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 …

Sermon: The Good Hamas Member

goodsamaritan

Sermon Text: Luke 10:25-27 Sermon Excerpt Jesus’ parables should grab our attention! When I shared with one of you that my sermon title was “The Good Hamas Member” your response was “please don’t put that on our sign. We don’t want those driving by to think we support Hamas in any way, shape or form.” If the idea of a Good Hamas Member sounds like an oxymoron to your ears know that this is exactly what Jesus intends. Today, you won’t find Israeli Jews talking about a “Good Hamas Read More …

Cities with the Most Religious Venues

USA

New research by PropertyShark.com provides insight into the religious real estate found in American cities. More specifically, the findings of their research were published as a list of  American cities with the most religious venues per capita.  The top 10 are Indianapolis, IN Seattle, WA Jacksonville, FL Washington, DC Memphis, TN Columbus, OH Dallas, TX Charlotte, NC Houston, TX Boston, MA So What? The presence of real estate venues designated for religious usage Read More …

Sermon: A Radical Recipe

Jesus Said

Sermon Text: Luke 13:20-21 Sermon Excerpt A few months ago I shared with you how in recent years my wife Susan and I have been intentionally downsizing - moving to smaller and yet smaller residences.  While I was truthful about the significant decrease in square footage, I omitted an important part of the makeup of our current home.  Even as the overall size of our house shrunk to less than half of the size we had once known, our kitchen remained large.  And, even more importantly, our Read More …

June 2015 Book Recommendations

June Books

My reading the last month has included a number of texts published this year (2015), including (5) Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents by Gary Scott Smith (Oxford University Press) (5) Contemporary Churches: Spiritual Transformation of Congregations by Louis F. Kavar (Louis F. Kavar) (4.5) My Church is NOT Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century by Greg Garrett (Morehouse Publishing) (4) Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church by Pope Read More …