Month: January 2019

Why Pastors Should Know What People Give

Recently, I was with a group of clergy when a dreadful topic came up: whether pastors should know what members of their congregations give to their churches. The room was about evenly divided. Some of the pastors insisted that it was important that they know. Others insisted that they should not know. Two things about

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Salt

A long time ago—before I was your pastor, before I was a fundraiser, before I even went to seminary—I was a cook. I worked in a little upscale restaurant in a midsize college burg. And while we were never going to win a Michelin star, we were pretty good. And while I’m never going to

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I’ve Been Here Before

There is a scene from The West Wing. You’re going to find that I bring up that show every now and again. Leo McGarry is the White House Chief of Staff. He’s also an alcoholic. A few years before the scene in the show, he was sober. And then he fell off the wagon. It

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Capital is the Ability to Buy Other People’s Productivity

Roughly 1,000 news cycles ago—or at the beginning of January—Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offhandedly proposed a 70% marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million. The pro-wealth right wing responded in exactly the way that people expected. First, they deliberately misunderstood marginal tax rates. Second, they started complaining that a tax rate that high would be

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Baptism

Way back in June, we had a baptism. James and Brianne stood at the front of the church, and I held a kind of squirmy Kaelyn, and I baptized her in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And it was a wonderful day. We welcomed Kaelyn into our family…

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Refugees

“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” In today’s reading from Matthew, we hear this line from the prophet Jeremiah about Rachel, in the city of Ramah, weeping for her children. You see, a long time ago,

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Entitlment (Noun): Something to Which a Person Has a Right

Let’s talk about entitlements. Americans don’t really like the idea of entitlements. We tend to think of entitlement as something that a person wants, but that they don’t deserve. At the best, politicians argue that we simply can’t afford entitlement programs. At the worst, charity skeptics lament the sense of entitlement that some people—especially people

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