Two weeks ago, I was in my office getting ready for worship when a church member stopped by with a cherry tomato. A small, single tomato, which he handed to me. Then he pointed out my window toward the front yard of the church. “We’ve got a couple of tomato plants growing out there,” he said.
My wife and I are flying out today, over Boston, the city where marriage equality got its start. We are flying out over Old South Church, the place where we were married. We are flying into California, a place where yesterday morning our marriage wasn’t legal. And we are flying to General Synod, the biannual meeting of the United Church of Christ, the church that recognized our marriage before the federal government ever did.
In Vacation Bible School you don’t simply tell Bible stories, you inhabit them. This is the greatest share of the work, creating visual spaces where children can experience a Bible story. This year I made a throne in the sanctuary to help the children visualize the day courageous Esther appeared before the King in an attempt to save her people. (The foam swords added a special touch!)
In the ancient city of Laodicea in western Turkey, site of the church reprimanded in the book of Revelation for being “neither cold nor hot,” our guide led us across the old agora to a pile of broken columns. One had a fascinating marking. A menorah had been scratched onto the stone, and next to it was inscribed a cross. What did this mean?
Based on my own entirely unscientific observations, it seems that there is a burgeoning market for “recovering pastor who saw the godless light” stories these days. The genre is familiar enough by now, right?
One key challenge for churches in the North Dakota oil boom is how to respond to the needs of many new residents. Jay Reinke, pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, runs a program out of his church called the Overnighters