Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry
Religion Beyond Belief | April 2019

In the holiest season of the Christian year, Bearings contributors Emmy Kegler and Elizabeth Drescher explore what it is that makes people stay connected to traditional religious communities and what allows religion and spirituality to unfold beyond institutional religions. In both cases, it’s clear that religion today is often “beyond belief,” animated by relationships, the challenges and beauties of everyday life, and the sacred places people make and inhabit. We add to this reflection an essay from our archives by Kelly Baker that explores her move from religious to nonreligious, sort of. “Creative Insights” contributor Jenny Patten LaMonica is also engaged by the spirituality of place in a moving photographic contemplation of the life, death, and rebirth of a venerated coconut grove in Molokai, Hawai’i. And, for his part, commentator Tripp Hudgins takes up the current jostling of political candidates and the relationship to faith—or not so much.

From the Editor

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
Featured Article

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
Featured Article

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
Creative Insights

Praying in Place

Contemplative Photography in Royal Kapuāiwa Coconut Grove, Molokai, Hawai'i

I am a scholar of art and religion. I also am an artist who dabbles in everything from painting to photography to mixed media. The daughter of a professor father and an artist mother, I split my time growing up between Claremont, California and summers on the relatively unpopulated island of Molokai, Hawai'i. My parents were keen on detaching from the frenetic... Read more
Commentary

The Religious Impulse and Reality Show Politics

Perhaps you have noticed the increasingly large number of candidates putting their names forward for the Democratic presidential primary election. With the current president's popularity in constant question and his policies being excoriated by every news outlet not owned by Rupert Murdock, there are a lot of people hoping that the vultures are circling and that... Read more
From Our Archives

Not Quite Home

I decided to return to my old church for a visit. Readers of Bearings will recall that it’s been a while since I’ve crossed the threshold of the church that nurtured me through graduate school and the various ups and downs of life at that time. I’d been mulling a holiday return. I wanted to see how much changed in the intermittent years, and I wanted to know... Read more