Toward a New Church

Many hands have been wrung, brows furrowed, and laments raised over the church’s uncertain future. In some church such wrestling has been going on in earnest since the 1980s. Other congregations are just now starting to Continue reading Toward a New Church

The Shattering of Crystal

Mainline denominational churches have been experiencing shifts in membership and participation for thirty or more years. Attendance is down, congregations have become significantly older, and communities are struggling to figure out what’s going on. For a long time,
Continue reading The Shattering of Crystal

Why I Went Back to School

Questions I carried with me in my early years of ministry have changed. It was during my second call as an ordained pastor that I began to realize the shifts under way in the church and in me. In February 1999 I began Continue reading Why I Went Back to School

Speaking in Newer Tongues

Communication has become very fragmented in the world. Gone are the days when we could get word out with a simple announcement in a worship bulletin and a blurb in the newsletter. Communication today happens quickly and though we may speak in the same languages, we need to Continue reading Speaking in Newer Tongues

Leading in Love and Self-Control

Recently, my congregation used 2 Timothy 1:6-7 as its Centering Word. Each month we have a Centering Word to help us focus on an important passage of scripture for us. Paul wrote, “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you. . . for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” Paul’s words are

Another School Shooting

In the wake of another school shooting, I thought of the a blog entry by Allen Kleine Deters: Speaking from the Heart about NewtownWe people of faith often say things that need to be more critically thought through.

The photo, “25806 Memorial Flowers First Presbyterian Church June 12, 2011,” by Bill McChesney is used by permission. It is shared under Creative Commons license (CC By 2.0).

The Mess of the Church

I made it to Bethlehem, Palestine, twice this year. I was on sabbatical and thinking about the main streets of the Christian faith. Now I’m preparing for my Christmas Eve sermon and I find myself thinking about my visit to the site at which Christians have gathered for millenia to commemorate the birth of Jesus. I was first in that church Twenty years ago, while traveling during seminary. I was surprised, then, by  Continue reading The Mess of the Church