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 …

Future Church – More Collaboration

Church v.2020 - Ten Changes: #10 More Collaboration – Less Competition When compared with the American church of 2012, the future church (v.2020) will feature significantly more collaboration and markedly less competition.  This will occur in many areas, including: An approach to marketing, church growth, and evangelism shaped by abundance rather than scarcity that encourages all people already on a spiritual or religious path to earnestly and faithfully pursue it.  Efforts to reach Read More …

Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World

The world in which we now live is multi-religious.  For the last five years, the World Council of Churches, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the World Evangelical Alliance have worked together to craft "Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct," which provides recommendations for "conduct on Christian witness around the world."   The document recommends the authoring bodies: study the issues set out in this document and where Read More …

The Unique Vocation of the United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ is currently in the midst of General Synod 28 (July 1-5) in Tampa, FL.  Yesterday afternoon, I joined other members of local churches from across Florida as guests at a special community wide afternoon worship service.  The Rev. Dr. Laurinda Hafner, Senior Pastor of Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, preached a prophetic sermon marked by hope, which included these words: A year ago Bishop John Shelby Spong, the former Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Read More …

Research Suggests that Evangelical Christians are UnChristian

"Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus" is the title of a recent Huffington Post article, which seeks to explain the findings of research conducted by the Pew Research Center.  The post was written by two professors: Phil Zuckerman (associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College) and Dan Cady (assistant professor of history at California State - Fresno).  They suggest the research confirms: what social scientists have known for a long time: White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to Read More …

Review of The Heartbeat of God

Katharine Jefferts Schori.  The Heartbeat of God: Finding the Sacred in the Middle of Everything.  Skylight Paths, 2011. ISBN: 9781594732928. Meet the Author The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori  is the twenty-sixth Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  In that role, she serves as the chief pastor to the Episcopal Church's 2.4 million members in 16 countries and 110 dioceses.  Jefferts Schori entered the priesthood when she was ordained in 1994 following a career as Read More …

The Church of 2010

The Barna Group just released a list of six megathemes that characterize the American church in 2010.  The list was created by "analyzing insights drawn from more than 5,000 non-proprietary interviews conducted over the past 11 months." The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for Read More …

Glenn Beck the Spiritual Leader?

Glenn Beck is best known as a conservative news commentator and host of The Glenn Beck Program.  In recent months, he has made comments and taken actions that lead many to believe he is seeking or has assumed a new role as a religious leader.  During his March 2 radio program he said: I beg you, look for the words "social justice" or "economic justice" on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising Read More …