Contributor: 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.

Sharing the Season

Gifting a World of Abundant Need

In a season of giving, what does it mean to share our spiritual abundance? How does that spiritual giving inform our engagement with the concrete realities of those in need? These are the questions we set out to explore in the December issue of Bearings with Feature writers Paul Houston Blankenship and Darleen Pryds. For his part, Paul started where his work as... Read more

Ministry on the Edge

Exploring Margins, Boundaries, and Frontiers in 21st-century Ministry

In this month's Bearings Magazine, we explore the margins and frontiers of 21st-century ministry. Our contributors walk into the places where ministry presses against, straddles, and transcends ecclesial, social, cultural, and personal boundaries—among others—marking paths toward new, revitalized 21st-century ministry practice. In the first of two Featured Articles,... Read more

The Tree of Life Massacre

A Special Issue of Bearings

On October 27, 2018, a man walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in the predominantly Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Mr. Roger's actual neighborhood, as media reports like to point out. There, fueled by rabid anti-Semitic and xenophobic right-wing rage, he took the lives of eleven worshippers: Joyce Fineberg (75), Richard Gottried... Read more

Oh God of Mercy, Oh Wild God

Dancing from Grief to Possibility

The poet Gerald Stern (b. 1925) had much in common with the 11 members of Tree of Life Synagogue who were murdered on October 27. He was raised by immigrant parents in a Jewish household not far from the synagogue, in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. And, like most of those who died, his life was shaped in complex ways by the experience of living through... Read more

Calling Across the Bow

The Way Onward for Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry

When I started this piece some weeks ago, the world was a different place. I had taken a jauntier tone than feels possible now. After all, here we are announcing not only the fifth year of publishing Bearings—a milestone for any publication, big or small—but also celebrating the launch of a redesigned site for the magazine, a new publication schedule, and a new... Read more

A Year of Lessons Learned at Bearings

With an Eye to the Road Ahead

In our most recent issue, we invited contributors to explore the lessons they’ve learned throughout their lives that speak to the opportunities and challenges of ministry in these times. Nicole Lamarche, a self-described “spiritual entrepreneur,” shared the joys and heartaches of getting a progressive community of faith off the ground. Her reflection on nearly... Read more

Becoming a Cosmopolitan Faith (Again)

Practicing Christianity beyond Belief

This week the Pew Forum reported that belief in God—the transcendent, supernatural being who intervenes in human history and forms often deeply personal relationships with humans, according to the scriptures revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims—remains strong among Americans, with some 80% answering “yes” when asked whether they believe in God. But what... Read more

Gratitude and Rust

The November Issue: Giving Thanks in Thankless Times

Regardless of where you sit on the political and ideological spectrum, this has been a challenging year. As we enter the holiday season, it's difficult for many people to call up the sorts of feelings we typically associate with Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas. Gratitude, anticipation, hope, and joy. Who has the energy for that? We get it. We feel your malaise. Still,... Read more

Re-Mediating the Global, Digital Body of Christ

A Conversation with Media Scholar Heidi Campbell

For more than a decade, new media, religion, and digital culture scholar Heidi Campbell of Texas A&M has been exploring the ways that the internet, social media, and other digital technologies engage with the religious and spiritual practices of ordinary people. Her more than seventy articles, books, and edited volumes have mapped how digital social networks... Read more

Map is Not Territory

Navigating Ministry-as-Life in the New Bearings Season

When we began Bearings three years ago—all the way back in the world of September 2014—we had some modest aspirations. In his introductory post, Bob Grove-Markwood contextualized the blog by drawing on his navigational experience as a Marine and a transplanted Mainer. He explained that Bearings aims to help those in ministry—in what often feels like a church unmoored... Read more