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
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
Dear Crabby One, Something pretty amazing happened recently. You apologized for harsh words spoken. You really surprised me and I was Continue reading What I Want the Crabby Guy to Know
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
In the wake of another school shooting, I thought of the a blog entry by Allen Kleine Deters: Speaking from the Heart about Newtown. We 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).
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
I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Jacob. He is a deeply flawed character blessed by God to carry the promise of the covenant God made to Abraham and Sarah into the future. He is a scoundrel. As he made his way back from exile, he stands at the edge of the Jabbok River and Continue reading Standing At the Edge
Working with the good folks of my congregation, I called our leaders to think about the importance of tending to issues of trust in the community of faith. We did this by reflecting first on Galatians 5:13-26, a passage of scripture we have been studying at the church council table for the past couple of months. In it, Paul contrasts life in the Spirit with life in the Flesh. What follows is Continue reading Broken Windows: Trust and Missional Leadership
I saw the headline today. It was posted on Facebook: “‘Thief in the Night’ Filmmaker Russ Doughton Dies.” Suddenly, I remembered the fear Continue reading Fear Is Not Good News
This week, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly has been meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. The Assembly’s theme, “Always Being Made New,” celebrates the 25th anniversary of the ELCA. It is a theme that calls the church to consider how the Spirit calls us to be a church that is always living into a continuing reformation.
Today, the church did a new thing. Our voting members Continue reading Always Being Made New?