I Just Can’t Quit You, Church

Why One Millennial Chooses to Stay

I don’t know why I stay. I was sixteen the first time I was warned my sexuality was incompatible with my salvation. I was eighteen when I watched Bishop Gene Robinson consecrated as the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church, his alb ill-fitting over the bulletproof vest necessary because of how credible the death threats against him had become. I... Read more

What’s in Your Hand?

An Asset-Based Approach to Community Ministry

In 2015, three days after the death of Freddie Gray, I joined forces with a coalition of grassroots activists and concerned citizens with a long track record of working for social justice in Baltimore to form Baltimore United for Change. We didn't wait for any funding — we put our heads, hearts and hands together and began to do the work. When Baltimore City schools... Read more

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

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

Out with the Old, In with the New? Not So Fast!

Revitalizing the Work of the People

Our church has three regular worship services a week.   Two of them are in our smaller chapel space, have minimalist bulletins in lower case letters, pastors on barstools using iPads, Communion bread from the pop-up gluten-free bakery down the street, guitars and keyboards. The other service is your father’s Oldsmobile: it features a pastor in a robe with... Read more

Are Young Adults Over Traditional Religious Rituals? Maybe Not as Much as You Think!

For a while I didn’t understand why Hollywood was obsessed with creating horror movies based on Catholic traditions. From “The Exorcist” (1973), to “The Da Vinci Code” (2006), and “The Nun” (2018), Catholic tradition seems to be on the chopping block when it comes to tales of supernatural fear and trauma. I voiced my confusion, and my friend matter-of-factly said,... Read more

Real Sharing in a Season of Real Joy

Commercial advertisers would have us believe that the holiday season is just about cheerful fun. Family dinners are uncomplicated and there’s an abundance of food that everyone around the table likes to eat. Naturally, for people of faith, there’s a spiritual significance to the holy days of late autumn and early winter. Although spiritual meanings differ across... Read more

Love Multiplies

3 Confessions from the Streets

Mary’s forehead is dried blood. “He did this to me,” she says. John Jacob is uneasy. He’s not on his game. It’s getting late and he hasn’t sold a paper for an hour. “I bet that bitch told the police,” he says. He is speaking to me but looking at her. I try not to look at her. I look instead at the ground. In my mind, however, I can’t look away. He pauses. A woman... Read more
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