How Will #nextchurch2015 Know If It Worked?

NEXT Church is next week! I’ve enjoyed blogging about past NEXT Church gatherings, for examplehere,here, and here. This week I’m sharing four questions I’m bringing with me to my favorite annual gathering of Presbyterians [full disclosure: I helped plan this one]. Here’s my first question: Here’s my second question: Here’s my third question: And now my fourth […]

Where Is The Alternative To The Presbyterian Layman?

I keep thinking that Presbyterians need an alternative to the Layman, an advocacy operation dressed in journalistic garb that can’t see fit to perform the most basic functions of journalistic due diligence. The Layman is misleading and (more to the point) useless for constructive conversation about disputed matters in the Presbyterian Church. We need an alternative. (The Presbyterian […]

Needs Help

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is taking a beating this week over the marketing materials it published for its campaign of special denominational offerings. Two images in particular have drawn widespread condemnation on social media and in statements by groups like the National Hispanic/Latino Caucus of the PC(USA). The ads are being condemned as racist and […]

Preaching And Mission: A Response to Dr. Jennifer Lord

This week I participated in PC (USA) Moderator Neal Presa’s third Colloquium on Ecclesiology. It was held at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, and I was invited to respond to a paper given by Dr. Jennifer Lord called, “Preaching To Upbuild And Equip Liturgical-Missional Congregations” (read it here). It’s a complex paper which I thoroughly […]

ECO and the Mainline Tradition (continued)

Kenneth D. Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown offer a definition of the Mainline Tradition in their book, “Religion And Politics In The United States” : “Stressing Jesus’ role as prophet of social justice, the Mainline Tradition sanctifies altruism and regards selfishness as the cardinal sin. In this tradition, which extends membership to all and understands religious […]

ECO And The Mainline Tradition

In the introduction to Elesha J. Coffman’s The Christian Century And The Rise of The Protestant Mainline the author proposes that “the mainline”–that cluster of protestant denominations that includes Methodist, Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopalian, Disciples of Christ, and the United Church of Christ–be understood as a tradition in the Alisdair MacIntyre sense of that word. According to […]

As Though We Are Being Saved

A summary of last night’s presbytery meeting: The money’s nearly gone. The Executive is gone. Two churches are gone and three more are trying to get gone. Two pastors are gone, one to a disciplinary action and the other to resignation forced by illness. Gone, baby, gone. The gathering diminished throughout the evening, an apparent microcosm […]

This Hurts (A Reader Responds)

A good friend and colleague replied to yesterday’s post about the many churches leaving the Presbyterian Church (USA). Not wanting to focus attention on himself, he replied in a private email message, but he’s given me permission to share his response here. I’m sharing it because it brought me comfort and encouragement, and I hope […]