We are pleased to announce the next season of ecclesio.com, starting this month! Guest Directors include both familiar and new writers and video producers, pastors and church leaders, professors and denominational staff. The topics include some we’ve addressed before and a number that are new to the site. Each week will feature at . . . → Read More: ANNOUNCING: The Next Season of ecclesio.com
All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.
I Corinthians 10:23(NRSV)
I feel like I’ve been slow on the uptake.
When the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Board of Pensions announced, after their October 2012 meeting on Hilton Head Island, that . . . → Read More: All Things are Lawful: The Board of Pensions and the Church’s Call – by Cynthia Holder Rich
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6:21
I am certainly not the first to argue that a budget is a “moral document” and I trust I will not be the last. A budget is a statement of values. And it stands to reason that, as the Gospel of Matthew teaches, . . . → Read More: A Faithful Federal Budget: What Does it Look Like and Why Does it Matter? – by Leslie Woods
This morning, as I do every workday, I rode my bike through downtown Washington, DC, past the White House and up Capitol Hill to The Methodist Building where I work. As I stood in the lobby waiting for the elevator (and waiting to regain feeling in my rather frosted fingers), I read again the words of . . . → Read More: Challenging the False Notion of Scarcity – John Hill
If you have been paying even a slight bit of attention to what’s happening in the country, then you know the nation and Congress are mired in a huge, ongoing, and acrimonious debate about the federal budget and the role of government. People on one side of this disagreement argue that our national priority must be . . . → Read More: The Federal Budget Deficit: the foundation of a healthy economy and prosperous nation that can pay its debts – Edith Rasell
The fiscal cliff ended with a deal that raises about $620 billion in new tax revenue over the next decade. Some say that the tax decisions were made and behind us. But for those of us who care about our country’s ability to address hunger and help people move out of poverty, the fiscal cliff deal . . . → Read More: Tax Reform: The Next Big Thing in the Federal Budget Debates – Amelia Kegan
If you’re a Christian who believes justice is an important part of your relationship to the divine, then you’d probably say you value diversity. I would too. You’ve probably also nodded when you’ve heard the idea that faith communities should seek interracial reconciliation. So have I.
These longings for diversity and reconciliation show up in many Protestant . . . → Read More: Wrestling with the “White” Part…A Life-Giving Feminist Challenge – by Jennifer Harvey
The poet Lucille Clifton was a homegrown, African American mystic whose understanding of God was often best translated as “Light” or “the Universe.” Clifton, who died in 2011, wrote movingly and evocatively about Biblical figures – especially those Old Testament heroes whose stories are so deeply entrenched in the libratory meanings of Black religion and the . . . → Read More: On Poetry and Mothering: Thoughts on African American Women’s Mysticism – Rachel Harding
Teaching womanism is a revolutionary act. Informed by the theological approaches, and religious questions posed by African and African American women, womanism offers teachers and students an entrée into the experiences and perspectives of we who come from, a path that “with tears has been watered” to quote James Weldon Johnson. For generations, black women scholars . . . → Read More: Teaching Womanism is a Revolutionary Act – by Melanie L. Harris
Have you ever been asked sincere, deep, sometimes maybe even strange questions about your life of faith or your discipleship? A common question in certain circles is whether you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I find it odd that I have NOT been asked that question before. Another common question, especially from . . . → Read More: Asking the right question – MT Dávila
I often agonize over how to live out my feminist values with respect to my vocation. Imagine those cartoons with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other . . . .
The two sides are not archetypal opposites in my story, though at times they feel that way. On one shoulder sits a . . . → Read More: An Invitation to Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation – by Kate Ott
In 2007, the congregation I served nested a new church for people who would never cross the threshold of a traditional congregation. It was a long time coming. Several of us had talked about doing this for many years.
The new nested church closed within five years. Why? There are many reasons perhaps, but the . . . → Read More: Churches Starting Churches – Jan Edmiston
Freshly back from NEXT Church 2013 in Charlotte, ideas are still churning. One excellent presentation led by Bill Golderer and Aisha Brooks Lytle from Philadelphia lauded the oft-dreaded Administrative Commission as a tool for Starting Something New.
Administrative Commissions are occasionally assigned by Presbyteries – something akin to court appointed trustees – to help congregations navigate . . . → Read More: Who Would Have Thought? Administrative Commissions as Tools for Church Planting – Jan Edmiston
During a break at a New Church Development Conference, I had this conversation with an elder from a new church in Florida:
Me: So tell me about your new church.
Elder: Well, we meet in a school and it’s kind of a pain to set up the chairs every week. I miss having pews and a . . . → Read More: A Risky Invitation – Jan Edmiston
James Atwood, Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor, activist, and participant on the committee that wrote Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call, the PCUSA GA policy statement on gun violence, has also written a challenging book that calls those who follow Jesus to think deeply and theologically about the role guns play in our . . . → Read More: BOOK REVIEW: James Atwood’s America and its Guns: A Theological Exposé – Cynthia Holder Rich
I chose this title as a deliberate and admiring reference to America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposé, by James E. Atwood. He unflinchingly examines the many faces of idolatry that we Americans create around our guns and our uses of them. In this essay I will not argue with any of Atwood’s analyses – indeed . . . → Read More: America and Its Violence as Creation and Salvation – Mark Rich
But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20
As people of faith who have professed that our citizenship is in the kingdom of heaven, how do we square the current debate about who is a citizen of the US? Just as when . . . → Read More: Our citizenship is in heaven – Melissa Garrett Davis
For twenty years, I have lived without documentation. That’s another way of saying that, for twenty years, I have not known a day of safety. Without papers proving my identity and humanity, I simply do not exist in the eyes of many. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is changing all that. But truth be told, . . . → Read More: How God and Deferred Action Hastened Hope for One Undocumented Immigrant – by Pedro
Movements are not lofty things we only learn about in history books or from PBS programs. Movements are built by people in their homes, on the streets and in their churches. Movements require us to get out in public and speak truth to power. Movements cannot be built simply by sitting in front of our computers . . . → Read More: Faithful Action for Immigration Reform by Sung Yeon Choi-Morrow
As Holy Week 2013 begins, I have recently returned from a visit to the mission projects of the church I serve in the Dominican Republic. I was grateful to see the projects and to have some small glimpses of the first country in the Caribbean region I’ve been blessed to visit. I was even more grateful . . . → Read More: Holy Week Reflection – Cynthia Holder Rich
4 When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable:5‘A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.6Some fell on the rock; and as it . . . → Read More: On Becoming Rich Soil: A Holy Week Meditation – Gradye Parsons
The fish are bitin’, wild onions are ready to be picked, dogwood trees are blooming, new clothes are bought, and the grass needs to be cut. Those were the sure signs that Easter Sunday was a week away. I didn’t really know the meaning of what is now seen as “Holy Week”. Being raised in southeast . . . → Read More: What is Holy Week to me? – Buddy Monahan
As a not-so-young, young adult (read very late twenties), who had confidently conquered my oyster, it was discomfiting to hear my pastoral care lecturer Prof. Peggy Way inform us rather blithely, “Life is messy.” She stated it most matter of factly. Some weeks later, she was emphatic in communicating the concept of the Messiness of Life . . . → Read More: Living in Christ, Living with… – Nicole Ashwood
I wish to start by declaring that I am not living with cancer! However, I have lived through the diagnosis of breast cancer. As a result I had to endure the devastation of facing my mortality, I had to grapple with the fear of surgery and treatment, and I had to make a decision as to . . . → Read More: Living In Christ: Living not with, but THROUGH Cancer – Michelle Ashwood-Stewart
Alzheimer’s was something I knew nothing about when it ‘popped’ into my life. It started with a ‘bang’, then there was an awareness that something which was, was no longer. I got frightened and uncomfortable, uneasiness set in. It brought with it an urgent knocking – hello, are you there? I need your attention. Everything you . . . → Read More: Living in Christ, Living with Alzheimer’s Disease – Carole Rowe
I expected a normal pregnancy with no thoughts or focus on disability, having no family history or experience of disability. My son was born at 30 weeks gestation, 10 weeks premature, the third of three children. He had a birth weight of 3lbs. After birth he was incubated for 6 weeks during which time I had . . . → Read More: Living in Christ, Living with disability – Calis Roberts
As a Caribbean national, in particular a tried and true Jamaican, I have always been familiar with the expression – “Half of your life gone!” It was a somewhat extreme way of establishing that an experience or meal was so great that not being able to enjoy it was actually living with great deprivation. Not many . . . → Read More: Living in Christ, Living with Gluten Allergies – Nicole Ashwood
First, a little bit about the journey.
In the summer of 2010, I was in the midst of a job search and trying to think through who I was, options toward which I might be moving, and how to discern call. At that moment, when for me very little seemed clear in terms of a road to . . . → Read More: What I have learned from starting a website – Cynthia Holder Rich
When I started to think about directing a website, many parts of what would become ecclesio were unclear. One thing that was clear from the start was that diversity would be central. As the term means different things to different people and in different contexts, let me be clear about that which was completely clear to . . . → Read More: Diversity as Central – Cynthia Holder Rich
This post, which concludes this week’s conversation, could be entitled “Because I learned…I plan to…”. I have learned a ton from starting this website – something I really didn’t plan to do. When I was thinking of it and conceived the original plan, I hadn’t spent a great amount of time on the web. My web . . . → Read More: Thoughts toward the future – Cynthia Holder Rich
I have a confession: weddings are my least favorite pastoral duty. I have had some of the worst experiences. A couple of quick stories:
There was the couple that kept failing to show up for pre-marital counseling sessions. Then they called to say that the caterer, the reception hall, the invitations, the outfits, etc. were so expensive, . . . → Read More: ON MARRIAGE – by Anita Bradshaw
Through a powerful Vote No campaign thousands of people organized and raised their voices, and a constitutional amendment limiting marriage rights to straight people was prevented from passage. Initially, it was thought to be impossibly unrealistic; up until the votes were tallied, many people didn’t believe that ‘equal marriage’ stood a chance against ‘traditional marriage.’
The morning . . . → Read More: An Amazing Year for Marriage – Elena Larssen
As a single person, adulthood revealed the problem people like me posed for the church. Without the anchoring presence of a visible partner, single people could appear to be…unsteady. Unreliable. Unwanted. Coupled with the worst tendencies and moments of self-doubt, we single folk might even internalize these concerns, wondering if, indeed, we were less-than reliable, not . . . → Read More: Losing the Gift of Singlehood? – Kaji Spellman
“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wove…” So said the very impressive clergyman in the classic movie The Princess Bride. I actually had a couple ask me to open their wedding with . . . → Read More: On Marriage – Douglas Donley
I have been a campus minister for roughly nine months—one academic year. My first day on campus was also the first day of classes for the class of 2016 at Xavier University. The Class of 2013 graduated just a few weeks ago. I am still taking a deep breath and trying to recover from the madness.
I . . . → Read More: Enjoying the Privilege: Campus Ministry as Cross Cultural Work – Abby King Kaiser