After enjoying a late-night drink and walk across downtown San Antonio with retired United Methodist bishop Will Willimon during the 2017 Festival of Homiletics, I made myself get out of bed to hear him preach the next morning. (I would have otherwise skipped an 8:30 am service or lecture.) The place was packed... with people sitting in the aisles and windowsills; but I found myself a little space on the balcony floor. I couldn't see anything, but I could hear.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Whenever I hear church people put their feet down and say, "There shall never be video screens in their church's sanctuary," I pause, look straight at them and ask why. They nearly always respond that they are traditional. And I say, "OK, good; and what does this have to do with video screens? Does your church have indoor plumbing, because traditionally, churches sent people to outhouses. Church outhouses are very, very traditional, and ecumenical - so far as I can tell, up until about the year 1900, outhouses were as fundamental as Trinitarian theology to Christianity worldwide." People either smile or glare when I say this.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
14 months ago, when The Pilgrim Press released the book Weird Church: Welcome to the 21st Century, Beth Estock and I began to dream about convening a major gathering of spiritual innovators, 21st century evangelists, and out-of-the-box characters! Now, in 2017, we are making that dream a reality!
Friday, March 17, 2017
Plenty of teams around the country are selecting planting-leaders for judicatory-funded new church projects right now. It is easy, when we get close to deadlines for personnel selection, to loosen our standards or candidate criteria. All ministry-related jobs should require extensive vetting, and multiple interviews prior to hire. However, few hires come with greater risks than a church planter. Most clergy lack the skills and/or life experiences that bode well for their attempting to plant a new church.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
The book Weird Church: Welcome to the Twenty-First Century came out one year ago this month. Beth Estock and I (co-authors) have traveled across many time zones from Germany to Hawaii, talking about the promise of rising forms of church that will bless millions of people in this new century. Some of them, such as the Cathedral and the Tabernacle have been around throughout American history. Others, such as Dinner Church, go all the way back to the first century. Weird does not mean uniquely modern - it just means different than the franchise-institutional model of denominational Christianity that most of us grew up in.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
2045. That is the big year. 29 years from now, but already impacting us, with the rise of disaffected white blue collar voters in the heartland, feeling the impending loss of the world soon to be extinct. The administration they've elected is beholden to the interests of folks who are markedly nervous about 2045. But this political swerve to the right will be met with a hard swerve to the left sooner than we might suspect. It could be violent. Sometimes we swerve hard, folks. The shift in demographics will shape more than just the political conversation - 2045 will be the most important year in American history since 1776.