September 18, 2020

  With Ashley Mowers   Prior to the pandemic, a lot of us lacked any capacity for online ministry.  It wasn’t a part of our DNA.  Our buildings weren’t equipped for it.  Our budgets couldn’t accommodate the costs involved.  We thought our demographic didn’t require it.  And all of those reasons were bolstered by the theological conviction that virtual ministry lacked an incarnational element. Or so we thought. But Covid-19 and a lot of really bad planning that assumed spiritual… Read more

September 9, 2020

  Covid-19 has presented unexpected challenges at every level of society and the church has not escaped.  Exactly what the church will look like after we are able to talk about the pandemic in the past-tense is difficult to say. Until in-person is possible again without any kind of limitations, it is impossible to be sure how many people will return on a regular basis.  But it is possible to be a bit clearer about the lessons we have learned… Read more

August 31, 2020

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting… Read more

August 26, 2020

  If Mainline and Progressive Protestantism wants to be anything, it wants to be inclusive.  In one way or another that has been a central theme for roughly seventy years.  But over time, the definition of inclusion has shifted dramatically. For much of that time, the inclusive ideal was a church that welcomed people of varied identities.  In quick succession and often in overlapping efforts, that quest had a variety of priorities.  In the twentieth century through the early twenty-first… Read more

August 17, 2020

Church folklore is replete with delightful stories of Mary in the daily life of the Church.  One story tells of an old man, intent on receiving a special favor, who prayed fervently every day at the shrine of Mary, the Mother of God.  Impressed by such devotion, Jesus himself, the story continues, decided to reward such faith by appearing in person to assure the man of the blessings that would come to him.  Seeing the Christ Child standing above the… Read more

August 12, 2020

Once when Antony was living in the desert his soul was troubled by boredom and irritation. He said to God, ‘Lord, I want to be made whole and my thoughts do not let me. What am I to do about this trouble, how shall I be cured?’ After a while he got up and went outside. He saw someone like himself sitting down and working, then standing up to pray; then sitting down again to make a plait of palm… Read more

July 31, 2020

During World War II… “A teenager was riding in a crowded compartment with five strangers.  His mother had given him a sandwich wrapped in a handkerchief for his lunch because rationing made food for travelers hard to come by.  Noon came and he was hungry, but he didn’t want to eat his lunch in front of the other passengers.  He decided to wait until they got out their lunches, but no one moved.  An hour passed and then another.  Finally,… Read more

July 27, 2020

For a long time, sin and guilt were really unpopular subjects in American life. Until recently, if they figured in the American psyche at all, it was the toxic projection of antiquated religious ideas, and its best antidote was good therapy.  Only on a rare occasion did it feature in public conversations.  The experience of Tiger Woods comes to mind.  People weighed in on his personal trials, declared him guilty and recommended that he seek absolution in a public confession-come-conversation… Read more

July 19, 2020

It’s not often that I connect the Sunday lectionary with my observations here.  But The parable of tares, or weeds (Mt 13:24-30, 35-43) offers wisdom for the circumstances we face today.  For reference, here is the text: The Parable of the Weeds 24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[a] among the wheat and went… Read more

July 10, 2020

There has been more than one article of late that rightly describes the progressive politics of our day as a religion.  And there is a good case to be made for that perspective.  In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, progressive political voices have offered up a theology of sin, an approach to repentance, and – in fairly open-ended terms – a vision of a perfected future.  For those who like theological labels, that’s a hamartiology, soteriology and eschatology.  There… Read more

Browse Our Archives