When Nadia and I got married, we really went all out on the worship planning. She spread out multiple worship books, adapting her favorite parts and writing collects and petitions from scratch. I recruited not one or two but ten friends to lead the music and then got to work writing original service music, reharmonizing hymns, and notating all of it to match in the bulletin.
I recently interviewed cultural anthropologist and New York Times columnist Tanya Luhrmann about prayer and religious experience. After the interview, I asked her for some recommendations of books on prayer that are not "how-tos." What are some books that can help me understand prayer more conceptually and experientially?
One Sunday at worship, a very small, wonderful thing happened. During the closing hymn (a rousing rendition of "How Firm a Foundation," by the way), we carried the cross and processed to the entry of the church, as always. The people turned to face the cross, as always (or at least as they have begun to do during this past year). We stood there, continuing to sing, as always.
And then, three little girls, about three or four years old, began to dance.
Jimmy Carter rode to the White House in 1976 on the twin currents of his reputation as a “New South” governor and a resurgence of progressive evangelicalism in the early 1970s. Progressive evangelicalism, which traces its lineage to 19th-century evangelicals and to the commands of Jesus to care for “the least of these,” represented a very different version of evangelical activism from that of the religious right.
Obamacare is the Obama administration's singular legislative achievement, a major win squeezed out of a tough fight with an opposition Congress. Years later, the fight continues. The president's political opponents disparage the health-insurance reform law; his allies defend it.
I told a story in church one Sunday. It was not just my story; it was a shared story from my family that had only been told quietly for a long time. Maybe it was a confession. After telling it I felt spent, as if something powerful had moved through me.
To be a storyteller is like having an electric current move through your body.