The Church Is (Not Just) a Building: Some Thoughts on Notre Dame

Like many of you, I spent a long time watching yesterday’s terrible fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. I’m still sorting out the feelings, trying to understand why I felt as sad as I did — knowing that others took it far harder… First, it’s always painful to see the world get a … More The Church Is (Not Just) a Building: Some Thoughts on Notre Dame

A New Song (Psalm 96)

Thanks to Brad Bergfalk, pastor of First Congregational Church in Litchfield, Connecticut, for inviting me to preach yesterday. It’s always a pleasure to preach in other churches, but especially in one as historic as FCC Litchfield. That congregation was organized in 1721, and the current building dates to 1829. My favorite radio station is called … More A New Song (Psalm 96)

Poinsettias: A Christmas Meditation

Last month I wrote three short meditations for my parents’ church’s Hanging of the Greens service. I’ve already shared an Advent-themed piece on candle light. This Christmas Eve I’ll publish the two focused on symbols of Jesus’ birth itself. First up, the flowers that are omnipresent this time of year. One of the complicated joys of Christianity is … More Poinsettias: A Christmas Meditation

That Was The Week That Was

Here… Thanks to everyone who responded to our “comment drive” questions: • Which movies are most historically accurate? (And how important is that?) • What’s your favorite biography? • Why is the Civil War so fascinating, 150 years later? …There and Everywhere • One source sustaining my fascination with that conflict is the New York Times‘ Disunion blog, which recently pointed … More That Was The Week That Was

A Week of Listening: Makoto Fujimura on Hope, Beauty, and Justice

Today let me invite readers to listen to a different kind of voice. While the artist Makoto Fujimura was speaking the night before the grand jury decision and subsequent protests in Ferguson, his reflection on faith, beauty, truth, and — above all — hope couldn’t have been more timely in light of what was happening in Missouri. Invited to … More A Week of Listening: Makoto Fujimura on Hope, Beauty, and Justice

Abby Stocker on Worship Spaces

8/14/13 – This past spring the achievements of a Bethel English major named Abby Stocker inspired me to write a tribute to our students. This summer Abby has been interning at Christianity Today, and today posted an excellent essay at CT’s Her.meneutics blog reflecting on why “Our worship spaces matter.”

Happy Birthday, John Calvin

My colleague Sam Mulberry and I are about halfway through the first online version of one of Bethel’s signature courses: GES130 Christianity and Western Culture. (Look for some reflections on that experience in August.) We’ve reconfigured what had been a lecture-discussion course, building it instead around documentary films, virtual museums, and daily writing assignments. We’re … More Happy Birthday, John Calvin