My Sunday Visit to a Fundamentalist Church

I am halfway through my two-month pastoral sabbatical, and people keep asking me how it is going and what I have learned. The answers I keep giving are that it is going well and that I don’t know what I have learned yet. I miss seeing my friends on Sunday mornings, but it would be inaccurate to say that I have missed all that I used to do on Sunday mornings. Maybe that will come in a few weeks. Maybe not. We shall see.

When I began the pastoral sabbatical, I decided to take July off from church altogether and to use Sundays in August to visit other churches. The purpose of these other visits is not necessarily to hunt for new ideas or to scope out the competition. Instead, I’ve simply been curious about some churches in the area. I am visiting them to  satisfy my curiosity. Since I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do so, I figured this August, during my sabbatical, would be as good a time as any.   Read More…

The Church Is Not a Building

The church is the people, not the building.

I said these words to some friends last night, and I almost choked on them. It’s such a cliche, such trite Christianese. Which is not to say that this statement is not true. It’s just kind of tired.   Read More…

Vintage Fellowship Is On the Move

I received a phone call on Friday from the realtor that represents the landlord of the building that our church, Vintage Fellowship, meets in. He told me that the parole office next door to us needs to expand – a somewhat disconcerting thought. And, their expansion means that we are losing our meeting space – an even more disconcerting thought.

We have 30 days to move out. 

Maybe you’re thinking, “What about your lease?” Well, that’s a good question. We have known for a while that we need a new meeting place. Our Oversight Team spent a long time looking a year ago. When our lease was up in September, we decided to go with a six month lease in hopes of finding a new meeting place soon. We didn’t. And when the lease was up, our landlord didn’t ask us to renew, and it didn’t show up on our radar to renew it. So, for a while now, we’ve been month-to-month. That’s why our landlord only has to give us 30 days notice.   Read More…

Rules of Engagement: How to Have the Same Sex Marriage Debate in the Church

This week, my blog has been focused on the ongoing debate among Christians about same sex marriage, in particular, and LGBT issues, in general. This latest round of discussions had its genesis in the Rob Bell radio interview that went viral this week in which he called “bullshit” on the way the debate was going. I blogged my agreement with him and then responded to open letter to me that was written by a pastor who disagreed. This discussion has also been going on other places, including the Emergent Village Facebook page and on a variety of Facebook feeds where people liked and shared my Rob Bell blog post.  Read More…

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