Spiritual but not religious, part the millionth.

In response to the whole "spiritual but not religious" conversation (links within my link), I just want to say exactly what Pam said. That, and the funeral home in town sends all the grieving "spiritual but not religious" families to me for memorial services, and it's all sacred to me.

Risky Business

Ministry is a wonderful vocation, a calling, a journey. It is also a job, and it has occupational hazards that are pretty well known. Stress and overeating, and caffeine addiction, perhaps. But there are some pretty obvious risks associated with being accessible to the public and trying to help those on the edge. We hear… Continue reading Risky Business

Beyond Anger

A colleague (thanks, Mark!) sent me a link today about some Catholic Sisters who give one another space to face illness and death with peace and dignity. Note especially this section: Dr. McCann [who works closely with the sisters] said that the sisters’ religious faith insulated them from existential suffering — the “Why me?” refrain… Continue reading Beyond Anger

Mourning Miscarriage, or not

"Me too." After I'm sorry, those are the two most prevalent words I've heard the past few days. The number of women and their partners who have experienced miscarriage is staggering, although it shouldn't be surprising from the statistics. An estimated one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage (although many are within the first month,… Continue reading Mourning Miscarriage, or not

I did not have pastoral relations with that woman!

I know, I sound a little... Clintonian here, but I have a question about the meaning of pastoral contact. You see, according to our guidelines for appointment, clergy covenant, and countless other documents, After the change of appointment, the outgoing pastor will not have pastoral contact with any member of the congregation without the invitation… Continue reading I did not have pastoral relations with that woman!

The mission field

I evangelized in Starbucks today. Yep. First, I had a funeral this morning, under very difficult circumstances. As in the family was estranged from one another and rather than sharing bittersweet memories of the deceased took the opportunity to air some grievances that probably really needed to be aired. I hope I brought a little… Continue reading The mission field

One of Those Days

I mean that in a good way. Last week at church may have been one of my best services, but today was one of those days that reminds me why I'm a *pastor* and not just a preacher/worship leader. It is Heritage Sunday, and my sermon (unrecorded) focused on "coming together"-- our denomination coming together… Continue reading One of Those Days

The Importance of Theology

Every so often, people wonder (sometimes aloud, and sometimes even to my face) about the necessity of all those years of schooling. Did I really need to study philosophy and religion for four years in undergraduate and three years in graduate school, or was that a waste? they ask. Doesn't God just speak to the… Continue reading The Importance of Theology