Racism: A Mainline Reality

Emails

Meet the Researcher Bradley (Brad) Wright is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut where he studies American Christianity and spirituality.   He is the author of two books: Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites… and Other Lies You’ve Been Told (2010 - my review), and Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our World (2011 - my review).   Research Overview Wright and another researcher researched how Christian churches in the United States Read More …

Sermon: Living Wet

baptism

Sermon Text: Matthew 28:18-20 (The Inclusive Bible) Sermon Excerpt The great reformer Martin Luther was fond of saying “remember your baptism.”  With that in mind, I placed some words on the front of this morning’s worship bulletin designed to invite you to remember the details of your baptism as you prepared for worship. I admit that a few of you who saw the bulletin well beforehand told me that I was asking the impossible as they had no recall of their own baptism. So I will share my Read More …

Most Popular Sermons

Titleless Preaching

We are now almost two weeks into the second half of the year known as 2015.  A few weeks ago I shared my most popular blog posts from the first half of the year.  Today, I offer my most popular sermons from the first half of the year (based on YouTube views) in lieu of new sermon content since I am on vacation and not preaching this morning. Titleless - watch / read - a 13 min. message on humility Surprising Salaries - watch / read - a 12 min. message on the Parable of the Laborers in the Read More …

Ministry Reflection: Getting Started in the UCC

Congregation Size 2013

On June 30, I concluded 4+ years of service as Director of Adult Education at Naples United Church of Christ (a tenure that also included a shorter stint as IT Manager).  This ministry role was my first in the United Church of Christ after serving congregations affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Lutheran (ELCA), and Presbyterian (PCUSA) traditions. Naples UCC Naples UCC is among the flagship churches in the United Church of Christ denomination. Just over 1% Read More …

Sermon: Living Well, Living Wisely

GS2015

Sermon Text: James 3:13-18 (The Message) Sermon Excerpt Last Sunday I shared that our denomination – the United Church of Christ – was in the middle of something called General Synod.  Held every two years this national gathering affords an opportunity for many in our tradition to come together in one place for several days of worship, learning, and decision making. At this General Synod – our thirtieth, held in Cleveland – delegates voted on more than a dozen resolutions.  By now you Read More …

July Book Recommendations

Theres-a-Woman-in-Pulpit-cover-book-edited-by-Martha-Spong

During the month of June I read five books that I recommend.  All were published either last year or this year: (5) There's a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments, and the Healing Power of Humor edited by Martha Spong (SkyLight Paths, 2015) (4.5) Teams that Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership by Ryan T. Hartwig and Warren Bird (IVP Books, 2015) (4.5) From Tablet to Table: Where Community is Found and Identity is Formed by Read More …

Sermon: Surprising Salaries

Day Laborer

Sermon Text: Matthew 20:1-16 Sermon Excerpt I don’t know about you, but I have never owned a vineyard.  Comparatively, I have much more experience with day laborers. On a few occasions I have hired a couple of day laborers to assist me with a project. For many years I drove by a very large gathering of day laborers every morning on my way to work. And, I listened to many of their stories while trying to determine their eligibility for food stamps when I was a caseworker and Read More …

Top Posts of 2015 (Jan-Jun)

Gender

In a few days the second half of the year will begin.  The most popular posts here on So What Faith so far this year (based on total number of views of posts published in 2015) are Effective Leaders Ask for Feedback, World Religions in 2050, Toward Church Renewal, From Mainline to Sideline to Oldline, and Top 10 Faith Enriching Books. Statistical Curiosities The list includes two posts from January, two from February, and one from April.   Each post was tagged with a primary Read More …

Sermon: Lost –> Found –> Party

43397 Let's Party Brand Logo FINAL

Sermon Text: Luke 15:1-32 Sermon Excerpt When I was first starting out in ministry I did my best to avoid preaching on certain types of holidays.  I especially tried to avoid preaching on holidays that were not a part of the church/liturgical calendar, but were popular enough that some people expected their celebrations to carry into the worship service. There were the patriotic ones: Independence Day, Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. And, there were the family ones: Mother’s Day and Read More …

Death of the Sermon?

preach

Christianity has always been growing, changing, and evolving.  In recent years the rate of change has accelerated.  Here in America the shift toward a less religiously affiliated population is well underway.  Recent research has led many experts to speculate that it is reasonable to think the nones (those with no religious affiliation) will grow even more rapidly in the next few decades. For those who have chosen to remain a part (or who have opted to become a part) of Christianity, corporate Read More …