When I sit in church on Sunday mornings, I sometimes look
around at the other congregants and ask myself, "Why are these people here? Why
did they choose to come to church?" Some people prefer staying at home to
leisurely read the Sunday paper, or go out for a relaxed Sunday brunch. Why
have these people given up their precious spare time to be here?
This book is a series of icons painted by Catholic priest William Hart McNichols, accompanied by prayers written by acclaimed translator and self-described "Jewish Sufi Buddhist who loves Christ" Mirabai Starr. Their collaboration deserves lingering attention, even by Protestants dubious about appearances of Mary.
On my neglected Facebook page sits an even more neglected
"Like" button. Although I read what others post and occasionally add a comment,
I grumpily avoid this particular feature. Technology based on personal
preferences-a rapidly expanding group that includes Hunch, Pandora, various
Google products and others-is a source of anxiety for me.
is concerned with encouraging a struggling congregation to stand firm, endure
and persevere. Wendell Berry refers to the "art
of the commonplace," a phrase that for pastors brings to mind the art,
craft and skills by which we cultivate the common everyday life our people are
called to live and share--and which will enable them to stand firm. It is about
the mundane and about community.
In Paul's second letter to the church in Thessolonica he warns the
Christians there about hanging out with followers of Jesus who are
living in idleness, and since laziness is one of my key struggles in
life, it hit me right between the eyes this cold fall Monday morning.
In a survey conducted by Charity Navigator, five metro areas were judged to have the best climate for charities: Houston, St. Louis, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Dallas, and San Diego (a tie). Their research shows that performance on financial, accountability, and transparency matters is influenced by the metropolitan context. CEO compensation, which has a bearing on the operating expenses of a charitable organization, is much lower in a city like Orlando than it is in Washington, D.C. (charitynavigator.org, September 6).