Bearings

Navigating Life-as-Ministry

Exploring the Dark Wood

Editor’s Note: This piece contains an excerpt from the literary work titled Gifts of the Dark Wood by Eric Elnes (© 2015 Eric Elnes, Publisher: Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tennessee. All Rights Reserved. To be published in September 2015.) We are privileged to share this preview and thank Abingdon Press for granting permission to publish.  Years ago, I made… Read More

Descent and Altitude: Eyeing Hope in the Gaze of God

Editor’s Note: Pam Shellberg first offered a version of this reflection during an Advent service at Redeemer Lutheran Church. We are privileged to share it with you. I have done a fair bit of air travel in the last month or so. A work-related trip, a professional conference, and spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my… Read More

The Return of the Holiday Prodigal: It’s Complicated…

This time of year marks the return of the “C&E” crowd to churches—the folks who appear at Christmas and Easter. I imagine that lots of clergy and regular congregants have mixed feelings about these seasonal prodigals. On the one hand, it’s pretty magical to have a packed house at holiday services with extra voices ringing… Read More

Praying the Neighborhood

In May I began walking a daily four-mile loop around our village, Damariscotta Mills, a lovely spot tucked between a lake and a tidal river on Maine’s midcoast. I hoped, by starting some sort—any sort—of regimen, I might begin to prepare for a long hike my husband and I hope to make in 2015. I… Read More

Advent’s Invitation to Incarnational Imagination

“The poet knows that the human experience of the sacred is awash in the particularity of things, the sensuous surface and ambient array of details that make possible any sense of dwelling in the presence of mystery.” – Belden Lane It’s Christmas morning, 1981, and I’m seven years old. I wake up early and fly… Read More

Church for the Like-Minded Only? Won’t Get My Vote.

Several times this fall, my local university has announced which of the university’s colors fans should wear to the Saturday football game. Remarkably, the word gets out and nearly an entire stadium dons the same color clothing. One week it’s yellow. Later, green. Most recently, white. I’ve noticed a similar trend elsewhere. First, there were… 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