Bearings

Navigating Life-as-Ministry

Finding Deep Gratitude in Ordinary Time

My Sunday night yoga class is an anchor in my week. It grounds me and prepares me for the week ahead. The teacher is wise and the community that gathers is special. Recently one night a couple I hadn’t met before showed up. A bit older than me, they looked to have shared many, many… Read More

Radical Gratitude as Resistance

I’m going to put a whole lot of honesty on the table: I find the age we live in very disturbing. Perhaps you share my concern or, worse yet, have been the object of concern from the likes of me. The truth is, my peace has been disturbed. As an African-American man, fighting for dignity… Read More

Gratitude and Rust

The November Issue: Giving Thanks in Thankless Times

Regardless of where you sit on the political and ideological spectrum, this has been a challenging year. As we enter the holiday season, it’s difficult for many people to call up the sorts of feelings we typically associate with Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas. Gratitude, anticipation, hope, and joy. Who has the energy for that?  We… Read More

Practicing Gratitude as Healing

How do people who’ve been robbed of so much ever come to feel grateful for anything again?

  As a rare breed of news reporter with divinity school training, I sometimes feel like I own the tragic violence beat. Editors send me in just as the TV news trucks are pulling out after a horrific event. When eerie stillness looms and survivors are crying out to God or to the abyss in… Read More

Jesus is the tweet. You are the hashtag.

Reflecting on Life in the Digitally-Integrated Church

Editors Note: Each month, Bearings contributors offer insights on a key theme in the practice of life-as-ministry. As the final installment in the issue, The BTS Center’s scholar-in-residence Pamela Shellberg, PhD reflects on the articles in the issue and poses questions for further reflection by Bearings readers and the communities in which life-as-ministry plays out for… Read More

Re-Mediating the Global, Digital Body of Christ

A Conversation with Media Scholar Heidi Campbell

For more than a decade, new media, religion, and digital culture scholar Heidi Campbell of Texas A&M has been exploring the ways that the internet, social media, and other digital technologies engage with the religious and spiritual practices of ordinary people. Her more than seventy articles, books, and edited volumes have mapped how digital social… Read More

Re-Mediation in the D-I-Y Church

Lately I’ve been thinking about a passage from the Gospel of John in which Jesus reminds Peter that our youthful vigor and self-determination will always fade. “Very truly, I tell you” Jesus says, “when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old,… Read More

Hope Is a Map

Reflecting on Practices of Cultivating Hope

Editors Note: Each month, Bearings contributors offer insights on a key theme in the practice of life-as-ministry. As the final installment in the issue, The BTS Center’s scholar-in-residence Pamela Shellberg, PhD reflects on the articles in the issue and poses questions for further reflection by Bearings readers and the communities in which life-as-ministry plays out… Read More

More Than Magic Words

Cultivating Hope with Scripture

“Resilient” is what they call those of us who have overcome tremendous obstacles in order to thrive. Psychologists study the conditions of highly adaptive people who seem to defy the odds against them and conclude that those who are resilient have positive community connections, realistic expectations, goals, relentless optimism, and they practice self-care. Those work… Read More

Close to the Gardens of Broken Shadows

Hope on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of time close to the gardens of broken shadows we do what the prisoners do and what the jobless do we cultivate hope. from “Under Siege” by Mahmoud Darwish In God’s garden of broken shadows, facing night and cannons of time, we are… Read More

Protest Journal

I Repent and Atone With My Feet and Hands

Editorial Note: Throughout September, Bearings magazine will explore the theme of “Cultivating Hope.” This month’s contributors are all people of faith who inhabit different geographic, cultural, and social spaces. They thus offer richly diverse perspectives on the following questions: How are you cultivating hope in today’s current political and cultural climate? What obstacles to hope are you experiencing and… Read More

Map is Not Territory

Navigating Ministry-as-Life in the New Bearings Season

When we began Bearings three years ago—all the way back in the world of September 2014—we had some modest aspirations. In his introductory post, Bob Grove-Markwood contextualized the blog by drawing on his navigational experience as a Marine and a transplanted Mainer. He explained that Bearings aims to help those in ministry—in what often feels… Read More

Bearings Retrospective: Eclipse Edition

We’ve had a couple of difficult weeks here in the United States. Two weekends ago, white supremacy and domestic terrorism publicly reared their sinful heads in Virginia. (Too bad it took the specter of Tiki torch-bearing men shouting racist slogans and the murder of civil rights advocate Heather Heyer to shake so many people out… Read More

Searching for the End of the Internet

You may remember a commercial that DirecTV ran back in 2002, touting its then state-of-the-art DSL internet service. The ad featured a guy sitting in front of his huge desktop computer. He supposedly was able to surf online so fast that a message popped up on his screen: “You have reached the end of the… Read More

What Not to Read This Summer

Summer is, tradition has it, a time for lazy lingering over little more than the lilt of the breeze on the water on a long, languid, sunny day. Sure, we might bring a book or two along to the beach or a mountain hideaway, but even literary fare is lighter through days of sunshine, humidity,… Read More

Growing by Half

How Part-Time Pastoral Leadership Can Revitalize the Church

One year ago, I began studying a rare but important species that many church officials wrongly believe doesn’t exist: the mainline Protestant congregation that finds vitality after doing away with the full-time pastorate. To be sure, it wasn’t always the easiest species to find. Many congregations with shrinking attendance and budgets continue to struggle after… Read More

Binge Watching Scripture

My daughter is being confirmed this year. Now I understand why parents always say that they don’t know where the time goes. It feels like it was just yesterday that she was baptized. Now she is claiming all those baptismal promises we made on her behalf as her own. At our church, the confirmation program… Read More