Water is Life

I grew up taking water for granted.  Wherever my little feet took me, water flowed freely whenever I turned on a faucet. It was always there when I was thirsty.   It was a given for bathing and toileting.  It filled pools and lakes and oceans providing endless options for summer fun. Water was everywhere. Water was always there. Water is More and Less Of course, water was, is and always will be far more and far less than my childhood memories. It is more as it signals the arrival Read More …

Sermon: Living Wet

Sermon Text: Matthew 28:18-20 (The Inclusive Bible) Sermon Excerpt The great reformer Martin Luther was fond of saying “remember your baptism.”  With that in mind, I placed some words on the front of this morning’s worship bulletin designed to invite you to remember the details of your baptism as you prepared for worship. I admit that a few of you who saw the bulletin well beforehand told me that I was asking the impossible as they had no recall of their own baptism. So I will share my Read More …

Southern Baptist Decline

Southern Baptists, the largest Protestant tradition in the United States, are in decline.  They have lost nearly 1 million members over the last decade yielding a membership of just under 16 million. Conversion has always been an essential reason for growth in this Evangelical denomination.  Since peaking in 1999, the number of baptisms conducted each year has declined by 25%. So What? Emma Green, associate editor for The Atlantic and author of the article I linked to above, raises an Read More …

Southern Baptist Decline

2012 was another rough year for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).  More specifically, "according to the Annual Church Profile (ACP) compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources in cooperation with Baptist state conventions, most of the ACP metrics declined in 2012 including membership, average attendance, baptisms . . ."  Expressed as percentages, the declines are membership: 0.7%, average worship attendance: 3.1%, and baptisms: 5.5%. So What? While the SBC still has 6 million Read More …

Catholics to Recognize Protestant Baptisms

After working for the last six years on a means to provide mutual recognition of baptism with several Reformed Protestant denominations, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted in favor of the measure at their annual Fall General Assembly.  While similar agreements have been reached in other countries, this is the first of its kind in the United States. According to Religion News Service, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, chairman of the ecumenical and interfaith committee Read More …