Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry
Ministry on the Edge | November 2018

Ministry on the Edge

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.

Featured Articles by The Rev. Jodi Houge of St. Paul’s Humble Walk community and doctoral student in liturgy, Tripp Hudgins, map pathways into and through the challenging edges of contemporary life, where job loss, homelessness, sexual abuse, social privilege, and the pull toward the creative heart of life together, animate local and digital conversation, community, and prayer.

In our Commentary section, Tuhina Rasche explains that in a world of constant crisis, paying attention to oneself is necessary to build and sustain the body of Christ.

In Creative Insights, Pittsburgh poet Ellen McGrath shares poems offered by Pittsburgh writing friends Judith Alexander Brice, Pam Goldman, and Barbara Edelman, as they contend with the tragedy at Tree of Life Synagogue. And in “Leading with Love and Song,” Ana Hernandez shares rich learning gained through the experience of leading a group of 12 young people into a transformative circle of song at a creative arts camp.

And From Our Archives: a compelling article by The Rev. Heidi Shott from April 2015 that speaks to the needs of the world today that call on the gifts of those engaged in 21st century ministry. We’ve also brought back the voice and vision of one of our most-read contributors, Kelly J. Baker, whose “Loving in Public: Why I Won’t Stop Talking about Racial Justice” reminds us that the path to peace is long, bumpy, and paved by a mix of resilience and hope.

From the Editor

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
Featured Article

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
Featured Article

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
Commentary

There Will Always Be a Crisis

The Radical Politics of Finding Sanity, Grounding, and Grace in a Chaotic World

There has always been a crisis. There will always be a crisis until God reconciles the world to God’s self. Until that time comes, there will be crisis after crisis. In these days, it’s absurd to simply say that there is a crisis. There seems to be a crisis every 24 hours, if we’re lucky. Some days, the crises seem to pile one on top of the other into a fantastic... Read more
Creative Insights

Leading with Love and Song

Lessons from Creative Arts Camp that Just Might Change VBS Forever (and for the Better)

My friend Christina started talking to me about Creative Arts Camp during Holy Week last year, when my focus was obviously elsewhere. She told me how amazing it had been the first time the previous summer—how they taught dance, writing, visual arts, culinary arts, and music to a diverse group of more than 50 kids signed up from ages 7-14. She filled my ears with... Read more
Creative Insights

Can We Believe in Light?

Pittsburgh Poets Contend with the Tree of Life Massacre

We asked regular Bearings contributor Ellen McGrath Smith to gather some poems from Pittsburgh writers for our Tree of Life Special Issue. Alas, an email glitch kept the piece from getting to us before publication of the issue. We share them now as an opportunity for further reflection on the particular tragedy at Tree of Life and on the culture of gun violence... Read more
From Our Archives

Loving in Public

Why I Won't Stop Talking About Racial Justice

Originally published in Bearings January 2016 | On December 29, 2015, my 14th wedding anniversary, I spent most of the day researching and thinking about the death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old African-American boy gunned down by the police in Cleveland, Ohio. His murder had happened a little over a year earlier. Yet my shock, outrage, and grief over his death... Read more
From Our Archives

Bridging the Sacred and the Profane

Ministries of Compassion in the World We Walk Together

Originally published in Bearings April 2015 | Not long ago, heading home from a distant airport because of a cancelled flight, my husband and I found ourselves in a rest stop at 2:30 in the morning. Just over the Maine border from New Hampshire, we stopped to switch drivers and he took the opportunity to pop into the men’s room. Wearily I crossed to the passenger... Read more