What ought to be the relationship between the church and the academy? Does professional theology matter for congregational life, and vice versa? What do preachers and professors have to say to each other?
Boston is dark in January. Very dark. At 5:30 p.m. light has
completely abandoned the city. Sure, there is a kind of fake fluorescent light,
a pale bluey glow, a TV light. But there is no authentic light, only illusion
of it. And illusions only make the matter worse.
My college motto is vox clamantis in deserto, the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. It suits a college whose fame includes being the setting for the movie Animal House. Cry out in playful poetry. Cry out in inebriated bombast. Cry out amid the lone pines of New Hampshire.
For the first five years of my ministry, I served a small church
bereft of young children. Christmas presented the perfect opportunity to delve
into the mystery of the incarnation; our Christmas Eve services dripped with
candle wax and Christology.
In my new call as an associate pastor at a large suburban
congregation, I'm responsible for the Christmas Eve pageant.
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).