Month: October 2009

All Saints, All the Time

As I prepare to preach on All Saints day, three things come to mind.  First, of course, I think of all those significant people who helped to shape my life and faith.  I think of my mother’s simple faith — she didn’t want to think too deeply about it, and […]

Puritanical Victorianimosity

It always amazes me when fairly modern interpretations of scripture are represented as “traditional” or “ancient.”  Most moralizing uses of scripture are as recent as the Victorian era (1837~1901), and many date back to the Puritan era (1550s~1660s) but almost none have anything to do with their original meaning.  Most of our Hebrew […]

When Teaching Became Task

I attended a session a few year’s ago at a Christian Educator’s Fellowship meeting where the leader talked about the importance of “good content, good topics, and good technique.”  She delivered a very compelling vision of the task of teaching — organized, exacting, and precise.  I went to another workshop […]

Ecumental Disorders

Some of the most fulfilling ministry I’ve been a part of in my thirty+ years has been either ecumenical or inter-faith.  Beginning in my own “dark ages” as program director for the religious council at Ball State University, those projects and missional programs drawing from a broad diversity of faith […]

Punishing Success

A series of recent events have conspired to make me get back in touch with some of the churches I interviewed and studied during my Vital Signs research.  Out of fifteen vital congregations, the good news is that eleven of them are still going as strong as ever.  The bad […]

Prayer Stupid

Growing up in the Midwest in the 1960s, we had a term for people too stupid to live — prayer stupid.  The not-all-too-sensitive meaning was that prayer was all that was left for these folks — they had no other options.  Their guardian angels were beaten, tattered, and torn — […]