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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The Battle for Justice Continues: A Confessional
Sep30

The Battle for Justice Continues: A Confessional

In the process of trying to understand the shooting of Michael Brown and the Ferguson (and national) aftermath that’s followed, I recently composed this chart to help myself conceptualize the way people in general seemed to be responding.  After passing this chart to a number of friends and scholars who are either directly involved with community efforts here in St. Louis or somehow indirectly involved through academic discourse or...

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Book Review: Healing Troubled Hearts by Dr. William Day
Sep22

Book Review: Healing Troubled Hearts by Dr. William Day

Dr. William Day has an impressive set of credentials.  He is a licensed clinical social worker who holds a variety of advanced degrees – a Master of Theology from Marquette University, a Master of Social Work from San Diego State University, and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from The Union Institute and University.  Yet, his book, Healing Troubled Hearts Through Exchanges with the Master, seems at some level less informed by these...

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The Un-churching of Osheta Moore
Sep22

The Un-churching of Osheta Moore

For a moment this summer, I considered homeschooling my oldest child.  Some fears he had collided with some concerns for his safety and so night, after balmy New England night, I’d sit up late researching curriculum, pedagogy, and communities for our newbie homeschooling family. In the homeschooling community, there is an alternative concept called, un-schooling.  Un-schooling is much like homeschooling in that both happen at...

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