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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Why I Stay
Sep15

Why I Stay

I was an incredibly fortunate school-learner.  Traditional school structure, highly-formatted classroom learning — they worked well for me. I was the one those environments were built for — the reader, the achiever. I loved it and succeeded with ease. Every time I reached for the next rung on the ladder, it was immediately in my grasp. Obviously, it is not this way for everyone. Likewise, I’m a fortunate churchgoer. The...

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Myth, Identity, and the Healthy Church
Sep07

Myth, Identity, and the Healthy Church

Myth, Identity, and the Healthy Church Last Sunday was the first time I had been to church since May. Church hurts, and attending is like trying to date again after going through a painful divorce. Past churches hurt me, and it takes a lot of intentional steps to trust again; trust requires a vulnerability that I can’t always muster. Typical answers to “Why go to church?” like “Because it’s your...

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Confessions of a Young Pastor
Sep01

Confessions of a Young Pastor

Rarely do I get to offer thoughts about church to a broader audience. So here I, a young pastor, have compiled the things I wish I could tell more people about the church. A lot of this is based on conversations I’ve had repeatedly with people who struggle with the idea of going to church. I hope they’re conversations I get to keep having. Churches will always fail at being perfect I would venture to say that everyone has experienced...

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