Category: Worship

A pastor’s guide to surviving kickoff Sunday

As a brand-new minister, I was part of a small group of recent seminary graduates who met weekly with an incredibly wise retired pastor. One week we asked him, “If you could go back and do anything differently as a young pastor, what would it be?” “I would go out back of my church and sit in a chair and watch the grass grow more often,” he answered. We all expected something more practical or…  [more]

The (somewhat) sacred outdoors

My family lives surrounded by an embarrassment of scenic riches. In less than six hours, we can drive to no less than five national parks. We don’t even have to leave our own county for a rich experience of nature. We have San Francisco Bay to the east, the Pacific Ocean over a mountain ridge to the west and Redwood groves and open space teeming with deer and mountain lions just miles from my house. We are…  [more]

A new way to marry

Wedding season is well under way, as can be seen by the many wedding photos being shared on social media. Add to this continued debate over the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage, and the topic is dominating my Facebook feed. Although I’ve heard and seen much about the meaning of marriage, few have raised the question of what our wedding ceremonies say about our theology of marriage. In…  [more]

Comedy, community and church

I’m a big fan of comedy. The schedule on my DVR will tell you that when I want to relax at the end of a day, a sitcom or sketch show or comedy talk show is where I’m likely to turn. A few comments from comedians I appreciate lately have gotten me thinking about how the comedy I like the most creates a sense of relationship and community. It makes me, the audience member, feel like a friend and an…  [more]

The missed opportunity of Duke’s Muslim call to prayer

Last week, Duke University reversed its decision to allow the traditional Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast from its historic chapel tower. The permission for Muslim students to recite the prayer on Fridays for three minutes from the bell tower was rescinded following strong criticisms from Christians and a “serious and credible security threat.” Evangelical public figure Franklin Graham, in…  [more]

Andraé Crouch and making every minute count

Andraé Crouch passed away yesterday and I’m still processing it. I’ve been listening to his records since I was a little kid. For the last couple of years I’ve been honored to serve as the creative director overseeing his incredible song catalog at Capitol CMG Publishing. So no, I am not objective about his legacy in the slightest. Andraé was certainly one of the most influential…  [more]

What price glory? Parsing the mixed messages of sports celebrations

This week the NFL spawned a heated debate about who can be worshipped in the end zone. During Monday’s routing of the New England Patriots, Husain Abdullah, a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it for a touchdown. His performance was the talk of social media. No, not his athletic performance, but rather the fact that he fell to his knees after scoring and bowed his…  [more]

America’s most epic churches?

Editor’s note: After clicking on one of the photo links below, give your browser a few seconds and the corresponding image should load. In an Internet of endless clickbait, an article promising “Divine Photos of America’s Most Epic Churches” threatens to be just another BuzzFeed list of Worst Celebrity Facelifts, only more uplifting. But the piece, in Wired, features stunning photography by…  [more]

Binge-watching TV and seasons of the church

I grew up in a worshiping community that was big on church seasons. Our sanctuary and children’s ministry rooms were decorated to match the color of the season and we aligned our worship and programming around those seasons. I remember the excitement of Pentecost, with the flame symbols and bright red décor, and then the seemingly unending season after Pentecost, or “growing season,” that…  [more]

Amazon and delivering on the Lord’s Day

Retail giant Amazon garnered big headlines this month by partnering with the United States Postal Service to offer Sunday delivery. Some might ask why this is even a story. After all, it’s not news for retailers or restaurants to be open on Sunday. And the USPS actually did deliver on Sunday until 1912. Perhaps this story has made waves because it represents the further symbolic colonization of our culture…  [more]

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