Month: February 2018

This post is a reworking of a few previous posts to introduce a key reason that I research and write about charity: the rise of charity skepticism in the Christian church. The posts that this brings together are The Case Against Charity (January 18, 2016), The Case For Charity (May 30, 2016), and Charity Matters (January 4, 2016). Half a decade or so ago, I was given a copy of Robert Lupton’s book Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It). I was surprised at what I read. The core argument of the book…
This sermon was delivered at First Congregational United Church of Christ in DeWitt, Iowa, on February 25, 2018. The scriptures for this sermon are Genesis 17:1-7 and Mark 8:31-38. It’s been a hard week. As many of you know, my dad hasn’t been doing well. He’d had dementia for a long time. He’s been in a memory care unit for years. He had a Transient Ischemic Attack — which is king of like a stroke but not a stroke — a few weeks ago. And, earlier this week, he passed away. There’s a line from a song that’s been going…
A while ago, I did a series of posts called ‘People I Read’. In that series, I gave little blurbs about the other blogs and sites I regularly read. It was sort of a callback to the blogrolls of the early days of blogs. I thought it would be nice to do something similar for the podcasts I listen to. So here is a new series of blurbs. As with the previous series, I’ll try to put up a new one every couple of weeks. Today’s podcast I listen to is Kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscope is a fairly new podcast — as…
While I haven’t been thinking about it this way — it’s still ministry, after all — the move from fundraiser to pastor is technically a career change. And while there’s a lot that goes along with a job change and a career change, one thing I wasn’t expecting was that I would spend time cleaning the digital house. I spent serious time clearing out the blogs that I follow, unfollowing Facebook pages, deleting browser bookmarks, unsubscribing from so many email lists, and generally saying, “I don’t need to pay attention to this anymore.” That’s not to say that I got…
One of the first questions I had when I was called as a local church pastor was how to schedule my time. There are a lot of competing demands on a pastor’s time, from congregants demanding a pastor who is available and working 24-7, to other pastors telling you that good self-care requires two days off a week. How is a first time pastor supposed to do everything that needs to be done without burning out? This is my first attempt at drafting a schedule that will work for me and for the congregation. There are just a few…
In an earlier post, I wrote about refocusing this blog on three topics: charity, fundraising and communications, and being a pastor. In this post, I’m taking a little time to talk about one of these foci: being a pastor. As I wrote earlier, I’m taking on a new adventure as the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in DeWitt, Iowa. I’ve been part of the United Church of Christ my whole life. I graduated from seminary more than a decade ago. I’ve worked and volunteered in the church — and in church-related organizations — for years. But this is…
Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged;…
In an earlier post, I wrote about refocusing this blog on three topics: charity, fundraising and communications, and being a pastor. In this post, I’m taking a little time to talk about one of these foci: fundraising and communications. I’ve been a nonprofit development professional for more than a decade. I’ve worked for institutions of higher education and for social service agencies. I’ve volunteered and consulted for churches. I’ve done everything from annual fundraising campaigns to capital campaigns to designing websites and newsletters. For over ten years, I’ve lived and breathed development work. I’ve also been part of the…
In an earlier post, I wrote about refocusing this blog on three topics: charity, fundraising and communications, and being a pastor. In this post, I’m taking a little time to talk about one of these foci: charity. In 2012 or so, my parents sent me a copy of Robert Lupton’s book, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (and How to Reverse It). It was my introduction to a movement — let’s call them ‘charity skeptics’ — that believes that charity is harmful. As Lupton describes it, America rejected the idea of doing for others what they can,…
A while ago, I did a series of posts called ‘People I Read’. In that series, I gave little blurbs about the other blogs and sites I regularly read. It was sort of a callback to the blogrolls of the early days of blogs. I thought it would be nice to do something similar for the podcasts I listen to. So here is a new series of blurbs. As with the previous series, I’ll try to put up a new one every couple of weeks. Today’s podcast I listen to is Whiting Wongs with Dan Harmon and Jessica Gao….

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