In PC(USA), “Minister” no more. Now: “Teaching Elder.”

I write this all with a huge change in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in mind. As of Sunday, our constitution has changed so that “Minister of the Word and Sacrament” is no longer the preferred way to speak of a pastor’s office. “Minister” is replaced with “Teaching Elder.” So now rather than a denomination led by those called “Ministers of the Word and Sacrament” and “Elders,” we are a denomination led by two types of elders: Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders.

God bless the people of every nation

“God bless the people of every nation.” That’s what my favorite July 4th shirt says. It was the theme of a July 4 celebration in which I participated several years ago. The quote, I believe, is from David Lamotte. I used to have a bumper sticker that said the same thing. “God bless the people […]

Searching for the signal

a Thoughtful post Recently I’ve been working a lot with a conference theme, “Searching for the Signal.” By, “a lot” I mean — preaching on it for two weeks, reflecting on a small group manual all about it, enjoying recreation based upon it, and listening to two weeks of keynote sessions addressing it. (I’m […]

Why I truly miss my 75-mile commute

I used to commute from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Hallock, Minnesota. One interstate, two state highways, three turns. 75 miles. Then, for a time, I commuted from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Fargo. Interstate all the way. 75 mph speed limit, give or take. 75 miles. There were many things to dislike about the […]

Beyond boxes: imagining how to move well

Also posted at Gathering Voices a blog for Oh, moving. Cardboard boxes. Back strains. Getting the furniture arranged just right. In a few short weeks, I’ll be doing it again. In the past five years I’ve lived in four different places (Decatur, Ga; Ayr, Scotland; Grand Forks, N.D., and now Moorhead, Minn. — and that’s not […]

Good Friday and Earth Day

Today, for the first time ever, Earth Day falls on Good Friday. So, you can stop by Starbucks or Caribou Coffee with your travel mug and get a free cup of coffee on the way to Good Friday services. What a country! I wondered, however, if any Christians were working on the connection between the […]

Slow coffee, slow Internet, slow everything

Originally posted at the Gathering Voices blog A recent story on NPR’s All Things Considered explored a curious new craze: the slow internet movement. In hipster enclaves like the coffeehouse Drip in Washington, D.C., counter-cultural types are claiming a more calming and intentional way of enjoying the Internet by using slow 28.8K connect speeds. Drip brews […]

Jell-O Confessions

It’s much too early to reflect fully on my ministry in Hallock, but it’s always the right time for bullet points. So, here’s my top twelve reflections on my first stab at pastoral ministry….

MPR crosspost: The art of the public invocation

Originally posted as a Commentary here on MPR News To Whom it may concern: the art of the public invocation I think it was in my second week as the new Presbyterian pastor in a rural northwest Minnesota town that I was asked to pray at a public gathering. I received — and promptly accepted […]