Ordination: Stuck or Sent? [Levi Holland]

Ordination: A ritual of the church as a discerning body to recognize, endorse and empower one for the service of Christian ministry. It is distinct because the one being ordained is touched, the hands of the elders are laid upon them, bestowing faith, love and spirit. It is a very intimate moment - but is it selling out to a denomination? Is it conforming to a narrow view of church, rooted in one vein of an entire body of believers? These are questions that I had to ask in my evolution of … [Read more...]

In the Deep End With Grief: Thoughts On Pastoral Care to Those Hurting Most [C. Wess Daniels]

I find it hard to carry the weight of my own pain, let alone the weight of another. I have found that the grief we carry is sometimes so heavy, so disorienting, even - sometimes - so embarrassing (how could I let this happen me?) that it is hard to share that weight or let it out. The weight of grief is compounded by the inability that we all experience of isolation and being unable to see beyond it. Grief is a lot like floating out in the middle of a deep lake, nothing close by to grab onto. … [Read more...]

Beyond Consumption: Participation in the Local Church [Daniel Karistai]

Before I dive in to the second part of these installments exploring what Participation can and maybe should look like I want to give an important caveat to everything I write below - especially in light of all this tragedy that has come out of Sovereign Grace Ministries and the JPUSA:  You are made in the image of God and that means you are entitled to be treated with the upmost respect and dignity that Christ extended to the "least of these".  If we take Christ's words seriously in the Great Com … [Read more...]

Awakening Mosaics [Tara Lamont Eastman]

There was a time that picking green beans in my grandparent’s garden and sitting on the front porch snapping off the stems was a spiritual practice for me. There was a sense of community with my Grandparents as they would tell stories, sing songs (often church hymns) and teach me practical life skills like preparing, cooking and eating bacon dressed green beans. Then flash forward thirty-some years and my own mind reels at the transformation of culture and community with the impact of t … [Read more...]

Numbers Don’t Lie: Finding Adolescent Self-Worth in Spite of Social Media Pt. 2 [Mandy Meisenheimer]

When I was student teaching during my senior year of college, a student entered my classroom during 8th period wearing a t-shirt that said, “The Head Foundation: Give freely, and give often.” I immediately began writing up a disciplinary referral. He was unfazed. In fact, he started to giggle.“You are the first teacher to notice my shirt,” he said.This student was having a great t-shirt day, and my referral was just icing on the cake.When I was in high school, we used clothing as our … [Read more...]

#FFFF: Hannah Ettinger

This week's #FFFF isn't a submission - it's an excerpt from a recent post written by Hannah over at Hemant Mehta's blog about the New Calvinist movement and the SGM scandal. It's so informative, even prophetic - so I had to make it the Free Form Follow Friday this week. FOLLOW HANNAH! Here's the excerpt: The fallout from this has been fascinating, but it’s all evangelical inside baseball and pretty confusing if you’re not familiar with that world. As someone who spent ten years in SGM and left s … [Read more...]

No Virtual Reality: Praying With Our Bodies [KrisAnne Swartley]

There are two realities (maybe more?) that we live in these days - virtual and material. I am certainly not the first to take note of this, but it bears repeating. Sometimes the virtual world of social media, emails and texting seems more real than the material world in which my body exists. I walk into a restaurant and see the glow of screens as people share a meal together, but fail to look at or interact with each other in that moment. As they walk in the door at 3:45pm,I ask my kids how … [Read more...]

Ecclesial Agriculture [Fr. Tony Bleything]

The American church needs tree farmers in the city.Want to know why?Because when trees are planted the environment is sustained. Once trees are removed in order to make room for some other vegetation (i.e. corn), then the earth must be plowed to make it ready for planting. This process of plowing, planting, and harvesting leads to erosion of the soil. Depending on the area, this process of plowing, planting and picking can take place about ten times before the earth erodes, and once it … [Read more...]

The Smell of a Place [David Kludt]

I live in a beautiful and diverse neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles. Depending on which way I walk when I step outside my house, I enter either Little Armenia or Thai Town. Some of our favorite local spots are owned by Salvadoran and Filipino families. If I venture out bit further I walk through Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, hipster-filled Sunset Junction, or into the glamor of the Hollywood Hills.This might sound strange, but one of the ways I've recently been coming to notice and … [Read more...]

Testimony Evangelicalism [John Hawthorne]

Having recently come through Holy Week, I notice how important personal contact was in the Gospel Story. A woman early in the morning who meets one she thought was a gardener and then goes to tell others, “I have seen the Lord!” Two disciples walking the Road to Emmaus who have an encounter with Another and then go tell others how their hearts were strangely warmed.This is actually present throughout the scriptures. The shepherds go and tell others what they saw. So does the Woman at the Wel … [Read more...]