Top 5 Posts of 2017 (at Mid-Year)

Somehow the first half of 2017 is now behind us. As we enter the second half of the year, I thought it would be interesting to see what posts my readers viewed most often. Among posts published in 2017, the top five (by view count) are Christian Alternative Facts Our Search for a Church is Over! The Immigrants Creed Review: Days of Awe and Wonder Search for a Church: Attending New Member Classes Interestingly, many older posts continue to be viewed quite frequently.  So far in Read More …

Mid-Year Update – Popular Posts

According to Google analytics statistics for So What Faith (based on view counts from January 1 to present) Most popular blog posts published in 2016 Search for a Church: 9 Months & Counting (May) Mainline Members – Political Leanings (February) My 2016 Search for a Church (January) Reflections on Average Worship Attendance (February) Top Religions by State (January) View from the Pew: 12 Sacred Spaces (June) Most popular posts so far in 2016 (regardless of date of Read More …

Prayers for Racial Justice

This Sunday, August 9, 2015, is the first anniversary of Mike Brown's death.  On this day the congregation I pastor (Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ) will join with hundreds and perhaps thousands of other congregations in the United Church of Christ by including prayers for racial justice as a part of services of worship.  This shared emphasis is the direct result of a group of faith leaders who have met regularly by conference call under the leadership of Geoffrey Black, the Read More …

Sermon: Concert of Prayer

Sermon Text: Matthew 6:5-13 Sermon Excerpt The Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father is a model for prayer.  While you can pray through it quickly as we do in worship, it is also a rich resource for a slower form of prayer. If you look at the chart I placed in your bulletin you will see that the prayer begins with an introduction and ends with a conclusion.  In between, in the body of the prayer, there are seven petitions.  The first three focus on God.  The final four focus on 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 …

Americans Pray For

Results of a new LifeWay survey suggest that Americans tend to focus their prayers on themselves and close family and friends rather than the well being of the world or people or causes that are beyond their immediate influence.  More specifically, when given the opportunity to select as many things from a list as they wished, participants indicated they prayed most for family or friends - 82%, own problems and difficulties - 74%, good things that have recently occurred - 54%, and own Read More …

Connecting Beyond the Local Church

Davida Foy Crabtree completes her service as the Interim Conference Minister for the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ later this month.  As one who has benefited from her leadership, I share her parting prayer (the prayer originally circulated in the e-Celebrate newsletter dated September 3, 2014): Behold, God, your Conference, the United Church of Christ in Florida! Filled with life and hope, struggling at times to see the future, but faithful and strong, these Your people are Read More …

Sermon: Competing Expectations

Sermon Text: Matthew 21:1-11 Sermon Excerpt Scholars rarely agree on much of anything, but when it comes to Palm Sunday there is a general consensus that this is the beginning of the final week of Jesus’ earthly life – at least inasmuch as life had always been understood. If we lived back in this era, I think our individual decisions about whether or not to attend the parade would have been focused on our understanding of Jesus’ ministry up until this moment. We cannot really imagine Read More …

Drive-Through Prayer

After last week's piece about a drive-in church, the idea of drive-through prayer doesn't seem strange at all.  Estero United Methodist Church, a church near where I live, is providing drive-through prayer every Wednesday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m through April.  Since they are located on a busy road, discipleship director John Halley considers it to be "one way to put ourselves out there and to give folks the opportunity to come by and receive the blessing of prayer." So Read More …

Sermon: Harder Than It Looks

Sermon Text: Matthew 4:1-11 Sermon Excerpt Change is a given.  It is also something most of us dislike – perhaps more than we are willing to admit. Who among us wanted the time to change last night? Why did we have to lose an hour of life, especially an hour of sleep? Why does something so small tend to become something we hold on to and complain about for days or even weeks? Who among us wanted church to shift from ordinary time to Lent? Why did we go from the liturgy we knew Read More …