Christians Should be Saying

Christian Piatt is the author of multiple books, including Banned Questions About Jesus and Banned Questions About the Bible.  Recently, he shared a list of ten things he feels Christians should say more often.  His list includes: How can I help? I don't know. I could be wrong. So What? Our vocabulary is of great importance.  As people who follow the way of Jesus, we should be agents of love who seek to help others and all of creation while admitting the limits of our knowledge, Read More …

Dignity, Respect, Gentleness & Love

Bill Tammeus, a Kansas City area author and religious blogger, recently offered practical wisdom that is worth reading often and living daily: All the great religions teach that we should treat people with dignity, respect, gentleness, love. And with good reason. All of us are fragile. All of us in one way or another are trying to handle the various -- and sometimes vicious -- curveballs life has heaved at us. So What? The way of Jesus is love.  As a follower of Jesus, what does it mean Read More …

Future Church – More About Deeds

Church v.2020 - Ten Changes: #1  More About Deeds – Less About Creeds When compared with the American church of 2012, the future church (v.2020) will be more about deeds and less about creeds. "Religious" experiences will be valued over "religious" information, especially among younger generations and those of all ages who self-identify as postmodern. Orthopraxy (correct actions) will precede (more about beginning by belonging rather than believing was explored in the #5 change for the Read More …

We Belong

"We belong" is a two word summary of the sermon I heard the Rev. Dr. Ronald Patterson preach yesterday.  That idea was so powerful that I chose to forgo the normal format for the sermon discussion group I have been facilitating the last several weeks. Patterson mentioned the first question in the Heidelberg Catechism (1563): What is your only comfort in life and in death?  He also shared and built upon the answer.  Our group, at my request, looked at the same issue through child-like eyes Read More …

Halloween at the Hell House

Brian Kirk's recent article, "Christian Haunted Houses: Scaring the 'Hell' Out of Teens?," caught my attention for several reasons, including: fear based evangelism targeting teens remains a tactic used by fundamentalist Christians hell houses or evangelistic productions staged to "convert" teens and "save" them from hell are an extreme form deployed each year at Halloween I have been to the Hell House at Trinity Church (Assemblies of God) in Cedar Hill, TX (the "original" upon which so Read More …

Top 10 Characteristics of a Healthy Youth Ministry

Kenda Creasy Dean, an ordained United Methodist pastor and Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, recently blogged about the characteristics of a healthy youth ministry.  Her Top 10 list: Jesus Lots and lots of parents who are growing in, and living out, their love of God and neighbor (and who are aware that this matters to their kids) A senior pastor who is crazy about young people A supportive congregation where people actively seek God and that Read More …

What Kind of Disciple?

Scot McKnight, renowned New Testament scholar and professor of religious studies at Northpark University, wrote an article entitled "Full Disciple" in the February-March 2011 edition of Neue Magazine exploring the discipleship ministry of local congregations.  McKnight asks his readers, "What kind of disciple is your church producing (p.56)?,"  before suggesting that churches would benefit from aligning their vision with that of Jesus: For Jesus a disciple is someone marked by kingdom holiness Read More …

Viral Misattribution

On Sunday night, an unusual name appeared on my Twitter stream: Osama bin Laden.  Through a number of tweets I learned that the United States military had killed this terrorist and of President Obama's televised address. On Monday morning I found myself paying less attention to social media than I normally do after experiencing several friends who were using uncharacteristically strong language of patriotism and of faith. Later that day, I noticed that a number of friends had posted the same Read More …

Questions Worth Answering

Established in 1999, the Spirituality Book Club is "an on-line global community of kindred spirits who explore spirituality through books, music, discussion, and ways to get involved in doing good things globally."  Yesterday, I was featured on their Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality blog.  A copy of my interview follows: Name: Greg Smith Where you live: Naples, FL What you do as a vocation or avocation? Research, speak and write about education, especially relating to technology and Read More …

Prayer of Dedication for Sunday, February 20

Prayer of Dedication Loving Divine, you invite us to partner with you in the work of enacting the realm of God on earth.  Accept and bless our tithes and offerings; use them and use us to challenge the status quo here in southwest Florida and throughout your global neighborhood.  Stretching toward wholeness may the way of loneliness meet community the way of hatred be overcome by love the way of poverty encounter the possibility of enough. This we ask in your many names. Read More …