Spirituality

Spirituality Category

04 October 2013

Pastrix: Nadia Bolz-Weber's Cranky and Beautiful Memoir (Review)

Posted in Emerging, Leadership, Spirituality, Church

Pastrix3Nadia Bolz-Weber makes me want to be a better pastor. She also reminds me that I'm bound to fuck it up.

In her new book Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, Nadia chronicles her upbringing in a fundamentalist church, her path to self-destruction as a young adult, her improbable call to ministry, and her journey with her people at House for All Sinners and Saints.

It is beautifully written, funny, and heartbreaking. It will make you laugh out loud and, if you're like me, choke up and wipe away the tears pooling up in the corner of your eyes. Often all on the same page.

Surely, Pastrix is one of the first great spiritual memoirs of post-American-Christendom.

Pastrix speaks profoundly to those who are alienated from the church. I want to buy a copy for all my friends, and I've got plenty, who have given up on church long ago.

For my part, I can't help but read Pastrix from my own perspective as a ministry practitioner and Lutheran pastor.

What I have learned from Nadia, in our conversations and again in Pastrix, is that being a better pastor is not about accumulating skill sets and eventually, finally, getting it right. Its about being open enough to God (who she refers to as "Jesus the Boyfriend," who gets all up in our shit) and God's people to have your heart broken.

26 August 2013

Catechism as Platform: Teaching Catechism in a Digital Age

Posted in Spirituality, Church

livingwordonlyToday I begin co-teaching, along with Martin Lohrmann, a new online class at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia called Catechism as Platform: Teaching the Catechism in a Digital Age.

Here's the course description:

Luther's catechisms were written to invite parents, youth, teachers and pastors into a way of life built upon the good news of Christ crucified and risen for us. In 21st century terms, his catechisms were more like a "platform" than a "page." This course will study Luther's Large and Small Catechisms, with an eye on the many ways they continue to inform faith, worship, prayer and daily life. At the same time there will be a focus on developing fluency in today's digital technology, learning to communicate Luther's "platform of faith" through various social media resources. The course assumes that the catechisms are assets for public theology, sharing the faith both inside and outside our churches.

Needless to say I'm excited about the class, mainly because I think we are charting some pretty new territory when it comes to teaching the catechism in a world shaped by digital social media.

17 October 2012

How To Host Your Own Beer and Hymns Night

Posted in How To, Emerging, Spirituality, Church

beer-and-hymns

There is something very cool about singing Beautiful Savior, Amazing Grace, and A Mighty Fortress in a pub.

Sure, its partly the novelty of it, but it also worshipful, spiritual, intimate, fun, great outreach, and an affirmation of God's presence in our daily lives - in all the places we gather, including pubs.

I've helped to host four Beer and Hymns events. They've each been a little different but they have been great experiences. The singing is beautiful, the environment is relaxed, it takes us into the community, and it opens something up for people spiritually.

Beer and Hymns has been popularized in Lutheran circles by Nadia Bolz-Weber and House for All Sinners and Saints. Jodi Bjornstad Houge and Humble Walk Church also regularly host Beer and Hymns. Jodi writes about their experience here. I've included several links at the bottom of this post with examples of how people have done Beer and Hymns and what it means to them. 

Here's my version of how to host your own Beer and Hymns event:

08 April 2011

Heartbreak: The Cost of Discipleship

Posted in Spirituality, Church

Dietrich-Bonhoeffer“a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” - Psalm 51:17, 

Today marks the 66th anniversary of the death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  After these many years, it feels as though we are all still catching up to his brilliant theology, his Christian witness, and his deep understanding of discipleship.

On this day, it seems appropriate to reflect upon what Bonhoeffer called the “cost of discipleship” and to ask what it means for us now.  In my experience as a parish pastor, I’ve come to see that each of us calculate the cost of discipleship differently.  We each give it a different name.

For me, its name is heartbreak.

09 December 2010

Finding God in the Food Court

Posted in Everyday Sacred, Spirituality

The Sacred and The Profane

One of the viral hits of the holiday season is this YouTube video of a flash mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus in an Ontario mall food court.  It’s fun, beautiful, and has moved many to tears.  I love it because it breaks down our notions the sacred and the profane - and the false divisions we erect between them.

02 December 2010

Dinner Church: A Wordless Way of Saying Grace

Posted in Spirituality, Church

img 1886Last night we had our first Dinner Church at Redeemer.  We couldn't have done it without the inspiration and help of St. Lydia's Dinner Church in Manhattan.  They graciously shared one of their liturgies with us, which we adapted for our context.

 In this liturgy, the meal and the Eucharist are interwoven beautifully.  The meal begins with the breaking of the bread and ends with the blessing of the wine.  And so, the entire dinner meal is part of the Eucharist.  Indeed, it is the Eucharist.  When we passed the bread to one another, we said, "This is my body."  And so, we ourselves - we too - were the Eucharist.  My favorite moment: when my seven year-old daughter, with a huge smile on her face,  handed me a small piece of bread and said, "This is my body."

It was a wonderful experience, which, for me, is best captured by this quote from Michael Pollan in The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I shared last night:

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