For the last few Sundays I've filled the pulpit for a small church that has lost its critical mass. Attendance has dwindled to a faithful few, all of whom are running out of energy. Not a happy situation. Still, when I enter the church building, I feel a sense of welcome and warmth from the folks … [Read more...] about A Peculiar Energy, Even as the Congregation Dies
I was walking through an unfamiliar residential neighborhood to get some exercise, going at a good clip when I was brought to a sudden halt because the sidewalk disappeared. A certain establishment had not installed sidewalks along its considerable property line. The name of the establishment? … [Read more...] about Signs vs. Sidewalk: Which Speaks Louder?
I submit that there are two kinds of ministers: ministers who've been hurt by the church, and ministers who haven't been hurt by the church, yet. I suppose you could apply this bifurcation to any group of persons. There are two kinds of spouses: those who have disappointed their mate, and those … [Read more...] about Two Kinds of Ministers
Hospitality is important to me. I grew up in a home where it was common to have guests for dinner, even though we were a family of seven without a formal dining room. Simply getting everyone around the table could be a squeeze, but I don't remember a person ever complaining. We were happy to sit … [Read more...] about Superhost!
Are you writing a memoir? Last weekend I attended an event for writers at the "First Fridays" in Leesburg, VA, sponsored by the Bethesda Writer's Center. The speaker was Hilary Black, who works for National Geographic. She talked about writing narrative nonfiction. Here are a few nuggets from that … [Read more...] about Three Tips for Writing Memoir
A recent article in the NYT,?Learning to Love Criticism,?discusses a Fortune.com study of performance reviews, which shows that women are criticized more severely, and in more personal ways, than are men. In other words: It's not our imagination! I am familiar with the dynamic described. As a … [Read more...] about Praise or Blame, All the Same: Handling Criticism
I'm a Presbyterian pastor who often talks about hospitality.?Last spring my husband and I took the practice of hospitality to a new level when we became?Air Bnb?hosts.? Many people are curious about the experience of hosting. Why would we want to open up our home to complete strangers? I'll readily … [Read more...] about Hospitality: What the Church Can Learn from Air Bnb
The conflict in Gaza occupies hearts and minds right now. I know you're praying for peace. But how else can a faith leader respond? So often we feel forced to choose a side.?Are you pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian? The topic always seems to boil down to this question which (reasonably enough) results … [Read more...] about 9 Things Pastors Can Do Besides Pray for Gaza
I wrote this post about the inequities facing women in 2014. Unfortunately, it's all still true! You'll have to forgive me if I'm cranky about Mothers Day. Once again marketers will drape the world in pink, but I'm not feeling it. One Reason I'm Cranky Mothers Day is another working Sunday -- plus a … [Read more...] about Momma Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Card
Should a serious writer bother with a writing group? I led a forum on this subject at Festival of Faith & Writing. About 30 writers came to the forum and I shared with them why I believe in the power of writing groups. Here are my notes: BENEFITS of a Writing Group: can help each other … [Read more...] about Get It Written, Get It Published: How a Writing Group Can Help
I love Bodypump. But January is a tough month to love my gym. All these newly-inspired resolution-making types show up to give Bodypump a try. They bang into me as they set up their bench top and risers. They encroach on my space. They don?t know proper weight selection. It makes me cranky. … [Read more...] about Bodypump & the Body of Christ
My book-signing table was at the very front of the Books-A-Million store, so at first I felt self-conscious, sitting so conspicuously with my books. Then I realized I had a front row seat to life at the mall, more observing than observed. People who were alone tended to walk past at a fast clip, on … [Read more...] about A Book Signing: Sitting In My Chair