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Showing posts from March, 2008

Article from Christian Century: Handshake Ritual

I just read a very 'on' article in Christian Century, written by Martin B. Copenhaver, called "Handshake Ritual." Reflections on the practice of greeting the congregation at the door after worship. Excerpt: "Worship is over and I am standing in the doorway shaking hands. In front of me is a couple I do not recall seeing before. I say, "Good morning! I'm Martin Copenhaver." By my manner and my tone of voice you might think that I am greeting long-lost friends, rather than introducing myself to these people for the first time. The woman of the couple responds, "Good to meet you. We are Jill and Bob Townsend." "Welcome. So good to have you here." I think, Focus on their names. Catch the names before they simply drop to the floor. But while I am chatting with the new couple I see out of the corner of my eye the person next in line, whose grandmother just died. I give a nod in her direction to let her know that I want to speak with h

What I've Bookmarked

I'm enjoying vacation days post-Easter Sunday, so rather than be productive myself, I thought I'd share links with you to several posts I've had bookmarked: Michelle at 33 Names of Grace has a post about teaching Spiritual Practices in her congregation. She talks about helping people experience the holy. I think people long to be helped to find holy places. We're so interested in demythologizing things that have been made holy (which is certainly necessary/good/important sometimes), but I think sometimes we go so far and make it so difficult to find and claim and dwell in holy places. Christopher Gudger-Raines at Among the Hills always has thoughtful lectionary-based haikus, but I especially liked his "Haiku from Hell: Peeps Edition" for Easter. At the Christianity Today blog , there's a post about atheists in the war, and the (changing?) role of faith for deployed military personnel. Deb at Palabras de Deb has been sharing some of the liturgy she'

Easter Thoughts

I've been finishing up my Easter sermon today, and thinking about the trouble with Easter. The trouble with Easter, I think, is not that believing in Jesus' resurrection is so hard. We've believed in stranger things happening. It's in believing that we can have new life. That's the hard part. God is powerful, but powerful enough to actually change me? Change the world? Ha! But if new life isn't actually possible for us, Easter doesn't mean anything. My brother has a post just up that seems very Easter-y to me, along these lines. Check it out .

Reflections: District Day with Eric Law

Last Sunday (the 9th) I attended another district learning day, this time with Rev. Eric Law . I've heard Eric Law speak before, at a GBCS meeting , and I wondered what this session would be like among clergy and lay people on the district. Here are some of my thoughts/notes on the event: * Scheduling note: Sunday afternoons (the workshop went from 3-8:30 with a dinner break) are a brutal time to schedule a workshop like this. I enjoyed the presentation, but I find myself usually exhausted on Sunday afternoons, and by the end of the time together, through no fault of the presenter, I found myself trying very, very hard to remain focused... * What do we need for competent leadership in a diverse changing world: - Self-awareness, and understanding privilege and power, understanding from cultural background - appreciation of differences as opportunities, rather than as problems - commitment to pluralistic understanding, still able to make decisions - active theological reflection on d

Cat Blogging: Ella Writes a Sermon

This is how I found my cat, Ella, earlier tonight: Maybe she'll have some ideas for my Easter sermon.

Religion at Work has this interesting article up about religion in the workplace. They mention Corporate Chaplains of America , which I'd never heard of before. Excerpt: "Rob Skinner did not expect to find a chaplain in the office when he started his sales job at Piedmont Air Conditioning in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I was a little worried because I didn't want God shoved down my throat," says Skinner, 38, a self-described liberal Christian. Turns out Dwayne Reece, from the nonprofit, nondenominational Corporate Chaplains of America -- which provides Christian chaplains for companies that request them -- offered encouraging words instead. Piedmont had hired him after the death of an employee, and it worked out so well, he's been visiting for nine years. "Having him there really makes you feel that the company cares," Skinner says. Religion, like sex and politics, once was considered inappropriate watercooler talk. Not anymore. Prayer sessions, religious di

Question: Worship Services

I've been thinking about worship services. OK, I'm usually thinking about worship services in some corner of my mind, but I've been specifically thinking about time/day/style of worship services. Questions: How many worship services does your church have? What time are they at? Day of the week? Traditional? 'Contemporary'? Something else? Which service do most people attend? How long is your service? Is your current offering of services the same as it's always been? How did you go about making a change if it isn't the same as it's always been?

You're So Transparent

I've been following the primaries for the Presidency with great interest, like many of us in the US and around the world that have been caught up in this most interesting of election years, when the presidency has been really up for grabs more than in elections for many years past. I've just spent a few minutes reading up on the latest skirmishes between the candidates: who will be the best president at 3am, how race and sex are impacting the vote, who Mexicans are rooting for (since statistics show almost half or perhaps more than half of Mexicans have a relative living in the states,) and, most recently, this back and forth between Clinton and Obama on NAFTA and conversations with Canadian officials. What are people looking for in a president? I suspect what many of us would like most is the one thing I think is hardest to find in any of the candidates: transparency. What-you-see-is-what-you-get. What-I-say-is-actually-what-I-mean. I would love to be sure that the candidate I