Hard Times for the Mainline

Wither the Mainline church? It’s a question those of us who are part of a mainline/progressive denomination have been wondering for years.  Or, it is a question we continually hear about.  Our numbers continue to shrink, as does our monetary reserves. Everyone has their reasons as to why mainline churches seem to be in sort of the death spiral.  I want to use this blog post to share some of those responses and what they offer to our churches. The most common response to shrinking numbers in our churches is one of mild annoyance.  Fellow Disciples Pastor Derek Penwell, shares … Continue reading Hard Times for the Mainline

Sermon: “The Lord Is My Shepherd….at 35,000 Feet”

Psalm 23 Fourth Sunday in Lent March 30, 2014 First Christian Church Mahtomedi, MN I can be a nervous flier. My fear of flying hasn’t stopped me from getting on a plane on a regular basis. I’ve flown international flights to Europe, South America and Asia. You are really dealing with your fears when you take a 15 hour flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. I think the reason I am able to get on a plane and go up into the air is because I’m fascinated with any kind of trasportation. When it come to planes, I love … Continue reading Sermon: “The Lord Is My Shepherd….at 35,000 Feet”

What Does the Lord Require?

A few weeks back, I happened to be browsing the religious website Patheos and came accross a blog post by Greg Garrett called “God Commands Compassion, Not Evangelism.”  The title fascinated me and the excerpt was even more interesting: “Christianity is not about praying in a certain way, or believing a certain thing, or making converts, or building a nice cabin at church camp.”  The excerpt spells out what this post is about but here is a part: In my book The Other Jesus, I talk about how Christians are called to do more than praise God, although I believe … Continue reading What Does the Lord Require?

An Evangelical Looks at a Mainline Seminary

One of my favorite bloggers to read these days is Timothy Dalrymple.  He’s a social conservative and I, being a gay pastor am…not.  But even though we probably see things differently, his reasoning has always been solid and reminds me that social conservatives are real people and not simply caricatures. He has an interesting column today about his experiences at Princeton Seminary.  He describes it as the one place where he felt he was an outsider.  This is what he says in summing up his experiences: While my Mainline Protestant friends are not going to appreciate this, I cannot help … Continue reading An Evangelical Looks at a Mainline Seminary

Repost: “Progressive Christians” and Yours Truly

From June of this year.

I’ve been noticing lately within Mainline Protestant  circles, the rising use of the word “progressive” as a way to describe Christians who might have once used the term “mainline Protestant.”  The biggest change to note is over at the religion megasite Patheos, which changed the name of one of their religion portals.  What was once called “Mainline Protestant” is now called “Progressive Christian.”  That change has brought about a discussion of the term and there have been some fairly good posts about name change.

That said, I’m also a tad bit wary of the term.

Continue reading “Repost: “Progressive Christians” and Yours Truly”

Repost: Notes from a Reluctant Liberal Christian

The following post is from January of this year.  I’ve been wanting to write more on this topic and hope to do so in the near future.  For now, there’s this essay. A few years ago, a dear friend of mine described me as an evangelical turned liberal Protestant.  I remember blanching at that definition.  Politically, I tend to lean more center-right/libertarian.  Theologically, I’m pretty orthodox. But the fact is, I am a liberal Protestant these days.  I’m ordained into a mainline Protestant denomination (Disciples of Christ) and I have standing in another denomination that in some cases is the … Continue reading Repost: Notes from a Reluctant Liberal Christian

Life, Death, Steve Jobs and the Future of the Mainline Church

Steve Job’s commencement address in 2005 at Stanford University seems to be everywhere right now.  A whole host of media are sharing quotes from that speech.  Most of them are sharing this portion where he talks about death.  I guess I’ll join the throng and post that portion here: “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention … Continue reading Life, Death, Steve Jobs and the Future of the Mainline Church