Sermon: That’s Me In the Corner

Galatians 1:13-17; 2:15-21 and Luke 18:9-14 Sixth Sunday of Easter Losing My Religion Sermon Series May 21, 2016 First Christian Church Mahtomedi, MN Click here to listen to the audio. It’s been about two years since our congregation voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation, meaning that we openly welcome Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered persons into the life of our church.  I think that’s a good thing, but over the years even long before our vote, I’ve been wondering about the quality of the pro-inclusion argument.  Whenever I’ve seen people argue in favor of LGBT inclusion, the main … Continue reading Sermon: That’s Me In the Corner

Questions on the Disciples and the Local Church

Disclaimer: I have to start this blog post off by saying that the following criticism is not directed at any one person.  It is NOT a personal attack on anybody.  This is a critique of a larger system that people might be a part of, but again my beef is with the system and not any person. I think congregations in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are in trouble and parts of the  General and Regional Church bodies are not prepared to deal with it. They aren’t ready because they are not geared towards helping congregations as they are focused … Continue reading Questions on the Disciples and the Local Church

What Is Mission First All About?

  At the 2015 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Columbus, Ohio, those gathered heard about a new initiative being rolled out called Mission First.  Mission First seems to be a way to retool the denomination for the 21st century.  A central part of this initiative is to have Mission Gatherings in 2016.  My region is having its Mission Gathering later this month. While the website for Mission First has some background on the idea, a certain question keeps coming to the fore: what is this all about? I get that this is kind of a … Continue reading What Is Mission First All About?

Fatalism and the Disciples of Christ

Does the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) deserve to live? I’ve been talking with folk about the current state of the denomination. We agree that all is not well in Disciple-land.  But in all of the conversations I’ve had, there is the belief that the tradition is dying. And that’s where the conversation ends. I agree with them in someway that the movement that was born two centuries ago is dying.  What is so odd is that at least among some people there isn’t any drive to do something to preserve the tradition.  There seems to be a creeping fatalism … Continue reading Fatalism and the Disciples of Christ

The Landscape for Mission (and Theology)

One of the things that my denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is trying to do better is helping people understand the context in which they are to be church.  An initiative, the  Landscape for Mission has come out that helps people explain the changing society that we find ourselves in and insight on what we can do.  I like the production value and I like that the four videos tell some hard truths about the denomination, something that a number of Disciples refuse to admit. Where I think it falls short is in the area of theology.  I … Continue reading The Landscape for Mission (and Theology)

Salvation Will Not Come from Indianapolis

The 2014 Yearbook of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) came out this week and I guess the numbers aren’t good at all.  Two Disciples, Beau Underwood and Derek Penwell gave what I thought were some of the best takes on mainline decline: honest and hopeful.  Things aren’t great in our small family, but we have hope in Christ.  Here’s a sample of what Underwood said which spoke to me (or kicked me in the butt): Recognizing change will not “come from the top” – For the Disciples the whole concept of “the top” is an idea that lacks meaning. … Continue reading Salvation Will Not Come from Indianapolis

We Call Ourselves Disciples

My wife Jan and I have been members of First Christian Church of St. Paul for nearly 20 years.  We love the congregational focus.  We particularly embrace the dedication to the principles of wholeness and inclusiveness of the Disciples of Christ, that welcome everyone to the Communion Table with no exceptions.  We have recently rededicated ourselves to mission based activities.  Our work with food banks, homeless shelters, and job programs is very important to us.  If we are making sandwiches for the homeless, staffing a homeless shelter, packing food for the hungry, or just raising money for local support organizations, … Continue reading We Call Ourselves Disciples