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.
I grew up long before the age of YouTube. My Sunday school rooms were in a church basement in western Nebraska. We didn't even have filmstrips! When I think back to the story of the first Pentecost, I remember an illustration on one of those Sunday school leaflets that we kids took home each week. The Pentecost leaflet showed men in robes standing in a room looking out of some windows.
Some congregations are increasingly relying on search firms to fill pastoral vacancies. Minister Search, the first such firm, began in 2001. It didn’t have a single client the first year, but now it does searches for 30 to 50 pastoral positions annually. Another firm began in 2010 and has completed 753 placements. Ministerial search firms are particularly popular with independent congregations, which lack a denominational structure for finding candidates. Firms typically charge a congregation about one-third the annual compensation of the hired minister (Chicago Tribune, September 4).
Photographer Toni Greaves first visited the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey, in 2008. She was accompanying a writer working on an article about how nuns were using the Internet to promote their communities. Greaves was so taken by the vibrant life she saw in the monastery that she visited the place repeatedly over the next seven years and documented one sister’s journey toward final vows. Greaves’s book of images, Radical Love, came out last month (New York Times, September 5).