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.

Change, Brave and Otherwise

5 Years Later, Bearings Makes Its Own Brave Change

I've started on the introduction to this issue of Bearings magazine on brave change maybe twenty times in the past couple weeks. Then I've stopped. That's the thing about change—how often halting and unsteady it is, how seldom it is a matter of "pulling off the bandage" and dealing with the brief sting that follows, of jumping into the water and swimming with all... Read more

Give Us Shelter

Seeing, Hearing, and Dreaming with Homeless People in America

Oh, a storm is threat'ning My very life today If I don't get some shelter Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away ~Keith Richards The Stones were having a rough time when Keith penned their 1969 anthem, "Gimme Shelter." Some of that was professional. A 1967 album had tanked. The next one did better, but had only one hit. For Keith, the threatening storm was also personal,... Read more

Bearing Witness at the Border

People of Faith Welcoming Strangers to a Hostile America

Coming back from what seems to be an increasingly shorter summer hiatus, we often incline to focus Bearings on somewhat more congenial concerns by way of ramping into a publication season that we know will face its share of challenges. But this time around, living in the world we all inhabit together, that didn't seem to the responsible way to go. That doesn't... Read more

The Summer Send-Off Issue

Slow Walking into the Next 5 Years of the Bearings Pilgrimage

My friend Keith Anderson—a good friend of Bearings as well—has taken to the open road. He's on pilgrimage along the famous, well-worn Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Portugal and Spain for eleven days. (You can follow his journey on his pilgrimage blog.) The start of Keith's pilgrimage this past week reminded me that we continue to be on our own sort of journey... Read more

The Science of Religion

How the Scientific Imagination can Illuminate Religious Experience and Ministry

Some years ago I gave a talk at a now-defunct seminary in which I argued, surely less eloquently than I might have liked, that a critical postmodern challenge for people in ministry was developing scientific literacy and fluency. I took as my starting point Albert Einstein’s argument in Ideas and Opinions (1934) that “the main source of the present-day conflicts... Read more

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... Read more

Spiritualizing the Secular

Making Ordinary Places Religious(ish) in Northern California

Even in a time when formal religious affiliation and identification is declining, people typically associate religion and spirituality with specially designated spaces—churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc. But ordinary, local landscapes—neighborhoods, yards, parks, restaurants, shops, and more—are routinely marked with elements of religious and spiritual... Read more

Giving Up, Giving In, Giving Hope

Rethinking How We Do Lent

As we begin the Lenten season in our various ways across the church, Bearings contributors have been mulling what the traditions of the seasons mean in these times—especially the practice of giving up something of significance to experience a wee bit, or at least express, an understanding of the sacrifice to which the season orients us. But like so many things... Read more

Ritual Reboot

Balancing Tradition and Change in the 21st-Century Church

Rituals are central structures for common worship, and they’ve certainly been subject to scrutiny, critique—even conflict—and change over the centuries of the church. In this issue of Bearings, our featured contributors, Claire Dixon, a 21-year-old Catholic college student, and Max Grant, a “more life experienced” UCC pastor, share perspectives on the balance between... Read more

It’s a New Year Again in America

Truth-Telling as Christian Superpower

Some Bearings readers will remember (or may have read about) the 1984 Ronald Reagan campaign commercial to which my title refers, “Stronger, Better, Prouder,” or more popularly, “Morning in America.” The ad used images rendered in pastel hues and sweeping orchestral tones in emotionally evocative major chords to create a nostalgic, optimistic dreamscape of an... Read more
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