Shortly after I started in full-time pastoral ministry, I realized that something is wrong with the church. I knew it from years before of growing up as a pastor's kid myself, but this was a new and different way of seeing it. And I figured that if I was to last in this vocation, not only did I need a lot of spiritual fortitude and collegial support, but I'd need to actively engage this "wrongness" as best I could. And I also decided that I'd write about it every step of the way.

So, what is this "wrongness" exactly? At its root, I'd call it a lack of imagination. A lot of specific problems can be traced back to this.

A lot of mainline churches have abandoned spiritual vitality and vibrant expressions of faith. What if we moved beyond our own traditions and styles and more fully embraced the breadth and depth of worship, prayer, and practice?

A lot of mainline churches don't realize how pop culture can serve as access points into conversations about life and faith. How can we engage people who find it easier to relate to themes and messages and characters in books, TV, movies, and music than they can the Bible?

A lot of mainline churches would prefer that the spheres of spirituality and family, politics, hobbies, and justice remain separate. What would change if we saw our faith as all-encompassing--a container for our entire lives--rather than another box to open or close as desired?

14+ years of pastoral ministry and writing later, I'm still wrestling with these issues. Maybe you are, too. And maybe we can support one another on this continuing journey toward a better way for the church to be active in the world.

I'm ordained in the United Church of Christ and serve as a local church pastor. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Heidelberg University and a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary.  I am also certified as a spiritual director through the Ignatian Spirituality Institute at John Carroll University.

My first book, Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday, released in March 2016 through Noesis Press. My second book, Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band, released in June 2018. My third book, Prayer in Motion: Connecting with God in Fidgety Times, released in August 2018.

My writing has also appeared at New Sacred, the Christian Century blogThe High Calling, the Shalem Institute blog, and The Englewood Review of Books.

The views expressed here are my own, and not those of my church or my denomination.

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