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 …

Church Commutes

The Baylor Religion Surveys provide some of the best recent data on American religion. The surveys consist of five waves: 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2017.  Data from the latest wave was released last week, including the full 65 page report. The 2017 wave focuses on the religious, political, and ideological values of Trump voters mental health and religion in American today the intersection of technology and religion the geography of religion. Commuting As someone who spends a Read More …

Book Recommendations – September 2017

There are so many great new books, and all of us have only limited time for reading.  This summer I have shared a monthly list of the top ten books I have read: June July August The final post in the summer series follows.  All books mentioned were published in 2017, and are rated on a 1-5 scale allowing for the top of the scale to be extended to a 5+ for the best of the best. (5.0) Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson (Macmillan, 2017) (4.5) Of Read More …

Starting My Last Semester as a Student

Exactly a year ago I wrote a blog post titled "My Transition from Professor to Student" to tell the world I was returning to the classroom as a student in order to earn another degree.  Tomorrow I start the fourth and what I plan to be my final semester as a MBA student at Texas Woman's University. Original Plan When I started this program I was working for a for profit company for the first (and, so far, the only) time in my life.  The MBA was an easy choice for professional development Read More …

An Update on My 2017 Religious Resolutions

In November of 2016, I established 5 religious goals for the 2017 church year (Advent 2016 until the arrival of Advent 2017).  Four months later I shared my progress.  With Advent now just 14 weeks away, I offer a final check-in. Original Goals During this church year I resolve to Join (and be actively involved in) a local community of faith Labor to make real on earth God’s realm of justice and peace Write about matters of faith that matter (primarily here on this Read More …

Book Recommendations – August 2017

After sharing book recommendations rather irregularly for some time, I offered 10 recommendations in June, 10 in July, and now offer another 10 this month. The following ten books have all been published in 2017. They are rated on a 1-5 scale.  The rare exceptional book warrants a 5+. (5+) The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty by Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider (Princeton University Press, 2017) (5.0) Why God?: Explaining Religious Read More …

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 …