Wednesday, 08 September 2010 20:00

OPINION: When church is the real thing

Hands down my favorite question to ask people in casual conversation is: Why do you go to church? I often wonder what compels people -- what compels me -- to offer so much of my life to the work of the institutional church. It is, after all, an institution that occasionally has a few problems.
Published in 2010 Archives
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:00

SECOND OPINION: Pastors need pastors, too

When I left seminary, I was just dying to get into a pastorate so I could try out all the good ideas that had been germinating through all those hours and hours of sitting in a seminary classroom. I believe I suspected that, if I could just get a chance, I could take everything I’d learned and completely transform the church.

Published in 2010 Archives

If I were being completely honest, I would tell you that the whole idea was a little, tiny bit self-serving. Having recently completed my doctor-of-ministry degree in preaching, I, strangely enough, managed to maintain my passion for the subject even through all the pain of slogging toward graduation. I love preaching; I feel an urgency about how it should and can be done; and, most of all, I love to talk about it with other people who feel the same.

Published in 2009 Archives
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 19:12


Dear Michelle:
Published in 2008 Archives
I recently found myself wishing I were more proficient in linguistics, as the life of faith sometimes feels like struggling to understand a language completely foreign to me. While I am fairly proficient in “the language of the realm,” my spiritual challenge at the moment is “the language of the soul.”
Published in 2011 Archives
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 20:00

OPINION: When a pastor goes to church

I had a free evening last week, so I decided to go to church. Though I spend quite a bit of time at church, I don’t often go to church in the way that most people think of going to church -- that is, as an attendee. But I saw a sign for a Monday evening Taizé service at a little Lutheran church in my neighborhood and I decided I would give it a try. Nobody would need to know I was a pastor; I could just be anonymous and get to worship for a change!

Published in 2010 Archives
I wish I could say that deep theological reflection spurred my action, but I'll go ahead and admit that Matt Damon probably had more to do with my inspiration to head to the movie theater to see The Adjustment Bureau, his latest film.
Published in 2011 Archives
The other day I was remembering my first involvement in a church as an independent adult. My first grown-up church was a big, suburban congregation with a fancy building and lots of fun programming for college students. I can’t remember exactly why I went, but I do remember why I stopped going.
Published in 2012 Archives
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 19:00

OPINION: Finding the holy in Amish country

In the middle of everyday life, how do we experience the holy? This was a question I’ve been pondering since a recent road trip to the quaint little town of Lancaster, Pa. What I did not expect to do was learn more than I ever wanted to know about the ancient Israelites’ portable tabernacle.
Published in 2011 Archives
Saturday, 23 November 2013 19:00

OPINION: Unwrapping the church

Let’s be honest: at the start of my pastorate I had no idea what I was doing. Combined with my glaring inexperience, that first year of pastoral ministry also carried a heavy weight of congregational expectation: “Finally our new pastor has arrived! If she does her job right, our church will start to look like it did in 1954.”
Published in Other Opinions
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