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 …

Being American, Being Christian?

  Does Believing in God Make You a Better American? This question is the title of a recent article by Kelsey Dallas that addresses how many Americans feel about what the role of Christianity should be in shaping the American experience. While most readers can and will quickly answer the question, it is important to also be aware of how other Americans have answered it in recent years. 4 out of 10 think a culture grounded in Christianity is an extremely or very important piece Read More …

Identity: Who Are We? Who Am I?

I am a planner.  The tendency to plan my work and work my plan is a part of my identity.  As a pastor, I planned worship themes well in advance.  Since I left my last call before the end of the liturgical year, I never fully developed what would have become the last two sermon series before Advent. Identity Identity was a big part of my work as an interim or transitional pastor.  In my last call, prior to the start of what would have become back-to-back series on identity that community of Read More …

Am I a Christian?

Christianity is the world's largest religion. Nearly 1 in 3 people (31.5%) are Christian. In 2011 following extensive research, Pew released "Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population." They found: About half of all Christians worldwide are Catholic (50%), while more than a third are Protestant (37%). Orthodox communions comprise 12% of the world’s Christians. Other Christian groups, which make up the remaining 1%, include the Church of Jesus Read More …

Christian Belief in a Personal God

Tobin Grant recently wrote an insightful article calling attention to the fact that just because American Christians believe in God does not mean that they believe in is a personal God.  Using data from the 2007 Religious Landscape Survey Grant provides graphical representations of what percentage of American Christians in each of 43 religious traditions believe in God followed by another illustrating what percentage of these believe in a personal God. Focusing on belief in a personal God Read More …

What Do You Call Yourself?

Douglas Lobb, retired minister and former executive secretary of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, recently wrote about an increasingly challenging and vitally important term often used as a means of identifying oneself with the Way of Jesus: Christian (The Congregationalist, Dec. 2013, p.21-23).  Relating his own experience, Lobb writes: In the light of today's Christian world, I find that I have great difficulty calling myself a Christian; because what is Read More …

Sermon: I’m That Kind of Christian

Sermon Text: Matthew 5:13-16 Sermon Excerpt Over the last few years, I have heard one man preach more than any other.  Ron Patterson, Senior Minister of Naples United Church of Christ, has a saying that I have come to appreciate.  While he uses many variations, it usually sounds something like this: “You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.” Let me repeat that before we begin unpacking what it means . . . “You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.”  At its core, it suggests Read More …

WHCB: Denominations

Christian Piatt includes denominations on his list of five things that are holding Christianity back.  He suggests that with so many denominations the "distinction from others like them are so minute that even the members within a given denomination can’t tell you what makes them unique."  Additionally, he argues that "with the trend toward personal and local autonomy taking hold in many Christian communities, there is increasingly less of a reason to keep such hierarchic corporate structures on Read More …

Christian? Who Knew?

Who knows that you are a Christian? According to a LifeWay Research survey of Protestant churchgoers, most Christians believe most people who know them are aware that they follow the way of Jesus.  More specifically, in response to the statement "Many people who know me are not aware I am a Christian," respondents replied Disagree: 72%, Agree: 14%, and Neither: 14%. So What? I would be intrigued to know the results if 100 people who have some connection to me were asked to Read More …

Happy Christian Tweeters

While multiple research studies have sought to determine if Christians are happier than atheists, only one has considered this by relying solely on data from tweets.  The results of this new study conducted by a research team led by University of Illinois psychologist Ryan Ritter are published in the June edition of Social Psychological and Personality Science. Ritter and his colleagues focused on over 877,000 tweets written by over 7,500 individuals following one or more of five well known Read More …