Top 5 Posts of 2016

I appreciate each and every one of my readers. Your activity on my blog indicates that the most read So What Faith posts of the year are (according to the number of page views during this calendar year among all posts made during 2016) are My Transition from Professor to Student Search for a Church: 9 Months and Counting Top 10 Books of 2016 Search for a Church: The Final Four In Politics and Beyond, #LoveUltimatelyWins Previous Lists Check out my top posts of the year for Read More …

Pray with Your Feet & Heal with Your Hands

Since the election, I have read more strongly worded articles and heard more passionately preached sermons than in any other two week period I can recall.  Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke Chapel and an associate professor of the practice of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, preached a sermon that is now available online in written form that falls into both categories yet also moves beyond them. Powery's "There's Work to Do; or, An Open Letter to My Children" is a call to action that is Read More …

Following the Teachings of Jesus

For the last few decades I have been learning about and seeking to follow the example of the Way of Jesus.  Occasionally I encounter words that are so real, so relevant, and so riveting that they capture my attention and help me refocus. The following words, taken from the second article of First Congregational (UCC) Church of Santa Barbara's Statement of Faith, have played that role in my life in recent days: We strive to follow the teachings of Jesus by practicing love and forgiveness, Read More …

Top Posts of 2014

According to the number of page visits during this calendar year, the most popular posts I wrote in 2014 are Sensory Maundy Thursday Which Disciple Are You? Pastoral Prayer: Love How Worship is Evolving Sermon: More Than Showing Up So What? As the year winds down I always enjoy reading a variety of top ten lists and other lists sharing top moments, experiences, and posts of the year. Share a link to the most interesting Top 10 or top list of 2014 you have read so Read More …

Learning from Diana Butler Bass

After two years of planning, the big weekend finally arrived.   Naples United Church of Christ welcomed Diana Butler Bass for our annual weekend lecture series.  This year's theme was chosen to compliment Valentine's Day weekend: "The Romance of Faith." At the kick-off lecture on Friday night, Diana spoke on "The God Who Woos."  She reminded us that our faith is supposed to be a romance, suggested that we consider our teaching of sexuality not as stop signs (what not to do) but as cairns Read More …

Pastoral Prayer: Love

I wrote this pastoral prayer for today's worship services at the Naples United Church of Christ.  This unique service is the conclusion of a three day weekend event, "The Romance of Faith," which featured Diana Butler Bass.  For this service, her sermon title is "The Journey of Love," and text is Song of Songs 8:6-7. In the tradition of this congregation the pastoral prayer includes a call to prayer, silent prayer, and then the pastoral prayer.  The call to prayer connects all present with 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 …

Sermon: That Changes Everything

Sermon Text: Matthew 1:18-25 Sermon Excerpt . . . Immediately, Joseph flip-flops.  He goes from being certain he must divorce Mary to knowing he must marry her. God has shown him a better way.  Rather than seeking to live by the letter of the law, he chooses to be guided by the greatest commandment: love. Guided by the strength of this love, he recommits himself to his relationship with Mary. He continues with the engagement.  Joseph marries Mary.  He abstains from sexual relations Read More …

Inviting People to Church

One of the most common reasons people visit a church is invitation.  Church members and others actively involved in a given community of faith are those most likely to issue such invitations. Angela Jamene recently shared an apology to those who are on the receiving end of such invitations along with her understanding of what typically motivates the ask: On behalf of Christians everywhere, I would like you to know that we really, just whole-heartedly, love you.  And, we want to share this Read More …

My new eBook: The Jesus Priorites

The Jesus Priorities is a collection of eight sermons I preached during the months of October and November 2013.  Each sermon is based on one of the eight priorities of Jesus identified by Christopher D. Maricle in The Jesus Priorities: Eight Essential Habits (2007). The priorities are heal, love, pray, spread the Word, store up treasure in heaven, seek God’s will, value children as precious, and live with humility. As you begin your Advent journey, I encourage you to reconsider your Read More …