Topical Tuesdays

Last Tuesday I facilitated the final session of an educational event I called "Topical Tuesdays." When I started my current transitional (interim) ministry I learned that the previous pastor conducted a mid-week Bible study using the Sunday lectionary texts from which he would develop his sermon.  Since I opted to preach more topically, I substituted a topical conversation for Bible study. This year's sermon series included: Fruitful Practices (inspired by Five Practices of Fruitful Read More …

Sermon: A Sin Problem?

Sermon Text: Mark 2:16-17 Sermon Excerpt A few years ago Stephen Prothero, a bestselling author and professor of religion at Boston University, wrote a fascinating book titled God is Not One. In this text he explores the eight world religions he thinks are currently the most important. For each religion he presents the problem that religion is trying to solve, the solution to that problem, and techniques that can be used to move toward the solution. Professor Prothero proposes that Read More …

Leaving Parish Ministry

For the last fifteen years I have served in a variety of parish based ministry positions in Mainline Protestant congregations ranging in size from a few hundred to a few thousand.  My job titles have included Director of Ministries with Children and Families Youth Director (and Youth Minister) Associate Pastor Interim Senior Pastor Transitional Pastor Director of Education (and Director of Adult Education). The job title I have held the greatest number of times is Director of Read More …

Sermon: Stating Our Faith

Sermon Text: Colossians 1:15-20 Sermon Excerpt As a resident of Southwest Florida for the last several years, I have been blessed to expand my horizons in many ways – including learning from many of you about what everyday life was like before I was born.  I understand many of you grew up in a time I call “BT” – Before Television.  In the world before every home had a television and every television had the ability to receive dozens of channels, there was radio. Perhaps you can remember Read More …

Twitter: My First 6 Years

I started my social media journey in 2009 by launching this blog, opening a Facebook account, and beginning to tweet.  At that time, I realized I was anything but an early adopter of Facebook (stats show around 300 million active users by the time I joined) or blogging (stats show around 125 million active bloggers started blogging before I did). I was, however, a part of Twitter before it really took off (stats show only about 15 million active accounts at the time I joined). First Three Read More …

Sermon: That’s the Book for Me

Sermon Text: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (The Message) Sermon Excerpt The B-I-B-L-E yes, that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God. What a song! I know many of you sung it years ago, but I don’t even know how to begin to respond. Huh?  What?  How?  Stand alone? Word of God? The Bible may be the best-selling book of all time, but it is certainly not a book in the traditional sense.  It is a collection of 66 “books.” It is a sacred text for those of us who seek to follow the Read More …

The Irrelevant Church

A week ago I wrote about The Obsolete Church.  In that post I suggested that while the little c church (local congregations or communities of faith) remains vital the big C Church (denominations and other institutional expressions) have become obsolete.  That post generated more feedback in a variety of forums than any piece I wrote all summer. Apparently "obsolete" is not as clear of a word as I thought it was.  As a result, I will try to build on what I said in that piece by adding a new Read More …

Sermon: Personal Transformation +

Sermon Text: Acts 16:25-34 Sermon Excerpt Are you saved? Maybe that is a question you have not heard in a long time.  Maybe it is one you have heard far too often. Are you saved? Earlier this week when a group gathered for a Topical Tuesday conversation about salvation we had more stories to tell than time allowed.  One participant remembered a time when as a young mother she had allowed a stranger into her home simply because she craved interaction and conversation with another Read More …

The Obsolete Church

Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, public intellectual, organizer, pastor, and theologian.  In a recent interview, his response to Sarah Van Gelder's question about the role he sees for the churches now included these challenging words: We have a romantic view of the church . . . I think a church has a role to play, but this idea of the Church, with a big C, I think is obsolete. So What? I encounter extreme views of the Church (capital C church of American Read More …

Embracing New Perspectives

My wife and I have been homeowners as long as we have been a couple with a small gap between the sale of one home and purchase of another years ago.  Normal for us has been owning one home, except for temporarily owning two while in the process of relocating.  When the housing bubble burst and our primary residence was so far underwater we could no longer see the surface, we chose to buy then to buy again in hopes that when the market started to rise again we could sell all three properties for Read More …