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Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers

It’s been one year since I left my position as pastor of a lovely rural congregation to lead The Project F-M, a ministry that delightfully defies easy categorization but could not be called a church. It’s been one year since I’ve preached regularly, presided over the sacraments, led funeral services, visited shut-ins, taught Sunday school, been to the hospital or responded when someone said “Pastor.” One year. Pastor friends often ask me, “Do you miss it?” It’s a complicated response.
April 9, 2012
Over my 12+ years in ministry, lay and ordained, I’ve had a number of nurturing and supportive mentors and guides—spiritual directors, coaches and professors. Now I’m ready for someone to scare the bejesus out of me. Or scare the Jesus into me.
April 3, 2012
Solomon is approached with a serious dilemma. The equation doesn’t seem to add up. Two mothers. One baby. In what's declared as an act of wisdom, Solomon decides to cut the baby in half to correct the equation. When threatening to do so, the truth is discovered and the baby is returned to his mother. While moderating at a recent presbytery meeting, I had a new insight into this particular story.
March 26, 2012
A few days before Lent, I sat my son down for a serious conversation over crackers. “So buddy, Lent starts on Wednesday. Lent is a time when we get ready for Easter. And during Lent we don’t sing Alleluia. So we’re not going to sing Alleluia for a while.” His sea-blue eyes sparkled up at mine. His milk-smeared mouth turned up at the corners, and he cocked his head full of curls to one side. “Should we sing Alleluia?” he cooed.
March 22, 2012
Sometimes, when one church is struggling, another church helps out. One church I interviewed (for the From Death to Life project) was a new ethnic church development that was given a building, basically for free, from a church that died. But we all know you get what you pay for, and the building they got had  more than a few structural problems. They received some support for the pastor’s salary from their denomination, but the building was weighing them down with repair bills.
March 15, 2012
There must have been some Lutherans sitting in that conference room when the Revised Common Lectionary was birthed. That is the only explanation that I can come up with for Ephesians 2:1-10 having a role on the Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B.
March 13, 2012
I’ve been meaning for some time to come back to a topic that has been garnering attention, the news that some Bible translations aimed at predominantly Islamic contexts were not using the phrase “son of God,” ever since I circulated an online article mentioning the news and was met with expressions of concern because that particular piece posed the matter in an inflammatory manner. (See Eddie Arthur’s blog post and longer pdf for more information.) When it comes to this issue of translation, I think that replacing “son of God” with something else can be not only appropriate, but in keeping with the spirit of the history of biblical translation.
March 9, 2012
When Abby Kelley, a 19th-century abolitionist, expressed a desire to address the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society, this is how a local minister argued against her right to do so: No woman will speak or vote where I am moderator. It is enough for a woman to rule at home… she has no business to come into this meeting and by speaking and voting lord it over men. Where woman’s enticing eloquence is heard, men are incapable of right and efficient action. She beguiles and binds men by her smiles and her bland winning voice… I will not sit in a meeting where the sorcery of a woman’s tongue is thrown around my heart. I will not submit to PETTICOAT GOVERNMENT. No woman shall ever lord it over me. I am Major-Domo in my own house.
March 8, 2012
Christendom is built on a weekly gathering model. It’s not, of course, the only way. Monasteries meet daily, while the Old Testament festival pattern suggests three times a year. (Deuteronomy 16:15-16: “For seven days celebrate … Three times a year you must appear.”)
March 7, 2012