“Go from your family and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” 1 This is the call of God to Abram, which is not an easy call for anyone; especially someone who is part of a nomadic family. Nomads, because they had no permanent residence, relied on their family for survival, security, and future. Yet, God’s call blows all that to smithereens. God says, “Leave your family…” This would have been the larger family unit, or tribe, Abram would have been from. These are the people you see once a year at your family reunion, if you go, who you really do not know. “Leave your kindred…” This would have been your extended family. This is your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. “Leave your father’s house…” This is your immediate family. With every few words, God’s call closes in tighter and tighter on…
Pastor Robbie Cansler describes a typical Sunday at her church centered around Eucharistic fellowship – which is anything but typical.
Pastor Kelli Westmark writes about one of the most meaningful moments a pastor can share with her people: being present at their dying. Kingdom of God moments, sometimes unnoticed in the rush of life. This morning I kissed the forehead of a woman who was dying. Someone I love and cherish. As if to say goodbye for now, my lips have tingled all day with the sweat beading from her balmy ashen colored skin. I sat and held her hand, as her breathing labored, her husband of sixty-six years held the other hand, rubbing it with his seasoned thumb. Somehow it brought her comfort. She didn’t even need to open her eyes to know her husband was holding her hand. And she knew me, even without make-up as if she would care, as I rushed out the door from the emergency call. Yet it is a raw moment for me,…
A pastor should never be seen in public outside of a suit. It is appropriate for a pastor to put on jeans and a t-shirt when mowing the lawn, but if you run out of gas while mowing the lawn you must go inside and change into a suit before going to the gas station. Once you are home you can change back into jeans to finish mowing the lawn.
Pastor Christa Klosterman reflects on the joys of taking a risk and crossing boundaries.
The CPL Blog is an open forum for pastors and church leaders from many different contexts to share their stories, wisdom and personal insights about ministry and beyond. This week’s blog features Pastor Eric Paul who reflects honestly on the tragedies of last week and the issue of ‘white privilege’. Eric currently serves as a missionary-pastor on the Big Island of Hawaii, using his gift of teaching and commitment to community development to prepare the next generation of 'indigenous' leaders.
When my husband and I were young and naïve, we visited a handful of local churches looking for something specific. We were pretty sure we would find what we were looking for but, surprisingly, we didn’t. We weren’t looking for stellar children’s programs or music that was artistic, yet worshipful. What we were looking for was the opportunity to serve.
Dr. Jeren Rowell, NTS board of trustees chair and Kansas City District Superintendent, responds to this week’s events in Orlando.
“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer. “ —Dietrich Bonhoffer When someone drinks or uses drugs to forget or not remember, it is usually something so traumatic that the memories become intrusive. Often this boils down to things they have seen, things they have done, or things they failed to do. This often means something they feel guilty for. To be fair, we all do or have done things we feel guilty about. Guilt is a universal emotion. Oftentimes the way forward is to go backward, to convince oneself that what one did, had to be done. A prime example of this is in taking a life. Taking a life goes against our very nature. And so it should, thank God. There are heavy consequences to taking a life. And…
I work with Veterans who have substance abuse problems. One thing that seems to help them in their recovery is to work through the Twelve Steps of the Alcohol Anonymous (AA) program. (There is also a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) program for drug abusers.) One of the first steps is actually a form of confession: participants must admit they have a problem and that they are powerless to change it. Substance abusers are only able to go forward after they make this confession to themselves, but also to someone else, and to God.
Although not officially a Christian holiday, Mother’s Day seems permanently etched on the church calendar. Disputing what has become a sacred holiday seems futile. However, would it be okay if beside the brightly colored carnations that each woman with the title “mother” will receive, there was also a picture painted in shades of blue, the empty cradle and the cross? Can we, as a sacred community, hold in tension both the celebration of motherhood and the grief of childlessness?
This year, the entire month of April falls inside the Great 50 Days of Easter, the time stretching from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. That means that the entirety of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a month designated to remember victims and lift up survivors, confronts our proclamations of “Christ is Risen” and “Alleluia!” How do we hold these two together: God’s victory over death and the continued suffering of so many to sexual assault?
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