I am a great fan of New Year’s resolutions. As December turns into
January, I find myself taking them pretty seriously, pondering what one
or two resolutions I might make for the coming year. What is most
important to me is choosing something that I can make into a habit,
thereby improving my way of being in the world in some small way.
There’s a real danger in today’s culture, especially if you’re a
young person in some kind of creative industry - I even feel this as a
church leader - that in order to survive and become successful, you need
to end up becoming obsessed with promoting yourself.
The Bible gets four shots to tell Jesus’ birth — well, four gospel writers plus Paul and the other epistle writers, so at least four.
But the manger only appears in Luke. For many current-day Christians,
the Christmas story would be incomplete without the manger scene:
little baby Jesus wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.
I got into a car recently, with another female pastor and an
Evangelical man. I asked the guy about his church and he said, “I go to a
church where men’s leadership is very important. Men don’t go to church
any more. And so our church puts men in leadership so that it will
attract more men.”
My friend Tim Ghali
asked me to contribute some liturgy for an Advent service, and I chose
to use the O Antiphons as a base. The O Antiphons are the daily prayers
for services during the week proceeding Christmas Day.
little rural church I serve, along with two other retired clergy, has
two dozen members, if you carefully count everyone whether there or
not. No one is young. The church growth gang (now called church
transformation) calls it a declining and dying congregation. The thing
is, it's been there for over a hundred years and has never had more than
a couple dozen me