Most of us who work in a church can see parallels between bookstores and church. We had small, physical spaces in which we met and built community. We watched as big-box churches moved in, allowing for many more options, but individuals became much more anonymous in the process. Now, we know there are a growing number of people who are leaving church, but the search for God is still happening digitally.
They constructed the rainbow-colored crosses on holy ground. That very soil bore witness to the fact that love could overcome discrimination. It was the same plot where the Rev. Leroy and Gloria Griffith were married over forty years ago.
About three times a week, pastors ask me 1) how to get on the speaking circuit or 2) how to get published. The questions go together, because the answer to how to get on the speaking circuit is usually to get published. Sometimes they are just starting out in the ministry, and other times they are retired. Either way, my answer is the same, no matter what stage of life you’re in: Writers write.
Our faith communities are often the only places in our society where we learn to think intergenerationally. We have a chance to care for one another from cradle to grave. In the challenging times ahead of us, I hope that our churches can continue to be places where we understand the unique positions of the young, old, and everyone in between.
I was in the midst of that crisis of middle life. The one that made my eyes roll when I read of white women who felt they had no meaning. It always sounded like they inhabited a fog of luxury-malaise. They had to create drama because they didn’t have enough challenge in their day. So they began dieting, exercising, shopping, and sleeping with friends.
We cause particular damage to teens when we use fear as a motivation or manipulation. The part of the brain that produces fear and anxiety develops far quicker than other parts. So, teens are often walking around like fear factories, but they don’t having access to the usual reasoning that quells fear.
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.
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.
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.