Playing Chicken with Care for the Earth

Why I Wonder about Wonder-Filled Approaches to Environmental Crisis

On Saturday, members of the congregation gathered to unpack our stuff into a new space. Gathered in the fellowship hall during a break in our activity came the specific and anxious question, “Who is going to make the coffee for hospitality hour after worship?” Embedded in the question was the asker’s intention to no longer be the only one who did it, and concern... Read more

Getting into the Weeds

Separation of Church and State is No Excuse for Separating Communities of Faith from Political Concerns

Because of my academic training and religious history, and because I am a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist, I come to a view of Christian faith and church life that is steeped in questions of religious liberty, the separation of church and state, and the acceptable role of the church in politics. In examining the modern American history of thought on this question,... Read more

Can Churches Build when the Walls Seem to Be Falling Down?

Creating New Imagination to Restore the Heart of Today's Church

This past January, the church I pastor, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, had its own “come to Jesus” moment during our Annual Church Meeting.  I had done my due diligence all year — studying the latest data regarding church growth trends and reading articles that examined societal shifts impacting congregations across the country.  Not much... Read more

God was a Refugee

Finding the Beating Heart of Ministry in the Incarnation

Reina had walked for more than 20 days, in the rain and cold and mud. Grief-stricken after the loss of her son, she walked with one destination in mind: a country she hoped would be her safe-harbor, a new beginning, free from the fear and the violence she had known. She walked with thousands of others to find safety in numbers. She wasn’t trying to make a statement... Read more

Where does the Religion Classroom Begin?

Cultivating Religious Literacy at Home, School, Church and World

During Advent 2018, my 10-year-old—“Kiddo”—asked a series of specific questions that kicked off a 3-hour re-examination of a fundamental question at stake in the “religion as education” landscape: where does the religion classroom begin?  A quick scan of a park, Facebook, the gym, LinkedIn, or even Tinder spotlights the place of education in social interaction.... Read more

Where Can I Run To?

Creating Sacred Space as a Black Woman

The 1990s R&B girl group, Xscape, has a famous song entitled “Who Can I Run To?” The song discusses the complexity of whom to rely on when one needs love. I can relate. I entered my thirties this year full of hope, only to be hit with three significant losses in a six-month time span. I lost the love of my life, then my job, and then my father passed. It... Read more

Don’t Fence Us In!

And Other Lessons Learned from the Real Lives of College Students

Do this. Don’t do that. Spend your time this way. Pray this way. Believe this. Reject that. This is the kind of rigidity that young people like me cannot stand when it comes to religion. We just don’t get it. Indeed, although many would probably not say so outright, my hunch is that there is an underlying assumption among the increasing population of nonreligious... Read more

Learning From Hearts Broken Open

Lessons from 25 Years of Ministry on the Growing Edge

My nephew was a bright, ascending star. His academic acumen was extraordinary. His athletic ability was astounding. Musically, he was captivating with a repertoire and skill that could have landed him just about anywhere. And on July 14, 2018, he took his own life. Journalist Roxanne Roberts was right when she wrote of her father’s death more than 30 years... Read more

Achieving Failure

Lessons Learned from a Progressive Church Start-Up

With a big smile, a bit of money raised, and enough naiveté to blind me, I showed up to the office of the Conference of the Northern California Nevada United Church of Christ. It was the fall of 2010, and I had left a beautiful village church in New England to follow the call to start a new progressive church for this place and this time. There was enthusiasm... Read more

Getting Our Bearings: Ministries of Coping

A Guide for Reflection & Conversation

If you look up the words “cope” or “coping” in a dictionary, you’ll find entries like these: “to struggle or deal with, especially on fairly even terms of with some degree of success,” “to face and deal with problems or difficulties, especially successfully or in a calm or adequate manner,” or “to have the capacity to deal successfully with something difficult.” Their... Read more
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