretending. I was tired of lying. I was tired of feeling forced to put on a mask every Sunday morning.I grew up in a caucasian conservative evangelical church, and have worked in only conservative e … [Read more...]

A Hermeneutic from Dystopian Fiction, or Creating as an Act of Love [Kevin Shoop]

"If you act according to a belief, that is the same thing as having the belief." – Margaret Atwood (Toby, quoting Adam One, in MaddAddam)“We read to know we’re not alone.” – William Nicholson, Shadowlands***Before you begin reading, you should know the following:I will not be discussing the Hunger Games series or the Divergent series. I haven’t read or seen any of the books or movies. I will be sharing some thoughts about Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, which includes Oryx … [Read more...]

I Know My Place [Kelly Green]

I am about as capable of changing another human being’s mind as I am capable of changing the direction of the wind. I just don't have that fight in me anymore. Arguments have never helped me see Jesus. I’ve been wrestling with this as I’ve moved away from seeing life as a series of problems and solutions, as Dorothy Sayers discusses in her theologically rich book, The Mind of the Maker. As a woman, I am trying to take this to heart when it comes to issues of gender equality. My role is not to pre … [Read more...]

Truth and Power: Looking at Evangelical Crises [John Hawthorne]

I've started many posts on my blog with a similar phrase: "there was an interesting debate going on in evangelical social media this week." But lately, this sentiment comes off as trite. It feels like every day we've got multiple Twitter fights going among evangelical groups: progressives calling folks out for being abusive, conservatives writing on false prophets, people being called heretics over pronoun usage, others confronted over misuse of scripture. Frankly, it's hard to keep it all … [Read more...]