End of the White Majority

Public Schools

I have always been (and will always be) a non-Hispanic white person. I am well aware of the shifts in the American culture. Even so, I only recently learned that the next school year will be the first year when non-Hispanic white people will no longer be the majority in the public schools in the United States. So What? The chart at right offers a visual representation of what has happened as well as what is projected to happen according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Read More …

Vital Christianity

Gushee

David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life Mercer University, recently shared his vision of vital Christianity.  It is this sort of Christianity to which Gushee himself is drawn, and it is the type of Christianity he believes will be attractive in a post-Christian America. In short, vital Christianity as I see it is Christ-centered and wholly committed, passionate, loving and just, personally and socially Read More …

How Long is Long Enough?

time left

While one may rightly argue that worship should last a lifetime, corporate worship gatherings/services/experiences typically have specified start times along with relatively fixed end times.  In my experience the most common length has been 60 minutes. I have, however, been a part of a congregation that tended toward 65-75 minutes. Recently, I read an article about Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church's decision to begin offering a new 30-minute-or-less worship service. This new addition to their Read More …

July Book Recommendations

June books

The last few weeks have been a time of transition for me.  I have used the occasion to read the books in my "must read" stack, which had been growing for some time.  They follow in the order I have rated them (using a 1-5 scale). (5+) The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings by John Philip Newell (2014) (5) We Make the Road by Walking by Brian D. McLaren (2014) (5) Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now by Walter Brueggemann (2014) (4.5) Got Read More …

Sermon: The Next Chapter

Next Chapter

Ephesians 2:14-22 (The Message) Sermon Excerpt A few weeks ago, Susan and I participated in Hodges University’s annual commencement ceremony.  As professors, we know quite well how much the graduating class and their families look forward to that special occasion.  This year we listened to remarks from a member of the graduating class and from a faculty member. While those short addresses were interesting, the one speech this year’s graduates are most likely to remember is the Read More …

Summer Shifts

Shift

Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year.  It is also a time when many people temporarily shift their normal routine.  I will be making shifts in several areas for the summer, including: Blogging I have published one blog post a day for the last 10 months, and a total of 1,450 since launching this blog in 2009.  This will be my last daily post for the summer.  I will continue to post on occasion rather than taking a month off as I did last year (a much needed break Read More …

Sermon: Be A Quitter

i-quit

Sermon Text: I Corinthians 1:10-17 (The Message)   Sermon Excerpt Churchy Christians often say, “Wherever two or three are gathered in God’s name, God is present.” While they are likely right, practical Christians recognize that wherever two or three are gathered, many perspectives are present.  And somehow, more often than we care to admit, extended conversations that highlight our differences turn into arguments. Good Christian people have been known to argue about nearly Read More …

Pulpit Plagiarism

noplagiarism

Plagiarism is a word I hear far more often on the university campus than on the church campus.  It is, however, one that deserves attention in both arenas. Sarah Pulliam Bailey recently asked the question, "Is pulpit plagiarism on the rise?" in response to several recent incidents in which well-known pastors were caught plagiarizing content for sermons, radio broadcasts, newspaper articles, and/or books.  Some of the pastors attracting attention of their plagiarism include Mark Driscoll, Read More …

Friday Fun: Church Laws

peanuts

Most people welcome something fun or, better yet, funny as the end of a work week approaches.  Rather than deal with the touchy topic of Friday the 13th, I instead share a few of the strangest church laws found in our land. In Boston, it is against the law to eat peanuts while in church. In Omaha, it's illegal to sneeze or burp during a church service. In Texas, it is illegal to go to church in disguise. In Mississippi, private citizens may arrest anyone who disturbs a church Read More …

Challenging Classism

CindyRigby

Cynthia Rigby, Professor of Theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, recently proposed that churches develop "concrete ways of challenging classism and promoting economic justice." She recommends that they accomplish this by honestly reflecting on the ways they themselves are complicit in fostering classism, and repenting of their own classist ways and re-committing themselves to being communities that do not privilege those who are richer over those who are poorer. So Read More …