Most people who serve as church leaders realize what an important time it is in our religious landscape. Because of demographic, generational, technological and economic shifts, we realize that many churches are coming to the end of their seasons. In this important moment, we will need leaders who can experiment, create, test and plant.
Regular churchgoing does not make you a friend of death. But if you sit in the pews long enough, you cannot help getting acquainted.
Sue came into the church office in order to help with some paperwork and plans for Sunday morning worship. “What are we doing for Mother’s Day?” she asked. I paused. I had always benignly neglected Mother’s Day at our church. I thought of it as a Hallmark holiday, and not something that should fit on a liturgical calendar. I was taught in seminary that we should never mention it. Plus, there were personal reasons as well.
As we wander through this desert, where’s the milk and honey? What is God calling us to do, and who is God calling us to be?
We have the tendency to define adulthood, and even ourselves, by our employment and our ability to exist independently. But in our difficult economic situation, isn't it time to rely on our rich theology and redefine our notions of self?
If we got all these spiritual-not-religious people together, they might find out that most of America agrees with them. But getting them together would be way too much like church.
In the first issue of the magazine named the Christian Century, in January 1900, the editors said that their special interest was in “the application of Christian principles to character and social problems.” They also spoke of their hope to make the kingdom of God “a divine reality in human society.” This, of course, was what we know today as the “social gospel”—the attempt to move beyond individual piety to address broad social problems. What relevance does that social gospel vision have today?