Humans can't flourish without institutions, flawed as they are. Holding them accountable, and increasing their capacity, enhances human life.
Monastic vows sound familiar to anyone who's been to a wedding. In both marriage and celibacy, we promise to be faithful.
The church is not an ark floating on the top of the waters. It lives and breathes within the waters.
To build stronger communities, we need to get in the habit of recognizing what undergirds our relationships. We can't afford to take it for granted.
Every pastor needs to address the issue of freedom and accountability. It's part of the pastor's role in nurturing a church community: neither a laissez-faire atmosphere nor a judicial one helps people grow as disciples.
As pastors, we spend a great deal of time sharing in the ongoing lives and adventures of our congregants and community members. We are also called, literally, to come to love and suffer with them when disappointments, disasters or deaths occur.
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.
Peter Lovenheim and Tom Montgomery Fate are both suburban dads on spiritual quests. In different ways, each of their books hits close to home.
Early Christian writers recognized music's emotional power. Just as often, however, they commended it for its powers of harmony--in both the musical and extramusical sense.
When Jim Douglass graduated from college, his father sent him a life insurance policy. Jim thanked his father but returned the policy. He could not accept the gift, he said, because he wanted to understand the truth of an “economics of providence” that he had read about in Matthew 6. Rather than pay premiums on a life insurance policy, Jim said he would store up treasure in heaven by sending a monthly payment to provide basic care for a little girl in France. I’m convinced that Jim is right.