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

Turning Millstones into Milestones

The Prayer-Filled Life of a Church on the Margins

Standing in front of giant doors of a 150 year old Lutheran Church, she waits for the Spirit to move. DeAnne Lilly Parks, a painter and sculptor, spent most of the summer painting a mural on  the outside doors of the church. Paint and brushes and willing heart at the ready, she shows up each morning and waits on God. I show up and say, “Okay, God whatya got... Read more

Lamentation and the New Religious Frontier

On September 28, 2018 at 12:30 in the afternoon, Mike McHargue, a.k.a. “Science Mike,” an evangelical author, podcaster, and member of The Liturgists, tweeted the following: I want you to know that I am a survivor of sexual assault. Not because I need sympathy or attention—quite the contrary. I want you to know because most of us have internalized wrong and harmful... Read more

Navigating the Crux of 21st Century Ministry Wilderness

Aram Mitchell, executive director of Renewal in the Wilderness, and Pam Shellberg, the BTS Center’s scholar-in-residence, have been collaborating on a program* for progressive faith communities facing significant changes in embodying their missions. The Crux* takes its name from hiking terminology for “the most difficult section of a hiking route or where the greatest... Read more

Making the Spiritual Path by Walking It

Notes from the Pacific Northwest Trail

Pilgrimage, walkabout, spiritual journey ... whatever the name, extended periods of mobility play a large role in many spiritual traditions. They are forms of engaged spirituality in which the boundaries between the active and contemplative life of the soul blur, each nurturing the other. With modern technology and the unprecedented access to information it... Read more