How Pastors Have it Easy

Last weekend, when leading a Men’s Bible Study retreat, a group discussion led me to reflect on how easy pastors have it. Of course I’m not talking about workload, or the intellectual demands of pastoring, or the stress of shepherding a flock. Rather, I noted that when it comes to discipleship, pastors have it relatively […]

Out of Touch Professors Like Me

It took about three weeks in my new post for me to feel like an out-of-touch academic. One afternoon last week I was sitting in my office about to send an email when I suddenly thought, “Oh no! I have no idea what’s happening in the church, ‘in real life’ ministry, right now.” It felt […]

Brief Reflections in My Final Days Leading The Project F-M

This is my last week serving as Director and Mission Developer of The Project F-M (our new Director starts Wednesday!). Much is swirling through my head — and past my desktop — these last days, but here’s a few fairly random thoughts about leadership, young adult ministry, and transition. It’s all about relationships. Thankfully, since […]

Hopes and fears from Collegeville

A post from the Collegeville Institute, Summer Writing Program: Theology in the Real World with Kathleen Norris “What are our hopes and fears for the week?” Kathleen asks us Sunday night as the shadows fall and the mosquitoes fly. “Write them down. We’ll share them in the morning.” Fears? Fear are easy. Anxiety is one […]

5 Reasons to Stop Calling Things ‘God’s Plan’

Topping the list of the most annoying and least helpful excuses ever is the phrase, “It was God’s plan.” George Zimmerman, a Florida neighborhood watch member charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin, used it this week in an interview with Sean Hannity. Here’s five reasons to stop throwing around the phrase, “It was God’s plan.”

Douthat & Bass: Asking the Wrong Question?

Arguing over why denominations are in decline is plenty fine for Sunday morning breakfast reading, but what most of us care about — especially, what young adults not connected to the church care about — is how they can see Jesus’ in the life and work of a faith community.

Review: Keeping the Faith in Seminary, Ellie Roscher ed.

I know of plenty books that tell you how to get into medical school, how to study for the LSAT, or how to thrive in business school, but books on seminary education are pretty rare indeed. Keeping the Faith in Seminary not only fills a gap in for anyone interested in what seminary is like […]

On Apple Stores & Congregational Welcome

Apple is not God, but the company pretty darn good at creation (design), evangelism (marketing), and worship (sales). Author Carmine Gallo who devoted a year to researching the Apple store experience writes that, by design, all laptop screens in the stores are tilted to 70 degrees. Why? So customers have to adjust them. The angle […]

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? […]