In my last letter I wrote about how decisions made in a moment—such as the moment when we decided to say yes to your coming into our home—can shape the whole of life, committing us in ways we perhaps never had in mind. And then the task of life becomes living up to the commitments made in a moment.
It’s sunny and 70 at Chapel Hill. I’m speaking to Project Compassion, an advocacy group for end-of-life issues, on an unlikely trinity of oxymorons—the good death, good grief and the good funeral. “What,” most people reasonably ask, “can ever be good about death or grief or funerals?” The 150 people in this room understand.
What is a healthy congregation? For some clergy and laity, health is simply the absence of conflict. But we may be confusing a healthy congregation with a placid one. While conflict is seldom fun, its absence may be less an indication of health than of an insufficient sense of urgency or challenge about being the church.
Dear Derek: In my last letter I commented on how casually I said yes when Mom asked whether we should agree to have you come into our home as a foster child. A simple decision on a busy day, and it has shaped the rest of my life—and yours. This is worth our thinking about together.
What is a great church? For many Americans, great is synonymous with large, volume equals vitality, quantity means quality. But a countertradition is quietly emerging. As more churches grow to stadium proportions, small congregations are coming to see their diminutive size as an asset for mission.