Here are Carol Howard Merritt's most-read posts of the year.
Born Again Again
Carol Howard Merritt on reclaiming faith
All posts licensed under Creative Commons, some rights reserved by Carol Howard Merritt.
It is extraordinary to hear a song reverberating off stonewalls and then dissipate into thin air. The soaring beauty of ephemeral art! Sometimes I find myself holding my breath as the soloist hits a high note or that incredibly awkward person tells his testimony. Do we appreciate that moment? Because many of us are conductors of that symphony, curators of beauty and we don’t realize the importance of our position.
I, like many people of faith, am reeling from Jerry Falwell Jr.’s proclamations to his student body. Falwell encouraged the students of Liberty University (there are more than 100,000 of them) to arm themselves against Muslim terrorists. His rhetoric reminded me of a bumper sticker I see here in Tennessee: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”
Attendance is down at church. At most places, there is a lag at Sunday morning services, Sunday school, or mid-week programs. It’s not just your church. It’s most churches.
I’m not one who has any natural inclination to vulnerability, but the suggestions I read that clergy vulnerability should be exercised in the pulpit of all places really make me cringe. I’ve asked Carol Howard Merritt for her thoughts on vulnerability as an element of clergy self-care.
Sixteen years ago, I kept a journal of my first year in ministry. At the end, I remember pasting an illustration of a man who was white and naked, and was being pulled apart by different hands. It was almost as if he were on a medieval torture rack, except fingers stretched him. The drawing, I felt, perfectly illustrated my first year as a pastor.