Interviews with Spiritual Heroes: New Monthly Series
Dec18

Interviews with Spiritual Heroes: New Monthly Series

“What makes a hero? Courage, strength, morality, withstanding adversity? Are these the traits that truly show and create a hero? Is the light truly the source of darkness or vice versa? Is the soul a source of hope or despair? Who are these so called heroes and where do they come from? Are their origins in obscurity or in plain sight?” –Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground As I have traversed the dusty trail of life, I...

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Voluntary Debtorship: A Call to White Christians in Response to Racial Injustice
Dec01

Voluntary Debtorship: A Call to White Christians in Response to Racial Injustice

One of the most vexing problems facing modern society in the United States is rising consumer debt – things like credit cards, auto loans, and student loans.  Recent studies indicate that while home mortgage debt has declined since 2007, consumer debt has reached a jaw-dropping, all-time high of 3.2 trillion dollars. In that sense, we of all people should really have a good idea what it means to be in debt.  When the billing statement...

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How to Respond Well to the Michael Brown Grand Jury Announcement
Nov24

How to Respond Well to the Michael Brown Grand Jury Announcement

Since Michael Brown was shot on August 9, his family, the Ferguson and greater St. Louis, Missouri communities, the nation, and the world over have watched events unfold with some mix of shock, sadness, and fear. The tension in the last few weeks here locally has been palpable, and concerned people on all sides of the issue have eagerly awaited a decision as to whether police officer Darren Wilson will be indicted. It appears the...

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Keeping My Lamp Full
Nov11

Keeping My Lamp Full

I am a pastor. Church is my job. If everyone stopped going to church, I would lose my job. Sometimes I get angry about the fact that my job performance is measured by whether or not other people show up. My higher-ups look at the numbers that represent a complex amalgam of other peoples’ fickle choices to decide whether I get to keep my job. For four years, I led a struggling contemporary worship service in a suburban church....

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I Go to Church Because I Belong to the Church
Nov04

I Go to Church Because I Belong to the Church

I go to church, religiously. That’s a pun, but it is true. I go to church almost every week, sometimes multiple times. When I was growing up, my mother was in the process of becoming an Episcopal priest. Not going to church wasn’t an option. We went. I kept going, and eventually found myself in the ordination process. Three years ago, I was ordained. It helps that I work for the church, as often I am paid to be present (but not...

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I Used to Love H.E.R.
Oct28

I Used to Love H.E.R.

“I met this girl when I was 10 years old and what I love most is that she had so much soul.  She was old school and I was just a shorty, never knew all my life she would be there for me” – Common Sense, I Used to Love H.E.R. In Common’s 1994 hip-hop classic I Used to Love H.E.R., the rapper laments over a long, lost love. The girl that stole his heart at 10 years old has moved on to other interests, but in spite of her unfaithfulness,...

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Risking Justice: Leaving Our Churches to Find the Church
Oct21

Risking Justice: Leaving Our Churches to Find the Church

Around this time last year, I decided I needed a break from my church. You’d have to sit down and buy me a couple of beers to get the whole story, but, suffice it to say, it was warranted. It felt like the right thing to do despite what many clergy and church leaders were telling me. I felt a growing and bitter heaviness inside of me. My concerns about the direction of my church were being ignored while the denomination was praising...

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Humanity, Belonging, and Response: 3 Purposes for the Church
Oct13

Humanity, Belonging, and Response: 3 Purposes for the Church

As pastor of a mainstream denominational church, my congregation has experienced a slow and steady decline for decades. Each year, the congregation gets older and smaller as more people choose brunch over Holy Communion and soccer matches over passing the peace. But more disturbing than the attendance decline is the increasingly homogeneous nature of our congregations. So, understanding the relevance of church has everything to do...

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No Longer Afraid to Be Religious: Recovering from ‘It’s All About a Relationship’
Oct01

No Longer Afraid to Be Religious: Recovering from ‘It’s All About a Relationship’

I am delighted to have the opportunity to write for UMC Lead, and to have my first contribution there be a piece that’s so close to my heart.  You can view it here.  Please be sure to follow the UMC Lead blog for high quality and challenging content. Leave Blank:Do Not Change:Your email:  Header Image Credit to...

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The Church is a Whore: Confessions of an Ecclesial Bastard Child
Sep30

The Church is a Whore: Confessions of an Ecclesial Bastard Child

“The church is a whore; but she is our mother.” This phrase is unofficially credited to St. Augustine but it is widely debated as to whether he would have said such a thing or not. Whatever the case may be, it has been a saying that has framed my internal theological dialogue for many years now. How much credit does the church get? Is the church even “the point?” If she (the church) is a “whore,”...

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