Remembering Marcus Borg

Borg Dinner

I knew Marcus Borg primarily through his writings.  He is the only person to be featured on my top ten books of the year list four times (the following links are to the annual listings and to my specific book reviews when available) 2010 - Putting Away Childish Things, 2011 - Speaking Christian, 2012 - Evolution of the Word, and 2014 - Convictions. Patheos has created a page featuring remembrances of Marcus Borg by a long and diverse list of folks including Brian McLaren, Jenny Read More …

Sermon: A Community of Risk Takers

risk

Sermon Text: I Corinthians 12:1, 4-12, 25-27 (The Message) Sermon Excerpt: Thank you.  Thanks Jim, Barb, and David.  I appreciate not only that you said “yes” when presented an opportunity to speak, but also the many ways you have given generously of your time and talent. Together we are inviting you to join with us for the year ahead by committing to risk-taking mission and service.  This is one of the five practices of fruitful congregations.  The author of the book that has helped Read More …

Effective Leaders Ask for Feedback

feedback

Over the years I have encountered people in functional leadership roles who discouraged feedback, those who tolerated feedback, and others who welcomed and valued feedback to such a degree they were intentional about seeking it from a wide variety of constituents on a regular basis.  Unfortunately I have had both bosses and mentors suggest that while there is a role for feedback it should be limited as excessive requests suggest that one lacks vision and the drive needed to move oneself and Read More …

Sermon: Growing Together

JOF

Sermon Text: Acts 2:42 Sermon Excerpt Lifelong learning is as popular a phrase in Southwest Florida as anywhere in our country.  For the last few years I taught at a University that has an active Center for Lifelong Learning and I have been on staff at a large congregation that provides numerous general education events that fit within the framework of lifelong learning. This is all well and good, but is not enough for us as those who follow the Way of Jesus.  As disciples, we must be Read More …

Progressive Christianity in 2015

2015

Nearly half a month into 2015 the newness of a new year is fading.  Those who made New Year's resolutions are either beginning to let them go or firmly engaged in their pursuit in ways that are sustainable. Tom Ehrich proposed a list of three faith trends for 2015 topped by "memories are fading."  Ehrich believes Christianity in the present and future will benefit by fewer and fewer Christians having memories of the boom time in American Christianity back in the 1950s.  He has rightly Read More …

Sermon: Experiencing & Extending God’s Welcome

welcome

Text: Luke 14: 7-15 Sermon Excerpt What in the name of God is going on here? This is a question you will hear me ask many times in the weeks ahead.  I begin this morning as I did with the children – with welcome. I imagine many, perhaps even most of you have a welcome mat outside the front door of your home.  It is a sign to all who approach your residence that they will find welcome within. Newcomers to communities of faith are usually not looking down to read words on the door Read More …

Top 10 Faith Enriching Books

books

Since launching this blog in 2009, I have reviewed over 150 books and recommended nearly 100 more.  Starting in 2010, I have published annual lists of my top books published each year (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014). Each year, I have concluded alphabetical top ten lists with the two books that had the greatest impact on my own faith journey during that year.  Together these ten volumes create a list of my Top 10 Recently Published Faith Enriching Books: Diana Butler Read More …

Three Invitations

Invitation

Consider this your personal invitation to join me and many others for one of three events I am facilitating over the next four weeks: Sunday, January 11 at Fort Myers Congregational UCC (Fort Myers, FL).  Join us at 10:00 a.m. for worship on the occasion of my first Sunday to preach since assuming the role of Transitional Minister (more about this new role). Tuesday, January 13 at Naples United Church of Christ (Naples, FL).  Join us at 7:00 p.m. for Christian Piatt’s talk based on his Read More …

Striking Religious Findings from 2014

empty pews

Pew Research Center continues to be a leader in providing research and commentary on matters of faith that matter.  During 2014 they published  150+ reports and  600+ blog posts considering what is happening in the USA and the world.  At the close of the year they reviewed this massive body of work and created a list of 14 facts they "found particularly striking, as they illustrate some major shifts in our politics, society, habits or families."  The list includes two religious items: Over Read More …

End of Year Book Recommendations

Pray

While I already posted my December book recommendations and my Top 10 Books of 2014, neither list includes a few books that I read in the waning days of 2014.  The best from that group follow (rated on a scale of 1-5). (5) Pray: Prayers for People Who Say They Can't by Donna Schaper (2014) (4.5) All Whom God Has Joined: Resources for Clergy & Same-Gender Loving Couples by Leanne McCall Tigert and Maren Tirabassi (2010) (4) Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Read More …