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)

A Ministry of Encouragement

All month my family is joining others in our congregation and denomination in reading through a version of the New Testament that has no chapter or verse markings and has been resequenced in roughly chronological order. In part, that’s to get you to notice things you’d otherwise miss. For example, I’d never noticed that Luke occasionally switches to the first … More A Ministry of Encouragement

Thursday’s Podcast: Preaching (and Listening)

If you’ve been waiting for Mark — one of the best preachers I know — to talk about preaching and proclamation, this episode is for you. If you’ve been waiting for Sam to help us think through the importance of Christians taking up what Krista Tippett calls a “ministry of listening,” this episode is also for you. And if … More Thursday’s Podcast: Preaching (and Listening)

Best of The Pietist Schoolman: Birmingham Revolution

For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day… Here’s a series of three posts I wrote in the summer of 2014, inspired by Ed Gilbreath’s Birmingham Revolution, on King’s famous letter from a jail in that Alabama city. Gilbreath (author of Reconciliation Blues and executive director of communications for my denomination) provides enough biographical and historical context that I began to realize just how little … More Best of The Pietist Schoolman: Birmingham Revolution

Can Culture Call Christians Back to Christ?

Consider these quotations, coming from two Baptist preachers speaking at either end of the 1960s: 1. …although communism can never be accepted by a Christian, it emphasizes many essential truths that must forever challenge us as Christians. Indeed, it may be that communism is a necessary corrective for a Christianity that has been all too passive and … More Can Culture Call Christians Back to Christ?

A Week of Listening: Advice from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

So, what’s been happening in the week and a half since my last post? Watching tweet after tweet after the Ferguson grand jury decision last Monday night, I felt again what I’ve come to recognize as the greatest temptation facing bloggers: “…thinking that there are thoughts that will never be thought unless you think them, and words that will never … More A Week of Listening: Advice from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Birmingham Revolution: Not Everyone’s a Prophet

Among the many people to whom I recommended Ed Gilbreath’s new book this summer were colleagues and students in Bethel University’s Christianity and Western Culture (CWC) course. While that course effectively ends its narrative around 1800 (I go as far as the British parliament abolishing the slave trade in 1807) and we barely touch on U.S. history, the … More Birmingham Revolution: Not Everyone’s a Prophet

History as a “Ministry of Listening”

As I mentioned yesterday, public radio journalist Krista Tippett recently appeared at Bethel University to speak about her book Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit. One of those conversations inspired yesterday’s post on what historians mean when they ask the question “Why?” of the past. Today I want to reflect on Tippett’s larger purpose, as the … More History as a “Ministry of Listening”