A father told about the tornado that hit his home in April. Racing to his son's room as it approached, he had just touched his son when suddenly the tornado ripped off the side of their house and pulled his eight-year-old son out into the night. The father and mother held on to their other children and cried out prayers to God.
My old office was above a soup kitchen, and its clients regularly came in to ask for money. Eventually I began interrupting each visitor's story by sliding a 20-dollar bill across my desk—a toll I paid so I could return to my work.
My church was celebrating a reaffirmation of baptism, and the pastor encouraged us to ask people who were present at our baptism to tell us about it. I called my mom and asked what she remembered. "I don't think you were baptized," she said. "Really?" I responded. "Could you check with Dad? It's kind of important." She did, and they decided that I hadn't been baptized. I was 37.
Among the thoughts that course through my brain when I'm supposed to be
focusing on my breathing are thoughts about worship. Being a newcomer to
yoga has prompted me to reflect on what it is like to be new to
one of our services.
The Long Goodbye is poet Meghan O'Rourke's account of her mother's colorectal cancer and the year of mourning that followed her death. I read the book the first time through as a companion—O'Rourke's experience is eerily like my own.
By one estimate 7,000 churches close down each year in the United States. A 2012 study predicted that 20 percent of the churches in Philadelphia would close within ten years. Many of these churches are architectural gems. Razing these buildings can be very expensive. A more satisfactory solution is to repurpose them, turning them into art and culture centers or housing units. The Mount Airy Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia is having 20 condominiums built on its property. The sanctuary will be leased back to the congregation for its continued use (Philadelphia Inquirer, August 4).