What was Jesus thinking? He had such a great following before he spoke. He’d just fed 5,000 people, and they were ready to sign up to become disciples. This would’ve been the time to use his best preaching material—toss out a few Beatitudes, or tell a couple of stories about farmers or sheep. Jesus could have had the biggest church in town.
"I hope the shootings in Oak Creek will lead to interfaith education around the state," says Scott Anderson, director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. "There is a hunger for this kind of engagement."
The lectionary has focused our attention on bread for a very long time. One might think that five barley loaves transformed into a feast plus baskets full of leftovers would be news enough, but Jesus goes on to talk about the bread for another 36 verses. He would be a dream interview for today's 24-hour news shows, with their incessant need for commentary on the latest attention-grabbing headline.
My nephew is a walking question mark. What’s for dinner? When will my daddy get a job? Will Grampa live to be 100? He does not know it, but his questions sound a lot like the ones that pop up in my news feed: How safe is our food supply? What will happen to the economy? Can Medicare cope with the rising number of baby boomers entering the system?
What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (