before Rob Bell's book Love Wins (see
by Peter Marty)
came out, conservative evangelicals lit up the blogosphere with their
insistence--against Bell--that God's condemnation of the wicked to hell is a nonnegotiable part of
I am not a particularly confident pastor and preacher. I
don't think I am neurotic about it, but I do harbor my own sense of doubt. It's
not that the doubt freezes me in place and keeps me from functioning. It's more
the kind of doubt that sits off in the corner somewhere, creeping up now and
then to poke at me, asking questions like, Does anything you do really make a
When mission organizations send out promotional
materials, they don't usually include missionary ruminations like Heather Hendrick's. She exposes her faith, doubt, frustration and hope with equal courage.
This week is the Second Sunday of Easter, aka "low Sunday." There
is in the life of a church a movement and momentum toward Easter Sunday, and
then inevitably a scattering, a rest after the intensity. And yet the gospel
lesson does wrestle with the implications of belief, unbelief and doubt.
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).