The Day the Mainline Disappeared

thermometer

According to a new Pew Research Survey: People think more positively about their own religious groups, or about groups that their friends belong to, and On a scale of warmest/most positive feelings to coolest/least positive feelings, Americans have warm feelings toward Jews, Catholics and Evangelical Christians, neutral feelings about Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons, and cooler feelings toward Muslims and atheists. While this data is interesting, it is also troubling.  As a lifelong Read More …

Living the American Dream?

American Dream

Price tag for the American dream: $130K a year.  The first few times I encountered that statement on social media, I dismissed it.  Finally, I decided to check out the story or, more precisely, read Howard R. Gold's July 4, 2014, USA TODAY article with that title. While I hesitate to define the American dream solely in economic terms, I recognize it is the simplest place to begin.  Household finances have become an area of greater concern and awareness thanks to the Great Recession.  This Read More …

Churches & Social Media

mgould

Meredith Gould is the author of The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways, which I named as one of my top books of 2013.  On a more personal level, I have benefited from her wisdom as a communications consultant and as the founder and frequent host of #chsocm. As the World Cup has progressed, I have been involved in more conversations about social media than usual.  Interestingly, this has even carried over into church life and conversation.  During this time I stumbled upon Read More …

End of the White Majority

Public Schools

I have always been (and will always be) a non-Hispanic white person. I am well aware of the shifts in the American culture. Even so, I only recently learned that the next school year will be the first year when non-Hispanic white people will no longer be the majority in the public schools in the United States. So What? The chart at right offers a visual representation of what has happened as well as what is projected to happen according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Read More …

Vital Christianity

Gushee

David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life Mercer University, recently shared his vision of vital Christianity.  It is this sort of Christianity to which Gushee himself is drawn, and it is the type of Christianity he believes will be attractive in a post-Christian America. In short, vital Christianity as I see it is Christ-centered and wholly committed, passionate, loving and just, personally and socially Read More …

How Long is Long Enough?

time left

While one may rightly argue that worship should last a lifetime, corporate worship gatherings/services/experiences typically have specified start times along with relatively fixed end times.  In my experience the most common length has been 60 minutes. I have, however, been a part of a congregation that tended toward 65-75 minutes. Recently, I read an article about Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church's decision to begin offering a new 30-minute-or-less worship service. This new addition to their Read More …

July Book Recommendations

June books

The last few weeks have been a time of transition for me.  I have used the occasion to read the books in my "must read" stack, which had been growing for some time.  They follow in the order I have rated them (using a 1-5 scale). (5+) The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings by John Philip Newell (2014) (5) We Make the Road by Walking by Brian D. McLaren (2014) (5) Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now by Walter Brueggemann (2014) (4.5) Got Read More …

Sermon: The Next Chapter

Next Chapter

Ephesians 2:14-22 (The Message) Sermon Excerpt A few weeks ago, Susan and I participated in Hodges University’s annual commencement ceremony.  As professors, we know quite well how much the graduating class and their families look forward to that special occasion.  This year we listened to remarks from a member of the graduating class and from a faculty member. While those short addresses were interesting, the one speech this year’s graduates are most likely to remember is the Read More …

Summer Shifts

Shift

Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year.  It is also a time when many people temporarily shift their normal routine.  I will be making shifts in several areas for the summer, including: Blogging I have published one blog post a day for the last 10 months, and a total of 1,450 since launching this blog in 2009.  This will be my last daily post for the summer.  I will continue to post on occasion rather than taking a month off as I did last year (a much needed break Read More …

Sermon: Be A Quitter

i-quit

Sermon Text: I Corinthians 1:10-17 (The Message)   Sermon Excerpt Churchy Christians often say, “Wherever two or three are gathered in God’s name, God is present.” While they are likely right, practical Christians recognize that wherever two or three are gathered, many perspectives are present.  And somehow, more often than we care to admit, extended conversations that highlight our differences turn into arguments. Good Christian people have been known to argue about nearly Read More …