Search for a Church: Attending Membership Classes

Some days it feels like my family has been searching for a church for many years and other days it feels like the journey hasn't been long at all. It has been long enough to allow us for visits to three dozen different churches, including repeat visits to nine. The search has given us enough clarity to select two congregations to learn more about through participating in their classes for perspective new members. These churches, hereafter Church A and Church B differ dramatically. These Read More …

Religion – Better Off?

At the beginning of each semester, I invite my world religions students to think broadly about how religion has impacted human history.  Based on life experience, watching a debate among scholars, completing some readings, and conducting a little outside research each student is tasked with deciding whether or not society has been better of with religion or if it would have been better off without religion.  While the breakdown of answers is generally between 80-90% in favor of the the world Read More …

MLK: Paul’s Letter to American Christians

Today is not Great Americans Day; it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I invite you to read an excerpt from the Rev. Dr. King's creative "Paul's Letter to American Christians" message, which he preached at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, on 4 November 1956. But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific Read More …

Search for a Church: Repeat Visits

One of my resolutions  for 2017 is to "join (and be actively involved in) a local community of faith." Thankfully my recent experiences have helped prepare me to achieve this goal.  A few months ago I shared details of my visits to 34 different congregations.  Since that time, I have managed a few additional visits increasing the total to 36 congregations. The following chart offers a detailed accounting of the number of my worship experience by number of visits and the number of churches Read More …

My New (Church) Year’s Resolutions

A few days ago I suggested that Advent is a time for a new perspective. As the start of the church year, it is also a great time to plan for what is ahead. While such planning can take many forms, I have chosen to embrace a practice more commonly associated with the changing of calendar years: adopting new year's resolutions. Looking Back As I look back at this blog, I find that I have publicly declared resolutions a few times 2012 - I made several resolutions, but wrote about one: Read More …

Time for a New Perspective

Last week, I relocated to a new office at work.  While the move was only a few hundred feet, the change in perspective has been considerable. Think about your own experience of familiar places. How long you have been living in your current residence, worshipping in the same sacred space, and working in the same office. When did you become so comfortable in each that you stopped paying attention to some of the details? So What? Changing our physical location often allows us to Read More …

Pray with Your Feet & Heal with Your Hands

Since the election, I have read more strongly worded articles and heard more passionately preached sermons than in any other two week period I can recall.  Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke Chapel and an associate professor of the practice of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, preached a sermon that is now available online in written form that falls into both categories yet also moves beyond them. Powery's "There's Work to Do; or, An Open Letter to My Children" is a call to action that is Read More …

In Politics and Beyond, #LoveUltimatelyWins

Love wins. "Love wins" is not just for hashtags or bumper-stickers.  It is more than a statement; it is a way of being - a way intended for everyone all the time.  It is a part of what it means for the kin-dom of God to be real for all people on the earth. Today many of my dearest friends are disappointed by the result of the U.S. Presidential election.  I stand with them in naming Trump's vocabulary for what it has consistently been: opposed to the message of love wins. Bishop Dwayne Read More …

Christian Worship + Nationalism = ?

Over the last year I have worshipped in 34 different congregations primarily in congregations affiliated with Mainline Protestant denominations (with most of these in United Methodist, Presbyterian - PCUSA, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, and Episcopal churches).  From my pew or chair in most of the sanctuaries or other sacred spaces where the services were held I could see two flags: an American flag and a Christian flag. Only once, however, did the American flag play an important Read More …

Where’s Greg Worshipping?

Over the last twelve and a half months, I have attended 45 worship services in 34 different congregations. Denominations The chart at right illustrates the number of churches I have visited by denominational affiliation (green), the number of services I have attended in congregations affiliated with each denomination (blue), and the percent of all worship services I have attended by denomination (yellow). 75% of all of my worship experiences have occurred in congregations affiliated Read More …