Author Archives:
Elizabeth Drescher

Living Religion Beyond Belief

A few weeks ago I gave a talk at a local chapter of Sunday Assembly, a gathering started by British comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones that was briefly known as “the atheist church” and that, ironically, draws on the “seeker sensitive” church planting methods of conservative megachurch pastor Rick Warren. A few months into… Read More

Hope is a Thing with Muscles

Last weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” included a sketch in which Emma Stone played an exhausted, postpartum Virgin Mary who’s annoyed with Joseph for inviting visitor after visitor—shepherds, magi, a llama (not of the Dalai sort … )—into the stable where she’s just given birth to Jesus. The bit plays up Mary’s fatigue, her frustration with… Read More

Bearing Each Other Up

Reflections Upon the 2016 Election

EDITORS’ NOTE: Adam Copeland was our scheduled contributor for this week, but as we moved late into the night of the presidential election, it was clear that the outcome many of us had hoped for, and perhaps even expected, was not to happen. We began to wonder whether it might be too much to ask… Read More

Conversation Starter

Moving Into Year Three of Getting Our Bearings by Sharing Our Stories

As we ease into our third year of publication of The BTS Center’s award-winning blog, Bearings, co-editors Elizabeth Drescher and Alyssa Lodewick have been mulling the role of outlets like ours in shaping what the Church is becoming in a dynamic religious landscape. We’re excited to continue what we see as a multi-dimensional dialogue that… Read More

Fresh Catch of Summer Reading—Heat Wave Edition

This isn’t, as summers go, an easy one. With ongoing waves of gun violence roiling the nation and two presidential nominating conventions more likely—to mix metaphors—to turn up the heat than to calm the waters, an escapist junket into banal beach reading might seem a reasonable tonic. But that hardly seems to be the direction… Read More

Re-Mediating Religion by Turning Up the Social Media Volume on Social Justice

Earlier this year, one of our award-winning Bearings contributors, Kelly Baker, wrote a piece about the challenges, for white people in particular, of thinking through and talking about racism. Especially with other white people, including goodhearted, well-intentioned, ideologically liberal white people. Often, we just don’t want to hear about it. We get it. Racism is… Read More

“Feeling Into” an Empathetic Ecclesiology

I didn’t have the opportunity to attend The BTS Center’s Convocation last month, but I was pleased to know that Troy Bronsink would be sharing insights about how to apply design thinking in 21st-century ministries. Where I live, write, and teach in the Silicon Valley, “design thinking” is on everyone’s lips—even if they don’t quite know… Read More

Back to the Future of Religion

Does Demographic Research Create the Religious "Reality" It Describes?

If you somehow managed to Marty McFly yourself back to the High Middle Ages—the epoch of Christendom influence in the pre-Reformation West—you’d likely catch a glimpse of the future of faith even as you regarded the sights, sounds, and (alas) smells of its glorious past. And if you happened to be a researcher from the… Read More

What We’re Reading & Who We’re Becoming

Bearings Contributors Bring in a Fresh Catch of End-of-Summer Reads

What we’re reading at any given time in our lives says a lot about what’s going on in our lives, who we are, and maybe a bit about who we’re becoming. After all, the stories we absorb from the pages of books, the ideas we imbibe, and the images that float into our consciousness become… Read More

Graffiti & Grace in the Liminal Church: The Church Mediates God’s Love. That’s Social, But Not Always Digital

Editor’s Note: An edited version of this story previously appeared in The Narthex.  We are thankful for that publication’s permission to share the piece here. The Rev. Thomas Broad and wardens of Grace Episcopal Church in the rural hamlet of Randolph, New York engaged in a remarkable act of social media ministry one Sunday morning a while back.… Read More

Affiliating in the Age of Unaffiliation: How Digital Social Networking is Changing How We Gather

“I haven’t really given it much thought, but I’m really not looking for community when I go to church,” a colleague said when we talked at a consultation earlier this year sponsored by the New Media Project. We’d been thinking about the ways in which new digital media practices—not the technologies themselves, but the ways… Read More

Selma’s Prophetic Call to Ministry Leaders

The movie “Selma” opened across the nation last week, anticipating Monday’s Martin Luther King holiday. Featuring David Oyelowo as The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, a star-studded cast enacts the wrenching circumstances and political wrangling that resulted in the historic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery,… Read More

Who Do You Say that You Are? The Stories of Spiritual Selves in the Postmodern, Postchristian World

There’s discouraging news again this month in my Episcopal denomination. No, not feuding seminary faculty and administrators—though that is truly awful—but another report of declining membership. Earlier this year, the Presbyterian Church (USA) reported similar membership losses. You can find the same sort of data on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the United… Read More

Sharing the Load in 21st Century Ministry

When we were brainstorming names for the new blog for The BTS Center blog, we agreed quickly that something related to the real, geographical landscapes and cultural nuances of ministry in the 21st century was important. The BTS Center is a Maine native, and its immediate network is in Northern New England. Though the Center’s… Read More