“Nothing can make us more blind to the Holy Spirit than the ordinary”

Each week during the winter months and until Easter, I preach to a little country congregation. The congregation is over 180 years old, the building 150. Like many small, rural churches, our pews are populated by members in the second half of life. We have a few children, fewer teens, a couple of college studentsContinue reading ““Nothing can make us more blind to the Holy Spirit than the ordinary””

Another Look: Outsider Lessons

Another Look: Outsider Lessons Back in 2014 I wrote a Wilderness Update post called, “Square Peg Syndrome,” which resonated with many people. I wrote this as a follow-up to that piece. I’ve updated it for today. Benjamin Corey, at his blog, Formerly Fundie, wrote a similar article called, “A Few Things I’ve Learned as a ChristianContinue reading “Another Look: Outsider Lessons”

Rachel, we — the uncool — will miss you

Note from CM: It has been hard for me in the past couple of weeks to summon up the emotional energy to pay tribute to several folks who have died recently. Jean Vanier is one thing — I only know him through his books, and it feels more like I’m honoring a hero than aContinue reading “Rachel, we — the uncool — will miss you”

Brueggemann: On taking a route other than our zeal or certitude

Note from CM: Friends, I thought this a good follow-up to yesterday’s discussion about my “both/and” perspective on things. • • • Not many of us need advice about what to do with our life. Not many of us want such advice either. We may not agree on what to do, but most of usContinue reading “Brueggemann: On taking a route other than our zeal or certitude”

Hauerwas on Individualism

Here’s an intriguing passage from an article I’ve posted on the bulletin board about theologian Stanley Hauerwas. “No task is more important than for the Church to take the Bible out of the hands of individual Christians in North America.” Perhaps the only surer way to enrage an American Christian than threatening to take theContinue reading “Hauerwas on Individualism”

Freedom from the family for the family

There’s a nice article at Christianity Today challenging the prevalent, ongoing “focus on the family” mentality of the American church. In it, Rebecca McLaughlin gives five reasons “Why I Don’t Sit with My Husband at Church” on Sunday mornings. There’s one big reason: McLaughlin believes that congregations must be more open to showing hospitality toContinue reading “Freedom from the family for the family”

Gray Church: Another Ecclesiastical Dream

Note from CM: I was going to write a post today expressing another dream I have for the church: that in our youth-focused American culture our churches might find ways to help people in the second-half of life understand what spiritual formation and a Jesus-shaped life mean for them. I think the traditional churches doContinue reading “Gray Church: Another Ecclesiastical Dream”

What If? – A Few Dreams for Today’s Church

What if? What if churches and Christian organizations had a vision to be “countercultural” in truly meaningful ways? What if we woke up and realized that all our talk about “changing the culture” is empty because we are just as culture-bound as anyone? What if we realized that ideas don’t matter as much as weContinue reading “What If? – A Few Dreams for Today’s Church”

Exodus from U.S. Religion

On Saturday we referenced a recent study released by PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute), called “Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back.” The study looked at a clear trend that must surely get our attention if we are concerned with the state of the church in the U.S. Let’s talk about itContinue reading “Exodus from U.S. Religion”