It’s kind of hard to worship. I used to get frustrated with the retired ministers who worshiped in the churches I served. They used to take me aside to mentor me, but often it just felt like criticism. They pointed out the weirdest things, like the song didn’t rhyme like it should or the elder serving communion had the wrong sort of look on her face. Now, I suppose I understand them a bit more, because it’s difficult to turn away that critical eye.
During this General Assembly, the PC(USA) made some historic moves. One of the main ones was that there was an authoritative interpretation passed so that pastors who serve in states where marriage equality is legal can preside over those ceremonies.
I paced back and forth in a frenetic circle at the foot of my bed. Holding my cell, I concentrated on each syllable coming from the headphones. I was interviewing my mom for a book, when I realized the pent-up energy in my dizzying march.
When we get the age breakdown of the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly, it’s nothing short of horrendous. 91 percent of the laity are 50 and older. 67 percent of the Clergy are 50 and older. A mere 23 percent of all commissioners are under 50. What can we do about it?
The cost of tuition has has gone up 1,200 percent in 30 years.The odd thing is that when a person takes full advantage of the educational system and earn a Ph.D., then the very same universities that have been trying to convince us that education is worth that much inflation, turns around and tells the Ph.D. that their hard work is worth about . . . 1-3K per class for an adjunct teaching position. So the value of education is being cut by the very same people who are trying to sell us an education.
The General assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) starts this week in Detroit, Michigan. I have a friend, Rev. MaryAnn McKibben Dana, who’s standing for Vice-Moderator, so I wanted to write a bit about Rev. Dr. John Wilkinson, who is standing for Moderator.
John Green was enrolled at University of Chicago Divinity School, preparing to become an Episcopal priest. He was doing his CPE, working as a chaplain when he conceived of The Fault in Our Stars. The book hit the top of the NYT bestseller list and Green didn’t go to Div School. Though, the book might be assigned reading in seminary now. At least Katherine Willis Pershey thinks it should be.
The thing about preaching and pastoral care is that we often recognize our own problems in everyone else. I suppose that’s why pastors are so often hypocrites—we’re always preaching about our own issues. Then we have to live with the words that we doled out.
It's hard to know what to do and what not to do on the Internet. These are new forms of communicating, so we're trying out different rules of engagement. Often our social behavior forms by what gets on people's nerves.
God Complex Radio is back in action. We have a lot of wonderful guests coming up, including Tony Kriz, Grace Ji-Sun Kim, and Jason Byassee. While our Producer, Rob Dyer, is busy mixing up those episodes, you can listen to my interview with Brian McLaren.
We're making up the rules of Internet engagement as different platforms evolve. So I figure it's always good to check in with some experts to find out how things are developing. Conventions usually come about when irritations arise, so I asked a few friends what vexes them.
I frequently encounter rudeness on the Internet. When I do, I want to say, “Didn't anyone teach you any manners?” And then I realize that the rules of engagement are all different on the Internet. In fact, we’re kind of making them up as we go along. So, I asked a few friends for advice.
I returned from UNCO (short for Unconference), an open-space incubator for churches. We wanted a place where creative ministries would be celebrated and supported, and it’s working. We have grown from two new ministries to over twenty. It’s a brain trust for starting progressive communities and sustaining traditional ones.
What is it called when we complete a sermon, art, poetry, song or writing, and there is a bit of our soul that takes form and shape? Wisdom takes on paint. Beauty becomes clothed in letters. Depths of emotion become suffused in photos. When something ephemeral inside of us takes on a concrete quality that can be shared. When our art lives on after we have departed. What is it called?
If you look around at most denominational meetings, you will see that Baby Boom retirements will have a massive impact on our denominations. Boomers make the majority of those in the pews, in the pulpits, and in power. The first wave of Boomers is in the midst of retiring, so what can we expect? How will this affect us?
I can’t say for sure, but let me look into my crystal ball and tell you what I see.
My father died about three years ago. As May comes around, the azaleas spring to life, and I remember my father's passing. Just as sure as the tulips and dogwood blossom, my mind wanders back to my dad. Even when I begin to open up to these strange and wonderful stories of Easter, struggling with the notions of recognition and revelation, I think about the last few months of my father's life.