Create Your Own Bearings Adventure!

Share Your Feedback on the 2019 Bearings Reader Experience Survey

In our five years of publications, Bearings Magazine has grown considerably. Beginning as a humble, weekly blog, we have developed into a full-fledged online, monthly magazine with thematic features engaging key issues in 21st-century ministry, creative insights from a range of artists that offer inspiration and challenge for ministry practice, and rich commentary on concerns in the wider world as they apply to ministry. This past year, we completely redesigned the magazine format to provide a more dynamic, visually engaging reader experience.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done over the years, including winning multiple DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards of Excellence for writing and editing. But we nonetheless strive to improve, continuing to support The BTS Center’s mission of catalyzing spiritual imagination with enduring wisdom for transformative faith leadership. Our aim is always to be a meaningful resource for leaders in ministry practicing in the diverse settings that define church today.

But we can’t do that without you, our readers. To tap your creative imagination, we’ve created a brief Reader Experience Survey that gathers your feedback on the magazine format and content and asks for your input on future directions for the magazine. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and hope you’ll take time today to respond. To access the survey, follow this link.

A great starting point for your reflections on the magazine is certainly this month’s issue, which explores what it is that makes people stay connected to traditional religious communities and what allows religion and spirituality to unfold beyond institutional religions. In both cases, it’s clear that religion today is often “beyond belief,” animated by relationships, the challenges and beauties of everyday life, and the sacred places people make and inhabit. Look for stirring insight from The Rev. Emmy Kegler on the push and pull of church for a millennial, lesbian, Lutheran pastor, in “I Just Can’t Quit You, Church.” For my part, in “Spiritualizing the Secular,” I travel the Northern California coastline, cities, and neighborhoods for a look at how people are making what are presumed to be secular places alive with the sacred. We add to this reflection an essay from our archives by Kelly Baker that explores her move from religious to nonreligious, sort of. Her “No Quite Home” began a rich conversation on religious unaffiliation several years ago that this issue continues.

“Creative Insights” contributor Jenny Patten LaMonica is also engaged by the spirituality of place in a moving photographic contemplation of the life, death, and rebirth of a venerated coconut grove in Molokai, Hawai’i. Her “Praying in Place” offers nuanced reflection on loss, change, and hope. And, staying on top of the swirl of political news all around us, commentator Tripp Hudgins takes up the current jostling of political candidates and the relationship to faith—or not so much in “The Religious Impulse and Reality Show Politics.”

We also invite you to revisit the Bearings archive, perhaps taking a peek again at our 2017 series, “Faith, Love, and Resistance: Progressive Christian Political Engagement Before and After the 2016 Election” or our 2016 series, “Standing for Justice: A Conversation on Race, Ministry, Leadership, and Congregational Life.” We see these as central illustrations of the work we do at Bearings. And we also invite you to check in with popular contributors like Keith Anderson, Adam Copeland, Heidi Shott, Martha Spong, Allyson Dylan Robinson, Dany Cortez, Jamye Wooten, and others who have made the magazine what it is today.

Then hop over to our 2019 Reader Experience Survey to share your take on the work we’ve done as it applies to your ministry context and your ideas for the future. We’re so looking forward to your feedback.


Bearings Magazine, belief, readers, survey

Elizabeth Drescher

Elizabeth Drescher, PhD is the editor of Bearings and a Consulting Scholar at The BTS Center. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University and the author of Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones (Oxford University Press, 2016), Tweet If You ♥ Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation (Morehouse 2011), and, with Keith Anderson, Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012) and Click 2 Save: Reboot (Church Publishing, 2018). Her commentary on contemporary religion and spirituality has been published in Alternet, AmericaThe AtlanticSalon, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Jose Mercury News, Religion Dispatches, The Washington Post, and other national publications. She is a much sought after speaker for religious and academic groups engaging the changing religious landscape in the United States. You can find Elizabeth on Twitter @edrescherphd.

Featured Image: Ian Schneider, Untitled (February 18, 2016). Via Unsplash. CC 2.0 license.