Something to Keep You Warm

Some 25,000 winter coats are being gifted to children in Syria this Christmas. The effort is being led by Sister Annie Demerjian and the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, with support from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The thousands of coats have been made by tailors in Aleppo, northern Syria, which was devastatedContinue reading “Something to Keep You Warm”

Quitting with Grace

I remember my first job. As a 15 year old, I served as a referee for a youth soccer league that played on Saturday mornings. My first workday included tears and frustration—from myself, the players, and their parents. I was expecting a fun-filled Saturday, but a few missed calls turned it into a tormented beginning. What hadContinue reading “Quitting with Grace”

A Congregation Is Not an Audience

What is Jesus doing right now? According to Ephesians 4, he is ascended in heaven and is gifting his church for greater mission and unity. He’s giving leaders, who equip all the saints for ministry, so that the whole family can be built up in maturity. By contrast, we all too often create ministry systems thatContinue reading “A Congregation Is Not an Audience”

No One Believes in Social Injustice

I have been spending a fair bit of time researching the topic of social justice—something that has probably become obvious to you if you’re a regular reader of this site. The more I read, the more I see how much of the battle is not merely one of competing ideologies, but of competing vocabularies. JohnContinue reading “No One Believes in Social Injustice”

You Don’t Have to Do It All

I’m a 38-year pastoral veteran, now serving in a semi-urban, multi-ethnic congregation. I’ve never felt more overwhelmed. Though I’m not necessarily clocking in more pastoral hours, I am investing more grief and empathy—not to mention all the hours mulling over the threat to (and opportunity for) love, justice, unity, and mission that today’s issues present. I’m not busier,Continue reading “You Don’t Have to Do It All”

When You Don’t Measure Up

I don’t measure up. That feeling stirs in my heart when I read the daunting biblical qualifications for church leaders. From one perspective, what the Lord asks of leaders isn’t very different from what he asks of every Christian. Who shouldn’t be gentle and hospitable? Who shouldn’t avoid the love of money? But “above reproach”Continue reading “When You Don’t Measure Up”

Do We Like the Idea of Justice More Than Actually Doing Justice?

Social justice is cool. And talking about loving the poor and oppressed is super cool. Maybe you’ve got a shelf full of the latest books by social justice crusaders. Maybe you’ve been to the Justice Conference. Maybe you’ve shared that Francis Chan video on Facebook and spoken a silent “Yes!” Clicked “Like.” Retweeted. Me too.Continue reading “Do We Like the Idea of Justice More Than Actually Doing Justice?”