A View from the Pew: Rattling the Change in the Offering Plate

My boys have adopted an interesting habit learned from their old man. When they put their offering envelope in the offering plate each week, they turn it upside down so that their name and amount are facedown. I noticed they had taken up this practice recently when my middle son scolded his younger brother.

A View from the Pew: What to Get Your Church Staff for Christmas

While the rest of the world started Christmas preparations on November 1, many Christian churches in the U.S. generally wait until after Thanksgiving to turn their focus of worship to the celebration of Christ’s birth. Whether or not your church has a “Hanging of the Green” service or observes the season of Advent, parishioners often turn their thoughts to showing their appreciation to their church staff with holiday gifts.

Formations 09.24.2017: Japanese General’s Gift Launches a Career in Science

John S. Blunt was a U.S. Navy Seabee during World War II. Serving in both the European and Pacific theaters, he acquired a number of trophies. Among them was a high-quality Japanese microscope. He had saved a Japanese general’s life by providing him with antibiotics from the American base’s medical dispensary.

Formations 01.08.2017: The Gift of God’s Grace

It is a cliché of gift giving that babies and toddlers could not care less about the toys they receive on Christmas or their birthday. Instead, it’s the box that really matters. Despite the money wasted, such experiences of innocence are so valued that this scene became one subject of MasterCard’s many “Priceless” advertisements.

Formations 10.16.2016: Eager Giving

McCoy Tyner was excited to go to work each night in December 1964. He and the rest of John Coltrane’s quartet were recording A Love Supreme, a musical prayer that became one of jazz’s greatest albums.

Crossroads: The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus says to ask God for what we need. He tells us to be bold and ask! Here’s the thing: it never hurts to ask for something. You may ask your parents for a new Xbox One and they may say no.

Uniform 12.27.2015: A Generous Gift

I have a confession to make. There was a time when I thought Christmas was about me. Now, don’t think I was worse than I was. I knew that Christmas was really about the birth of Jesus.

Uniform 08.30.2015: Because I Have Been Given Much

“Humans of New York” is a popular photoblog with more than 14,500,000 followers on Facebook. The author, photographer Brandon Stanton, “decided to move to New York City and take portraits of strangers on the street” (Humans of New York, “Photographer”).

Uniform 05.17.2015: The Spirit Creates One Body

J. R. Ewing was shot in his office at Ewing Oil on March 21, 1980 by an unseen and thus unknown assailant. Millions of Americans would spend the next eight months pondering and debating the question “Who shot J. R.?”

A View from the Pew: Counting the Choir

I have a confession: for reasons I’m about to explore, each week during worship, I silently count the members of the church choir. Bizarre, I know.

“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.