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.
In the early days of blogging, when it seemed like a mere handful of people were conversing on-line, I encountered Doug Hagler, Aric Clark, and Nick Larson (also known as Two Friars and a Fool). They were students at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and full of fiery passion. I loved reading their writings as they playfully and consistently challenged theology, culture, and the church.
I used to roll my eyes at the conference speaker divas who had a whole list of demands, until I needed to develop a few of my own guidelines. I don’t need green M&Ms or a plate of farm-fresh produce, but there are a few things I need. Whether you’re an organizer or a speaker, here’s a bottom-line checklist.
In a recent interview, someone asked me, “What did you write in Tribal Church that you regret? Is there anything that you would change?” The question reminded me of the fact that we’re always predicting and observing things that may not prove to be true a few years later. Here are three myths that I often hear about ministry that I question.
I recently spoke at a stewardship conference. I always learn a tremendous amount when I speak, and that conference in particular was full of insightful people who inspired me to think theologically and practically about stewardship.
I was sitting in a seminary classroom, taking part in an internship program, and the professor was waxing eloquently about calling. It was all good. She was quoting Frederick Buechner and Howard Thurman, and describing vocation as our deepest joy and what makes us come alive.
A member of the congregation I serve died this week. It was fitting. The shadows of death linger about us this week. Like Peter, warming his hands by the blazing fire, trying to hide and catch glimpses of what Jesus suffered, I stood at the edge of the Holy Week shadows, watching for this central drama of mortality to unfold.
Like it or not, Wikipedia is here and it will probably stay. Everybody from third grade history students to graduate level scholars use them. Even when Wiki pages cannot be cited, we still use them. We are forming history on that site.
We know about all of the shifts in communication and technology, but there are also huge changes when it comes to giving money. Younger generations often think much differently when it comes to finances and budgeting, and we should think differently as a church as well.
The main characters personify different attitudes toward life. Each of them exhibits the unique charm of their perspective, allowing it to grow so that it becomes a part of us. We nod in understanding, if not consent, even as their defects of character become startling.
It’s been a long time since Mr. Show with Bob and David has been on HBO, but there are a few sketches that come to mind even now. Especially when I read about the PC(USA) in the news. In particular, "The Fairsley Difference."
I grew up in the midst of the Prosperity Gospel movement, and it’s left its mark, I’m afraid. I believed that God would bless (meaning financially bless) those who served the Almighty. It wasn’t only service, but God’s favor also came with financial reward.
In the blog-o-sphere, pastors like to complain. Mainly, because this is a good space for it. Where else can church leaders vent? Also, it's good to strategize here. But I also love to remember just how good I've got it. I know some of these sound trite. I know they sound silly. But they are the things that make me really happy and fulfiled.