Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry
Summer Send-Off | June 2019

The 2019 end-of-year issue of Bearings offers a range of fare for reading, viewing, and reflection as we send ourselves into the lazier days of summer.

Summer is traditionally a time of travel, of course, and this “Summer Send-Off” issue acknowledges important journeys for Bearings and The BTS Center. Our stellar social media marketing assistant, Claire Dixon, who leaves us this summer to take up her post-graduation marketing communications career, shares insights on social media ministry with young adults in “Social Media as Art.” Earlier Bearings editorial assistant, Nick Nagy, who has published previously in the magazine, heads to Africa with the Peace Corps to teach English in Zambia. And, the founding Executive Director of The BTS Center, Bob Grove-Markwood, heads into a new life adventure as a full-time spouse and grandpa. We share some of Nick’s and Bob’s contributions to the magazine From Our Archives.

We are so grateful for all of the insight, energy, and vision shared by these amazing companions. But the journey at Bearings moves onward nonetheless, a path marked in this issue with a video travel journal from religion scholar and filmmaker, Ralph Basui Watkins, who takes the call of Matthew 2:14—”Out of Egypt I have called my son!” — as the backdrop for a return to the roots of African American Christianity. Journey with him in our Creative Insights section.

From the Editor

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
Featured Article

Social Media Ministry as Art

Painting with Boldness, Brightness, and Beauty

In the middle of my work as the social media assistant at Bearings Magazine, I came to an important, perspective changing realization: media is art. Surveying our contributors’ pieces, looking for quotes, scouring the internet for relevant pictures, and then diving into my favorite  design platform, Canva (which is available free to nonprofits) to bring the words... Read more
Featured Article

Returning the Call

What My Mom’s Cancer Allowed Me to Learn about Religion and Coping

I remember leaving a message for my mom the last time she was in the hospital. I let her know that I would be leaving in the morning to visit and that I expected, as usual, that she would be fine by the time I got there. The conventional wisdom in my family was that my mom was nearly superhuman. Every time that cancer, and later circulatory problems, took her down... Read more
Creative Insights

Out of Egypt

Revisiting the Roots of African American Christianity

As a pastor/professor I have always wondered about Matthew 2:14: "Out of Egypt I have called my son!"  What does this mean for me, for Africans, for African Americans? Does this help us re-member or reclaim the African roots to our faith as Christians? To reflect on these questions I went to Egypt—not once, but over and over again through the years. These videos... Read more
From Our Archives

Don’t Fence Us In!

And Other Lessons Learned from the Real Lives of College Students

Do this. Don’t do that. Spend your time this way. Pray this way. Believe this. Reject that. This is the kind of rigidity that young people like me cannot stand when it comes to religion. We just don’t get it. Indeed, although many would probably not say so outright, my hunch is that there is an underlying assumption among the increasing population of nonreligious... Read more
From Our Archives

Border Crossings: Barriers or Points of Access?

From 1988 to 2012, I served as the pastor of a United Church of Christ congregation in the small city of Presque Isle, which is located in Aroostook County in northern Maine—just a few miles from the Canadian border. In the spring of 2001, I had been a member of the local Rotary Club for over a dozen years, and I was about to begin a term as club president. So... Read more