Churches Should Stop Saying ______

A few days ago a colleague shared an article with me titled "Ten Things Churches Should Stop Saying." Written by Paul Miller - Support Minister for Waterloo Presbytery of the United Church of Canada - the piece lists 10 problematic statements that are frequently used in church life followed by a positive response to each. Overcoming this often pervasive form of negativity is key to building a healthy congregational culture.  Toward that end, I share two items from Miller's list before Read More …

The Hardest Part of Being a Christian

Being a student is often a way of life. At times, it can be hard work.  Some courses are especially challenging. A few days ago I asked my Facebook friends to share the most challenging and/or difficult course they had ever taken.   In less than 24 hours, 60 people had named a course.  The most popular challenging courses were those in science, mathematics, and languages. Science - 12 responses (top course: chemistry) Mathematics - 18 responses (top course: statistics) Languages - 11 Read More …

Be Who You Are

Who are you? Sibling Parent Spouse Neighbor Friend How do you introduce yourself to others when you have only a brief time to do so? Do you begin with one or more of the above or jump right to sharing your name and your primary professional role? Human Being Today, many people spend so much of their time working in a role that they forget they are separate from that role and also more than that role.  Christian filmmaker Phil Cooke recently warned his readers not to find Read More …

I’m Back: My Return to Ministry

Today, I am pleased to announce my return to ministry.  In just a few weeks I will begin serving as Director of Social Enterprise at the Wesley Mission Center (WMC) in Mansfield, Texas. In sharing the news with those closest to me, I am answering the same important questions over and over again. What exactly will you be doing? When did you become a Methodist? What about your love of education? Director of Social Enterprise Social enterprise is a term that has increased in Read More …

Book Recommendations – July 2017

After sharing book recommendations rather irregularly for some time, I offered 10 recommendations last month and now offer another 10 this month. The following ten books have all been published in 2017. I have rated them on a 1-5 scale allowing for the top of the scale to be extended to a 5+ for the best of the best. (5+) The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class by Elizabeth Currid-Halke (Princeton University Press, 2017) (5.0) Why I  Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations Read More …

The Latest Step in My Social Evolution

I was born in Texas and have spent most of my life as a resident of this great state.  Over the years I have heard the following expression used and seen it on bumperstickers and tee-shirts many times: I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could. Getting Social I was not born in the age of the internet.  I was taught that a social was an occasion for people to be together in the same physical space.  While I was not among the first to create a robust online presence or to Read More …

Top 5 Posts of 2017 (at Mid-Year)

Somehow the first half of 2017 is now behind us. As we enter the second half of the year, I thought it would be interesting to see what posts my readers viewed most often. Among posts published in 2017, the top five (by view count) are Christian Alternative Facts Our Search for a Church is Over! The Immigrants Creed Review: Days of Awe and Wonder Search for a Church: Attending New Member Classes Interestingly, many older posts continue to be viewed quite frequently.  So far in Read More …

My Milestone Birthday Experience

Age is just a number Another year old, another year wiser You don't look your age Celebrating a Milestone Birthday The three expressions above were all shared with me earlier this month on the occasion of me letting the world know I was celebrating a milestone birthday.  Upon hearing the final remark I wondered if the person imagined I looked much older or much younger than my age (if she was even aware of the age I had achieved). According to popular wisdom I have not yet reached Read More …

Politically Partisan Pastors

Over the last week I have seen one red, gray and blue graphic more than any other.  It seeks to tell the complex story of pastoral political affiliation in the United States in a single image. The widely shared graphic comes from Kevin Quealy's June 12 New York Times article "Your Rabbi? Probably a Democrat. Your Baptist Pastor? Probably a Republican. Your Priest? Who Knows."  Quealy's article reports on the most ambitious research of its kind, which was undertaken by Eitan D. Hersh and Read More …

Book Recommendations – June 2017

As we move toward mid-June many people are creating or actively revising their summer reading lists.  Wherever you may be in your planning (even if your plan is not to plan at all), I encourage you to consider picking up some of my recent reads. The following ten books have all been published in 2017. I have rated them on a 1-5 scale allowing for the top of the scale to be extended to a 5+ for the best of the best. (5+) The Witness of Religion in an Age of Fear by Michael Kinnamon Read More …