View from the Pew: 12 Sacred Spaces

Most followers of the Way of Jesus have a primary sacred space in which they gather for corporate worship.  Opportunities to experience elsewhere with another group of people are typically few and far between. While these words describe the norm, I have been living the exception since last September.  Over the last several months I have visited a new sacred space and worshiped with a new community of faith most weeks. Previously, I have shared images of my earliest experiences on this Read More …

Be the Church

Not being the church should not be an option. All who follow the Way of Jesus are called to be authentic in their following by being themselves, being proud, and being the church. It is always time to co-create with God; make real God's realm on earth; and advocate for justice for all of God's people. So What? Being the church is never an individual adventure; it is always a shared journey.  It requires a genuine concern for all humans and a commitment to embody love for God Read More …

Less Really is More

My own journey from conspicuous consumption to intentional minimalism didn't get started until the fourth decade of my life.  For me the first lessons that less really can be more came when I relocated across the country in 2007 to a place with far more expensive housing than anything I had ever experienced.  (If you want to learn more about what this has been like for me I invite you to check out "How Much is Enough.") It seems the desire to live more simply often begins at home.  For Joshua Read More …

My Summer Vacation Worship Report

While there are many creative ways that young people write reports about their summer vacations that creativity rarely extends into adulthood.  Rather than attempt such an ambitious project, I offer some insight into one hour of my summer vacation: worship at Naples United Church of Christ. Under Construction No church is ever complete. No community of faith has ever arrived.  Every congregation is always under construction. Given these theological assertions, I was pleasantly surprised Read More …

Post-Christendom Reality Check

I recently finished reading Weird Church: Welcome to the Twenty-First Century (Pilgrim Press, 2016) by Beth Ann Estock and Paul Nixon.  The book is an important read because it offers a fresh approach to the transition for Christendom to post-Christendom based on Spiral Dynamics alongside numerous examples of ways congregations are already innovating and how such innovations offer hope for the future. The End Christendom is over.  There is no debate about that among those who take Read More …

The Disappearing Religious Gender Gap

It is relatively well known that America is a more religious country than most and that in America women are significantly more religious than men based on most traditional measures of religious belief and behavior. When I discuss religious behavior with a variety of audiences one measure resonates more than any other: attending religious services.  New research suggests that the once wide gender gap in religious service is now narrowing. More specifically, it was was cut in half from 1982 to Read More …

Search for a Church: 9 Months & Counting

Last September following a move across the country my wife and I began to search for a church.  That search is ongoing.  To date we have reviewed the websites of 40+ Mainline Protestant congregations in our area identified 26 congregations for visits visited 23 congregations and planned visits to the 3 remaining congregations selected 5 congregations that appear possible matches and committed to visiting each a second time this summer Several key categories help me process my Read More …

Global Decline in Religious Freedom

According to the recently released United States Commission on International Religious Freedom's 2016 Annual Report religious freedom decreased from February of 2015 to February of 2016.  The report also finds that "There are increasing opportunities for the U.S. government to work in concert with like-minded nations on issues relating to freedom of religion or belief." At nearly 300 pages in length, the report offers in-depth insight into the work of the Commission and the state of religious Read More …

Remembering Daniel Berrigan

On Saturday the Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan passed away at the age of 94.  He served as a Jesuit priest for more than 60 years and the author of more than 50 books.  Berrigan is best known for his commitment to non-violence and was, in the words of fellow Jesuit James Martin, a "tireless promoter of peace." Whether or not you knew of his ministry, I encourage you to reflect on a few of his many powerful quotes: "No principle is worth the sacrifice of a single human being." "One is called to Read More …

Finding Your Ferguson

Last week I shared 5 Ways to Create a Moral Tomorrow.  That list includes general issues that impact our entire nation.  This week, I focus on local issues.  What issue(s) within your own local community demand(s) attention? Finding Your Ferguson The Rev. Starsky Wilson has become widely known as the result of his tireless work in and around Ferguson. He served as co-chair of the Ferguson Commission and is one of three incorporators for a nonprofit called Forward Through Ferguson. Read More …