Showing posts from September, 2018

A Prayer at Autumn's Return

Faithful God, as autumn's cooler air and abundant rains become more prominent around us, we make gradual preparation to welcome this new season. We shuffle summer items back into garages and basements to make room for what we need as cold temperatures determine how much time we spend outdoors and what we do while there. Some of us are already planning for the season after, whether by shuffling through boxes of decorations or making sure that shovels are within reach.

Many of us may also be preparing for changes in life seasons. Some may be preparing to bid farewell to a life's work, others may be downgrading living space. Some are still settling into school routines and others are dealing with the implications of a new diagnosis. Whatever changes are happening in our lives, you are helping us prepare, offering comfort and strength through your constant presence, letting us know that we do not face times of transition alone.

O God, whether we find ourselves in seasons of chang…

Five Things I Miss About Blogging

I've been blogging for almost 14 years. I started back in 2005, in the middle of what many may call this medium's heyday, which was roughly 2002-2009 or so (it might have actually ended sooner than that).

Obviously, I still blog. But my attitude toward it has changed, which perhaps reflects the larger shifts that this practice has undergone over the years.

It used to be that "everybody who's anybody" had a blog. For a while, it was one's primary method of sharing one's opinions with the world in an online format. Now many who used to keep one have moved on to other social media sites and share their views in different ways.

I admit that even I don't read nearly as many blogs as I used to. But there was something about what blogging used to be that I still miss and can't seem to be able to find in this internet practice the way that I used to.

Here are five such things.

1. The Camaraderie - The "blogosphere" used to be more of a community…

Focusing in the Wilderness (book excerpt)

Below is an excerpt from Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times.

Our lives are filled with things that distract us, that demand our attention, and that make taking on a regular routine of prayer difficult. And whether we admit it or not, whether we are proud of it or not, whether we would claim them or not, we each have our own ways of coping with the stress that fills our day. We each have ways to “get through it,” that help take the edge off.

We may tell ourselves that these things help us focus, but it may be more accurate that they help numb us, serving as brief moments of pleasure in an endless sea of anxiety. For one person it may be food, for another caffeine or alcohol, and for yet another spontaneous purchases or pornography or the internet. These may bring relief and focus for a moment, but many of our coping mechanisms, habits, and addictions can lead to physical, emotional, and spiritual sickness rather than health or wellness. What we might claim provides …

Vintage CC: How Your Church Can Attract More of Every Demographic Ever!

Back in August 2013 while having a moment when my frustration with all things church consultant-related was especially elevated, I wrote this sarcasm-drenched blog post. I'm still plenty burned out on a lot of the pontification that this entry skewers, but I'm at least at a point where I'm able to filter out--almost immediately, in many cases--the stuff that I find the most unhelpful.

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. Includ…

A Prayer for Opened Ears

based on Mark 7:24-37

Faithful God, our ears are often closed to so much. We miss the needs around us because we're so preoccupied with our own desires. We don't heed the possibility of new things in our midst because we've become comfortably numb with what we've long been doing. We are unwilling to listen to your presence because acknowledging it might ask something of us that we're not ready to accept. Whether of our own making or due to complicating factors in our lives, we don't, can't, or won't hear what you wish to show us.

Our hope and prayer this day is that you take us aside to show us what we've been missing. Unstop our ears to your gifts. Speak your healing word of "Ephphatha" for us to be open to your speaking of renewing and grace-filled truths into our hearts. Through Jesus, show us what we've been ignoring whether in our own lives and in the lives of others so the movement of all your creation toward restoration and who…

Book Review: Credulous by Andrea Lingle

The only problem with writing a church book right now is the church scene is a bit untidy. There is senseless argument and decline and bureaucracy. Now that it is no longer cool or assumed that a person would be in church on Sunday morning, there seems to be an impulse to explain why one still goes. But I don't know how to explain. I am moderately afraid I go out of habit. What interests me is, amid the clamor of arguments and definitions, a quiet pulse of hope that faith and spirituality can be resurrected toward a new way of joy and peace. If we could let go of truth and take hold of mystery, what would we see? If we could abandon our obligation for curiosity, where would we go? If we could see each other in the light of infinite abundance, what would we do? - Andrea Lingle, Credulous

Popular church memoirs released in the last decade or more seem to all have a few things in common. First, there is the season of doubt that sends the writer into wondering if a life of faith in ge…

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