Thrive: Guess What Else? – Erin Robinson Hall

Sometimes Jesus comes to your workplace. My friend Emily and I can each point to the time this happened for us. We were in a small discussion group for women. Our conversations often made their way to confessions that our work just wasn’t cutting it as far as our callings were concerned.

Formations 02.16.2014: Our Deepest Need

I was struck by the subtitle of an article I recently encountered on psychosomatic illnesses. The article, by Roanne FitzGibbon, is titled “Psychosomatic Symptoms: You May Be Healthier than You Think.” The point of the article is that psychosomatic symptoms are a real thing. It isn’t just “in your head.”

Uniform 02.16.2014: They’re Doing the Hard Thing

Two weeks ago, I posted an entry about doing the hard thing. “Do the hard thing,” I wrote. “Don’t just listen. Don’t just talk. Act on what you hear and say about Jesus. That’s what makes it real.” This idea is one of James’s main themes, and today’s text highlights it again.

Are you Religious…or Spiritual?

Does having your name on the membership roll of a church mean you are spiritual, and does church attendance always reconnect you to your soul? And is there something more than connecting to your own True Self about spirituality? Can you be spiritual and not have a personal, vital, love relationship with God?

A View from the Pew: What We See in Worship Makes a Difference

As I age, I find myself not only physically sounding more and more like my Baptist-preacher father but repeating his aphorisms. One of my favorites about church is “You should always sit close to the front because the sermon gets worn out by the time it reaches the back.”

Thrive: It Would Have Been Chocolate – Erin Robinson Hall

For me, it would have been chocolate. This moment of testing would begin and end with the Accuser showing up in my moment of deep, spiritual discernment and teasing me with candy. Hershey’s nuggets with toffee and almonds, to be exact.

Crossroads: God Doesn’t Play Favorites

As the first girl in the family in 35 years, I was the favorite grandchild. Growing up, my grandmother (Shug) did things for me that she didn’t do for my stepbrother. I lived closer to her than he did, and so we got to do fun things together that she didn’t do with him.

Formations 2.09.2014: God’s Standards

The Pharisees were not the bad guys. Not in the first century; not today. The Pharisees were earnest folk who tried to live by the teachings of Scripture as best they knew how. They studied the Bible with both rigor and devotion, and most first-century Jews admired them for it.

Uniform 2.09.2014: Loving Everyone in Snowstorms and Beyond

This week, the Southeast experienced a rare winter storm that wreaked havoc on our routines. A mass exodus from schools and businesses when snow started to fall on untreated roads created dangerous and impassable conditions. Commutes of a few miles that would normally take fifteen to twenty minutes stretched into hours and even into the next day.

You (Plural) Are Not Lacking

“You Are Not Lacking.” That was the title of the sermon I planned to preach on Sunday, January 19. But before I got to it, on Friday, January 17, the daughter-in-law of some beloved church members went on a walk near the church in the afternoon and never came home. Her name is Leanne Hecht Bearden.

“The Stranger”

We read a lot in the Bible about “the stranger”. It is full of stories of cross-cultural encounters and experiences, both positive and negative. Like us, those in the biblical narrative needed guidance on what to do with the strangers in their midst. We learn from these texts themes of hospitality and inclusivity for those who are not like us.

Thrive: Love’s Bullhorn – Julie Pennington-Russell

There are certain sounds in this world that make listening a pure joy. I have my favorites: Garrison Keillor’s buttery voice on public radio; the pure brass tones of Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man… Some things are a delight to listen to. Then there’s John the Baptist.