Church

After El Paso and Dayton

After El Paso and Dayton

The following is a collection of sermon and prayer responses to our nation’s two most recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. We give thanks for the bold leadership of these pastors and the many others whose work isn’t featured here. Until we reach a day in which these responses are unnecessary…

“God with us, we come to you today a people changed by violence. When O Lord will we be a culture changed by peace? When will we take seriously the work of this table, this bread, this juice? You commanded that we sit and eat together; it is that simple and yet that hard.”

(Rev. Holly Clark-Porter)

Therapy is My Church

Therapy is My Church

(Photo: MindBodyStock)

“As a therapist, I believe my commission is to close the distance between myself and those who have been wounded – which is no different than how I understand the Christian commission.  As a therapist, I believe that my job is to listen well and ask good questions – which is no different than I understand how to be in relationship with anyone, client or otherwise.   When I find myself rejecting others (clients, friends, family members, politicians, people on Twitter), I try my best to understand what is being triggered in me and find a way to avoid treating them as an ‘other.’ “

(Dr. Devlyn McCreight)

Mary, Joseph, and Appalachia

Mary, Joseph, and Appalachia

(Photo: Emma Frances Logan)

“Dayton, Tennessee, is a place where half the time you fuss about how Walmart took away business from the downtown stores with their dusty merchandise, and the rest of the time you’re grateful for the steady employment Walmart brings to your cousins who otherwise would never have found a real paying job within fifty miles of downtown. Dayton is a place where you can get stuck with your family’s reputation because everyone thinks that apples don’t fall far from the tree.”

(By Rev. Janet James)

Nones, Dones, and the Rural South

Nones, Dones, and the Rural South

(Photo Unknown)

“Outside of certain periods, like the two Great Awakenings or the post-World War II era, a full-throated, zealous participation in Christianity has never been 100% in these Southern states. Perhaps what we’re witnessing in the rural South, then, is similar to a decline in church membership elsewhere in the country, and perhaps it’s also more in line with the general trends throughout the South’s own checkered past. We’ve never collectively been as fervently Christian as what is often told about us or what we tell others about ourselves.”

(By Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell)

An Unattainable Path

An Unattainable Path

(Photo by Fischer Twins)

“The way we have told this story of God for a very long time is an utterly unattainable path of perfectionism. The practice of regular church attendance, and studying your Bible every day, and giving the right amount of money to church, and "being Christian = being nice to everyone" not only sets us all up for failure but sets us all up for not telling the truth about our lives.“

(By Rev. Elizabeth Mangham Lott)

My Seminary has Closed...

My Seminary has Closed...

(Photo: Unsplash)

“As a pastor trained by the 20th century but living and serving in the 21st, I know the next steps for all churches will require us to bless and release much of how things have always been. To move forward with integrity, we all must dream, innovate and discern what the next, right steps are.

Those steps won’t be the same for every church or divinity school or other religious organization. Some will face the hard truth of needing to close their doors.”

(By Rev. Elizabeth Mangham Lott)

The People We Don't Care About

The People We Don't Care About

(Photo by Walter Bennett)

“Today, the forgotten folks of Appalachia, the rural South, the formerly industrial midwest, need a greater voice to speak for them just as the addicted across the country need folks to move beyond sympathy and towards honest to God care and concern.”

(By Rev. Dr. James McLeod, Jr.)

Who is it For?

Who is it For?

(Photo credit unknown)

“Why am I such a verbal curmudgeon when confronted with a grand gesture of generosity? Why am I so critical, indeed?  Is it the what people do for others in crisis moments that so unsettles me, or the when or the why? Or the who?”

(By Rev. Dr. Ellen Richardson)