Series: What I learned about America by living in Scotland, Part II

Part II: Americans are conservative (for part I see: America is big. No, really, America is BIG!) A few months ago, Reubin Askew, former Democratic governor of Florida who also served in the Carter administration, was a guest on the BBC political show “Question Time.” After spending some time in the UK, Askew explained to […]

Back across the pond

I didn’t realize it a week ago, but I needed a vacation.  Ministry is hard, time-consuming, intense stuff and it takes your energy and you don’t even realize it. I’m a solid Myers-Briggs “introvert”–as are most pastors–so though I work with people all day long, I find it does zap my energy.  If I’ve been […]


Carol at Tribal Church and I are having a conversation about the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Most recently, I asked Carol: How do you approach a sermon with which you deeply disagree? If you don’t agree with it, does that mean it’s not God’s word, or not God’s word for you? Carol responds…. You know, […]

Church Without Walls National Gathering, a report to the CTS Community

Due to the generosity of a Columbia Seminary Student Coordinating Council scholarship, last weekend I attended a conference near Edinburgh, Scotland (the scholarship covered my expenses from Ayr, Scotland, not Decatur, GA:) ) As part of my application for the scholarship, I suggested the best way to share my experience with the Columbia community–seeing as […]

Race, Religion, and Politics

Carol over at Tribal Church and I are having a conversation regarding Jeremiah Wright. My introduction to the series is in this post. My first question to Carol was: With our current media situation, can we in America have a responsible public conversation on race, religion, and politics or are we destined to the lowest […]

Marking the page

Hymns are powerful things. When I meet with a family before a funeral to discuss the arrangements for a service, I always ask if there’s any particular scripture passage they would like read, and if there’s any particular hymns they would like sung. Only once has a family suggested a scripture passage, but every single […]

Great Children's Sermon Resource

In my current context we don’t really have Children’s Sermons, but for the shorter Family Service we do have 5-7 minute sermonette type things. I’ve struggled with the approach to these for the entire year. They should be children-friendly, but since 98% of the congregation is adult (and well into adulthood for that matter) and […]

Two silly questions surrounding the Rev. Wright furor

I’ve been annoyed enough at the talking heads to address two questions that keep popping up with two answers that never make the networks. Here’s my quick takes: If Obama knew of Wright’s controversial nature, why didn’t he leave the church? This question reveals a pretty sad understanding of church: an organization one joins or […]

A "Celebration" of Life

Reading a London Times article today on a child’s tragic death, I noticed a profoundly theological use of quotation marks. The article mentioned the child’s funeral at her church, and the family’s description of the funeral service as a “celebration” of the child’s life. The article said something like, “and family and friends gathered at […]