Last Blog Post

This will be my last blog post for awhile . . . History Six years and four months ago, I launched this site.  At that time, I never imagined that I would become a prolific blogger who would author 1,600 blog posts (an average of just over 250 a year!).  I also had not given any real consideration to what my life might look like if I were not employed by a church. Happening Now After serving Mainline Protestant congregations for fifteen years in a variety of capacities, I am Read More …

Identity: Who Are We? Who Am I?

I am a planner.  The tendency to plan my work and work my plan is a part of my identity.  As a pastor, I planned worship themes well in advance.  Since I left my last call before the end of the liturgical year, I never fully developed what would have become the last two sermon series before Advent. Identity Identity was a big part of my work as an interim or transitional pastor.  In my last call, prior to the start of what would have become back-to-back series on identity that community of Read More …

Church Shopping: Not Happening Today

Almost a month ago I preached my last sermon as a Transitional Pastor before relocating across the country to start a new job in healthcare.  This change led my wife and I to begin our search for a church near our new home. The first Sunday we did not attend church as I was busy moving.  The next Sunday my wife and I visited a nearby Lutheran congregation (ELCA). The third Sunday we visited a local Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregation.  Today we will not be in church since I am traveling for Read More …

October Book Recommendations

After years of writing hundreds of book reviews, I shifted to monthly book recommendation lists some time ago when my life responsibilities made the work of full length book reviews difficult.  In response to a more recent life shift, I present this month's list as the final edition in this format. (5+) Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass (HarperOne, 2015) (5.0) Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: A Memoir of Humor and Healing by Reba Riley (Howard Read More …

Churches Should Be More Like _____

Catherine A. Caimano's latest post suggests the church should be more like a gym.  As a clergyperson who serves as a denominational executive for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, she regularly participates in the worship life of a number of congregations.  Based on the dissonance between her observations of how Sunday morning worship focused most local congregations are and her understanding of what a local community of faith should be, she suggests a shift is needed. Like a Read More …

The Shrinking Dreams: America & Church

In her recent article in The Atlantic, Marianne Cooper considered data from a number of recent surveys before concluding that "people are downsizing their definition of the American dream." More specifically, she notes that "the desire to own a home or to move up economically is often replaced by a desire to be debt free and to have financial stability." What Next? Cooper rightly suggests that this general shift in perspective is likely to have many long term negative consequences as Read More …

Most Popular Sermons of 2015

I preached around forty sermons this year at Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ (Fort Myers, FL).  According to YouTube views, the most popular messages are That's the Book for Me – watch / read - a 16 min. message on the Bible (warning: this is the first and only sermon I have ever preached that includes singing) Titleless – watch / read – a 13 min. message on humility Surprising Salaries – watch / read – a 12 min. message on generosity Personal Transformation + – watch Read More …

In Search of a Church

Transition is the word that best describes my year so far. In March my wife, Susan, relocated from Naples, Florida to Denton, Texas for her dream job.  This summer we sold our three homes in Florida and bought one in Texas (where we plan to live after extensive renovations are completed) .  Last week I relocated to Texas to join Susan and to begin my new role overseeing employee education for a healthcare company. We are officially in search of a church (along with good restaurants, Read More …

No Sermon Sunday #1

I did not preach today, and I will not be preaching again anytime soon. Last Sunday I preached my final sermon as Transitional Pastor of Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ (Fort Myers, FL).   During my nine months there and for ten months while serving as Interim Senior Pastor of United Church (Marco Island, FL), it was my habit to post my sermon here each Sunday.  Those posts contained the Scripture reading, a sermon excerpt (along with a link to the manuscript and video), Read More …

So Many Life Changes

Whether or not you have ever heard of the Social Readjustment Rating Scale also known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, you are likely familiar with the idea that people who experience many significant life changes in a relatively short period of time are at an increased risk for illness.  This scale is a well known and frequently utilized way to self-assess the amount of change a person has experienced.  Each life change has a numeric score associated with it, and the total of all scores Read More …