Adese Fellowship (Social Enterprise)

Two months ago I wrote about experiencing "many first days" in a relatively short period of time.  One of those first days was starting my role as Director of Social Enterprise at the Wesley Mission Center in Mansfield, Texas. Shortly after starting that position I learned that the United Church of Christ was accepting applications for a social enterprise fellowship targeting those interested in changing the world for good via social enterprise. Adese "Adese" comes from the Amharic Read More …

The Largest Religion in America in 2037

The rise of the "nones" (those claiming no religious affiliation) has been well documented in general, and also here on this blog.  Assuming the shift away from religious affiliation continues, when might the largest "religious group" in America become those without a religious affiliation? Rise of the Nones Allen Downey, Professor of Computer Science at Olin College, recently shared on his blog an extended version of an article he initially published in Scientific American titled "The Read More …

Necessary to Believe in God to be Moral?

Is it necessary to believe in God in order to be moral? The Latest Research Last month the Pew Research Center published the results of their latest survey on the topic.  The survey item asked American respondents to fill in the blank in the following statement: "It is ___ to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values." Respondents were able to chose from "is necessary" or "is not necessary." A majority (56%) chose "is not necessary" in 2017, which was up from about half Read More …

A Common Dream

Imagine a common dream capable of uniting people of varying faiths and perhaps also people who do not frame the experience of life through faith lens. I am not aware of many attempts to craft such a vision, however, I find much wisdom worthy of consideration in a benediction written by the Unitarian Universalist minister and author Gary Kowalski.  The benediction proposes that our common dream is Homes and schools where children thrive, Neighborhoods that are safe and clean, A city rich in Read More …

Living the Jesus Ethic

Robin Meyers is the type of pastor and teacher who makes good teaching great by incorporating a strong call to action.  In a recent video interview on being a follower of Jesus he explained that being a follower of Jesus is always about getting out of heads and into our whole beings - so that when we are doing things in the world people see that we've integrated the thoughts that we have about the Jesus' ethic, and that we are practicing it in the world. So What? Authenticity.  Read More …

Non-Profit Giving Habits

The only annual study dedicated to analyzing the giving habits of donors worldwide was recently published.  Produced by the Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech For Good, the report "seeks to gain a better understanding of how donors prefer to give and engage with their favorite causes and charitable organizations" (p.3). Giving Habits The report provides considerable global insight for those tasked with leading fundraising for faith-based non-profits: Donors prefer to give Read More …

4 Out of 10 Nations Favor a Specific Religion or Religions

Earlier this month the Pew Research Center published  the results of their analysis of  their study of 199 countries and territories around the world.  They found that more than 40% of these countries or territories (83 of 199), "favor a specific religion, either as an official, government-endorsed religion or by affording one religion preferential treatment over other faiths." Government-Endorsed Religion Only four religions have been granted the status of government-endorsed religion in Read More …

World Communion Sunday

Today is World Communion Sunday. Over the years, taking Communion / Lord's Supper / Eucharist on this day has been especially meaningful to me. Rather than seek to say something novel or new, I have collected some wisdom from posts I have written over the years. 2010: I wrote a series of blog posts sharing one big lesson I learned from each of the many denominations that have played a major role in my faith journey.  In my post on the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), I wrote, "The Read More …

Connecting with Historic Congregations

A year ago I was in Connecticut preaching and leading a Day of Discovery for leaders of  Westchester Congregational Church (founded in 1728) .  Yesterday I was in Grand Prairie, Texas preaching at West Fork Presbyterian (PCUSA) Church (founded in 1870).  Fifteen years ago I was preaching or assisting in leading worship at Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which claims to be the oldest continually meeting Protestant congregation in Dallas, Texas (founded in 1863). These three Read More …

My Many First Days

First days are often memorable.  Usually they are scheduled well in advance. Often they go according to plan.  This was the case for me yesterday (September 17), which was my first day to preach in a congregation affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 2010. First days can, however, be a bit more complicated and colorful as the last two months of my life illustrate: August 7 was officially my first day of work at the Wesley Mission Center, but my participation in a July 26 Read More …