I Want to Be with People Who . . .

I recently completed a 70 week long search for a community of faith.  During that journey I received more advice from others than anticipated, and spent time in more congregations than I had initially planned.  Throughout these experiences I was reminded of just how different communities of faith can be - even and sometimes especially those geographically near one another and/or  those sharing a denominational affiliation. I was also reminded of the importance of diversity within a Read More …

Sermon: Life-Giving Wind

Sermon Text: Acts 2:1-22 Sermon Excerpt Wherever the Life-Giving Wind blows, the church is about unity not uniformity . . . Journey with me into the story. . . Step back and ask yourself, “If I had all the power in the world and wanted to enable a huge crowd of people from different parts of the world to speak to one another, wouldn’t I just give them a common language?”  And, if I foreknew that the occasion was to go down in history as the birth of a religion, wouldn’t I choose a brand 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 …

Unity in Your Church

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared four ways you can advance the cause of unity within your local congregation/church/community of faith: preach on it, talk about Jesus' emphasis on it, model it, and get everyone on the same page -- literally (using a single resource for congregation wide study). So What? While I usually use this blog as a forum to promote Christian unity on a broader scale, it is of great significance that this begin Read More …

Reaching Young Adults

Naomi Schaefer Riley's recent Wall Street Journal article considers how churches in Charlotte, NC have worked together across denominational lines to create a growing ministry to a demographic most congregations struggle to reach: young adults.  Supported by 40 area congregations, Charlotte ONE  worship experiences regularly attract capacity crowds of around 600 people.  And, like most collaborative Christian endeavors many of the critics are leaders from non-participating area congregations who Read More …

Christians Share This

Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard, begins a chapter he contributed to The Seven World Religions Introduced by Preeminent Scholars from Each Tradition (1993, Arvind Sharma, ed.) by describing what "the proverbial visitor from Mars" would note if given the opportunity to travel to earth to observe Christians.  After covering the dizzying diversity of the religious gatherings and the shared oddities (e.g. "the people would sometimes swallow small quantities of bread or a Read More …

Progressive Theology – Shared Affirmations

Patheos recently launched a progressive Christian portal.  During the next two weeks, this new portal is hosting a symposium exploring what progressive Christianity is and why that matters today.  Bruce Epperly, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who serves as  Professor of Practical Theology and Director of Continuing Education at Lancaster Theological Seminary, contributed an article to this week's discussion on defining the landscape Read More …

Imagine an Institution

A short illustration, posted on April 20 by Jerry Bowyer on the forbes.com blog, was printed in the May 31, 2011 edition of the Christian Century: Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school.  Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no Read More …

Mission 1: Feeding the Hungry and Confronting Food-Related Injustice

The one million member United Church of Christ may be best known by its incredibly successful multi-year "God is still speaking" campaign. Perhaps you have heard the message: No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. We believe in extravagant welcome. (For more information read The Language of God and Uniquely UCC then watch some of the original television commercials.) The United Church of Christ originated as the result of mergers that ultimately Read More …

What is Progressive Christianity?

Progressive Christianity is a relatively new term that might not exist today without the work of ProgressiveChristainity.org.  In 1994 when the Rev. Jim Adams (shown at right), then the rector of St. Mark's Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., founded the organization as The Center for Progressive Christianity there "was no known organization, scholar, or church leader publicly using the term, 'progressive Christianity.'" Within eight years, the term was regularly used "by scholars, the Read More …