The best controversies are those in which the headlines make you think one thing, but the full article pushes you another way. Eventually, you say, “I have no idea what to think on this one.” That happened to me last week when investigating Facebook’s social experiment on happiness.
I had one of those conversations last week that’s had me reflecting on our assumptions as clergy and churches, the way we do things, and what the future might look like.
A few weeks ago, a family visited the church I serve. We talked after the service and I learned that they hadn’t attended church regularly in a very long time but that all of their children had been baptized and they were hoping to reconnect. Instead of encouraging them to sign the guestbook as I usually do, I gave them my business card and urged them to contact me.
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.
Ministry is one of the only professions besides writing where a person has daily need for poetry. Poetry refreshes and renews language and adds insight to stories we’ve heard many times. It can be woven meaningfully into sermons, and it bolsters the human spirit.
But pastors often turn to the same poets over and over again, and time to explore new territory is limited.
Yesterday I posted about the Hobby Lobby decision, observing that it can’t be both a broad precedent that will protect liberals’ freedom of conscience along with conservatives’ and a narrow ruling that isn’t really a big deal.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court was clarifying that whatever the ruling ultimately means, it definitely isn’t quite as narrow as to apply to just the allegedly abortifacient contraceptives Hobby Lobby’s owners object to.
One recent morning I got up early and put on my suit and my clerical collar. Even though it was a hot and muggy day, I was dressed up to go out to our city's National Cemetery for a graveside service for one of our congregation's World War II veterans.
First I had stopped into the office. I had time for a couple of brief thoughts about Sunday's sermon. "Discipleship," I wrote down on the cover of a manilla folder. Not much to go on, but better than nothing.
Fireworks this Friday will celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence almost 250 years ago. The founders' assurance "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" was authorized by "the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God." But the meaning of that phrase has been the subject of heated debate for some time.