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 …

8 Years of So What Faith

When I launched So What Faith back in 2009 I didn't really know what I was doing, but I had an adventurous spirit, adequate tech skills, and a desire to write about matters of faith that mattered.  The first year I managed to publish 59 posts, which I shared primarily with those in the congregation I was serving and a few former colleagues. Growth Once I got the hang of how to blog, I started to expand my horizons through more intentional use of a variety of social media and interactions Read More …

Religion & Self-Identity

Barna recently conducted research into what most influences the self-identity of Americans.  In order, the top three influences are family, country (being American), and religious faith. Religion Matters While religion still ranks ahead of ethnic group, career, state of residence, and city/town of residence, it is a distant third to family and country. While a majority of Americans claim that family and their country are central to their identity, fewer than two out of five Read More …

Angry Men with Fearful Minds

Philip Gulley, popular Christian author and pastor of the Fairfield Friends Meeting (near Indianapolis, IN), used his most recent "Back Home Again" essay in  Indianapolis Monthly to consider the prevalence of griping in our country - especially griping done by white men.  The words he uses to conclude his essay captured my attention and led me to return to his article on multiple occasions as I pondered just what this might mean for me:  . . . for reasons I do not fully understand but fully Read More …

A Unique Valentine’s Weekend

Back in the summer of 2012, I invited Diana Butler Bass to spend some time at Naples United Church of Christ in February 2014.  After eighteen months of planning by a great team, we are now ready for an unforgettable Valentine's Day and weekend. In the News Yesterday, the Collier Citizen ran an article by Mollie Page.  Page interviewed Butler Bass about our event.  Page writes: She’s a voice for theological sanity in an uncertain world. Religious historian Diana Butler Bass is coming to Read More …

Changing Careers, Changing Lives

Jeff Ansorge recently made a huge life transition without changing careers when he left his job as an executive chef at a posh downtown Minneapolis restaurant to accept a position as the chef for the Salvation Army Eastside Corps Community Center in St. Paul.  He exchanged a staff of 17 for a volunteer team of helpers and saw his salary decrease by 2/3. For Jeff, the change is a part of a wider spiritual awakening.  After a childhood during which he contemplated the Roman Catholic priesthood, Read More …

Prodigal PKs? (Pastor Kids)

David Kinnaman, president and majority owner of Barna Group, recently directed research on pastors' kids.  According to the results of that survey, many children of pastors experience significant doubt regarding their faith and/or have left the church entirely.  More specifically, pastors with children ages 15 or older indicated that the following accurately describes their child(ren): 7% - no longer a Christian, 33% - no longer actively involved in church, and 40% went through a period 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 …

Sermon: Faith in Naples

A few Sundays ago I had the privilege of preaching a sermon on faith at Naples United Church of Christ.  My text was Hebrews 11:1-3 and 8-16. Scripture The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living (Hebrews 8:1, The Message). Sermon Text I have a confession to make: I am a neat freak.  In my world, everything has a place, and everything lives in the place I have assigned to it.  While I Read More …

The Church’s Seven Deadly Secrets

Meet the Author Paul H. Jones is Professor of Religion at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY.  An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Jones has written two books: Christ's Eucharistic Presence: A History of the Doctrine (1994) and The Church's Seven Deadly Secrets (2013), and has co-authored two additional texts: The Structure of Religion: Judaism and Christianity (2005) and 500 Illustrations: Stories from Life for Preaching and Teaching (1998). Book Read More …