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Showing posts from August, 2013

August Pop Culture Roundup

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1. We watched Silver Linings Playbook this month, starring Bradley Cooper as Pat, a man recently released from an inpatient psychiatric facility and obviously still wrestling with his illness (bipolar). He eventually meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who is dealing with depression and grief herself, and the two help each other adjust to life in the midst of their struggles. The film does a great job of portraying the illness of each (it had psychology major Coffeewife's approval), as well as environmental factors such as enabling and/or eggshell-walking family members, the death of loved ones, and the role of coping mechanisms. It was easily one of the better movies I've seen this year.

2. I recently read Letters to Pope Francis, which I reviewed the other week.

3. I've heard so much about Orange is the New Black that I finally broke down and started watching. I have to say that I really wasn't sure about it after one episode. But then I watched another, and now I'm…

Small Sips Lacks a Good Bolded Lead-In

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Gearing up for change. See what I did there? No? Whatever. I've been ranting a lot lately about "church daydreamers," those who theorize and deconstruct without offering real road-tested replacement solutions. Well, Jan is one of the few "daydreamers" I still like to listen to, though she's better about the solution thing than others: Engineers are trained and gifted in re-working systems as opposed to technicians who address specific problems. Radiological techs take and read x-rays. AC technicians fix the air conditioning. There are highly skilled technicians and low-skilled technicians but both have more expertise than the average person who tries to install her own ceiling fan.   The church needs more ecclesiological engineers. Wise and hopeful congregations will seek leaders who come in with a solid foundation of the basics – theology, pastoral care, preaching – but who are also creative enough to know how to tweak the way things are done in order …

Book Review: Letters to Pope Francis by Matthew Fox

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Dear Pope Francis:

We are brothers. We are both of the new world, you in South America, me in North America. We are the same generation--you are a few years older but we are both in our 70's--and as elders we are surely asking: "What can we leave behind that is worthwhile for future generations to live by?" - Matthew Fox, Letters to Pope Francis

Not too long ago, I read a blog post by a popular author and speaker who regularly criticizes a tradition that is not his own. Part of this particular blog post was spent in part justifying why he does this, stating that he does it to be "prophetic," to speak truth to certain elements within that tradition that need more attention in order to change for the better.

For the most part, however, prophets were chosen from among the people to whom they are ultimately called to speak. Time after time in the Old Testament, God calls individuals from among the people of Israel and Judah to speak to their fellow citizens--people wi…

Rain

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It was raining. That's what started it.

I'd driven back to the church after a whirlwind tour of area nursing facilities, having checked in with parishioners in various states of recovery from various things. One had been asleep. Another wasn't in his room. You never really know what state you'll find them in when you arrive, really. This was somewhat to be expected.

Still, it had been a lot of driving, and the afternoon was beginning to wind down. I half-slumped into my chair to take a breather before finishing up whatever I needed to do and heading home.

And then it thundered. And then it started to rain.

Rain seems to have a different feel to it depending on the time of year. Autumn rain helps release the smell of leaves that have fallen. Spring rain has a life-giving feel to it as flowers and trees bud and bloom. As for summer rain, it seems to wrap you in a blanket, the warmth of days mixing with the damp of humidity to create something that invites you to become …

On Being Burned Out on Church-Related Pontification

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I follow a lot of church people on Twitter and have a lot of church person friends on Facebook. I read a lot of church-related blogs and books and articles. As a result, I am very regularly subject to analysis and pontification about What The Church Should Do.

What the church should do to attract/retain young people. What the church should do to serve the poor. What the church should do to be relevant or authentic or whatever the current buzzword is that basically means "attractive to cool people." What the church should do to engage their communities. What the church should do to engage and welcome minority voices. What the church should do to truly be postmodern.

I used to gobble this up. Every new post, article, tidbit of wisdom...I was right there nodding my head, energized by what it said. It didn't take me very long after I started serving in full-time ministry that I realized that something about the church needed to change. So all of these resources purporting t…

How Your Church Can Attract More Of Every Demographic Ever!

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Here it is, the sure-fire way to get more Millennials, GenXers, Baby Boomers, Men, Women, Families, Hipsters, those who have left the church, the "spiritual but not religious," and even maybe some atheists into your church! This is the blog post you've been waiting for! Are you ready? Are you sure you can handle the mind-exploding information I'm about to share? Only if you're completely sure, read on!

Take these simple actions to attract all of these coveted groups (and more! If I included the whole demographic list, there'd be no room for anything else!).

1. Include more liturgy. People are tired of the flashy stuff, the coffee carts, the praise bands. Give them something tied to a more ancient practice.

2. Include less liturgy. People are tired of the same dry routine every week. Spice up what your church offers by including something more flashy, like maybe a coffee cart or a praise band.

3. Really work on theology and Biblical literacy. So many churches…