Review: Rescuing Jesus

Review: Rescuing Jesus

Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Christianity, by Deborah Jian Lee (Beacon Press, 2015), is a book that has been on my radar for a while that I was finally able to pick up from my local library and spend the time reading. It follows the stories of characters who are struggling to identify within their Conservative Evangelical worlds and also integrate their themselves on the basis of race,

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Exploring Our Life Together: A Lord’s Prayer

Of all of the elements that combine to form our liturgy, the most familiar may be the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer is used by many denominations and is part of popular culture and media. The words are lifted from Matthew 6:9-13 (which has a parallel in Luke 11:2-4) which is part of a series of teachings from Jesus about living one’s spirituality.  In the context of Matthew 6, the disciples ask Jesus

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Exploring Our Life Together: Responsive Readings

As part of our Call to Worship, we practice a Responsive Reading, where the Lay Leader and Congregation alternate reading a short paragraph. A selection typically parallels a portion of scripture or thought that fits with the overall theme of the morning. Sometimes we use song lyrics because of their cadence and rhyme to help stick in our minds and connect with the morning’s message. Speaking together has a unifying effect that helps us to

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Exploring Our Life Together: Song (2)

Last week’s article focused on why we sing together, but there are many different options of what we can choose to sing. Throughout much of Christian history, music has been vocal chants and psalms, while our liturgy will typically use hymns and praise songs for our group singing. Martin Luther and the Wesley brothers, who composed many new hymns as part of their evangelism, leaned heavily on melodies and musical structures that were already enjoyed

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Exploring Our Life Together: Song

Music is all around us- in the car, under commercials, in stores, and whenever we get a song stuck in our heads. Music is one of the few universal human behaviors that exists in all cultures and expresses the breadth of our diversity. Music has a unique evocative power, which is why the Church has turned to music for expression from their earliest gatherings.  In 110, the Roman governor Pliny the Younger sent a report

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Why I Like Being a Baker Books Blogger

For the past year or so, I have been part of a program from Baker Books where am I review their latest offerings and provide my honest thoughts on my blog and an online retailer. Here are a few reasons why I enjoy it: I have some parameters on my writing. Writing is something that I enjoy, but it is not my day job. Being part of the Baker Books Bloggers is a way for

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Exploring Our Life Together: Objects

Exploring Our Life Together: Objects

Church is, by its essential component, people. Yet, when any people gather together with a common purpose, they inevitably develop objects that helped them focus their attention. The tangible objects allow us to experience something abstract with our full senses–touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste. These objects are all around us in daily life, and quite acutely in our liturgical life on Sunday morning. Objects are tools that allow us to transcend our own individual

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Exploring Our Life Together: Congregation

Exploring Our Life Together: Congregation

Before beginning to explore the different components that make our worship life together, I think it is helpful to step back and examine who the “who” actually is. The gathering would not exist without the people who make the community their own, and any attempt to understand the activities requires that we take their composition into account. Our congregation is diverse- we have some who are multi-generational pillars of the community and others who are

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Exploring Our Life Together: Introduction

Exploring Our Life Together: Introduction

I’m spending this summer writing a series for our church about our particular set of worship. We are a Christian Church in the Disciples of Christ tradition that have developed an odd mix of high church practices (such as candle procession, pastoral vestments) despite being formed out of frontier revivals and low church theology. We are also in Orange County, CA, USA, which is the epicenter for megachurch and ecclesial contextual adaptation. So I’ll be

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Review: Less of More

Nye writes from his location as a pastor in Silicon Valley, California, which provides a backdrop for contrasting the excesses of American ideologies. While personal examples are scattered throughout, the primary material for forming his descriptions come from a wide array of social critics, demographic data, and theologians (although he does have a tendency to cite conservative Christian leaders more frequently and has more than one footnote pointing to a Wikipedia page). Over three sections

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