Review: Lillian Daniel’s, “When ‘Spiritual But Not Religious is Not Enough’”

I confess: I didn’t want to like Lillian Daniel’s latest book, When ‘Spiritual But Not Religious is Not Enough’: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church. Though I appreciated her 2009 book with Martin Copenhaver, An Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers and assigned a few chapters for class, the […]

The Remarkable College Conference at Montreat

What’s better than 1,000+ college students attending a mainline church conference on their Christmas break and loving every minute of it? Maybe the Twins winning a World Series, but not much else. With my good friend, Taylor Lewis Guthrie Hartman, I am Co-Directing the next College Conference at the Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina! […]

Scrapping Sunday School? Faith Development Today

Last weekend I spoke on a panel for a congregation’s Task Force on Faith Development. The congregation is a strong one with a great history and vital programming for all ages. It’s also, of course, enmeshed in our culture and congregational leaders are increasingly aware that their current model of Christian education, worship, and discipleship training […]

Theological Doctrines, Plain Speech, & the Public Square

What basic Christian tenet, doctrine, or word have you struggled to “translate” into plain speech? That question is part of an essay prompt I’m considering for a July writing workshop with Kathleen Norris at the Collegeville Institute at St. John’s Abbey and University in Minnesota. Can you help me think out loud on this one? […]

Mark Vitalis Hoffman on technology and the body of Christ

My day has arrived to be featured on the Religion and Media Blog Tour 2012 with Professor Mark Vitalis Hoffman (website, blog), Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. (More information and a listing of all the tour stops here.) In August, LTSG, in partnership with Luther Seminary, will launch of […]

Blog Tour on Religion and Media

Today marks the start of a Blog Tour on Religion and Media organized by the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. The tour on Religion and Media will run April 30 – May 11 and is intended “to engage in a wide-ranging conversation with bloggers and their readers on issues related to religion and media.” This […]

A year without a church

It’s been one year since I left my position as pastor of a lovely rural congregation to lead The Project F-M, a ministry that delightfully defies easy categorization but could not be called a church. It’s been one year since I’ve preached regularly, presided over the sacraments, led funeral services, visited shut-ins, taught Sunday school, […]

Negative Gut Reaction to Smith’s, “Lost in Transition”

This will be less of a review than a gut reaction to the book Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood by Christian Smith. I’m sure Smith’s scholarship is top-notch; his output and dual appointment in sociology and theology at Notre Dame is most impressive. I don’t know anything about his research methods, but […]

NEXT Church 2012

I was lucky enough to join around 600 other Presbyterians at NEXT 2012 this week, a leadership conference for Presbyterians this year held at First Presbyterian Church in Dallas. It was an exceptional experience. It’s difficult to describe exactly what NEXT is, but I’d sum it up as a “frame of mind” (and paraphrase the […]