June 26, 2016

Pastoral Care Week: It’s not just about the pastor

At their courageous best, clergy lead where people aren’t asking to go, because that’s how the range of issues that concern them expands, and how a holy community gets formed. – G. Jeffrey MacDonald • • • Over the years I have been critical of pastors, probably because I have been one and still am […]

Pastoral Care Week: A Funeral Rant

I have been officiating funeral services since I was 22 years old, a young know-nothing pastor in the hills of Vermont. My first funeral was for an infant who died of SIDS. That service was held on the coldest, rainiest and iciest day I can remember. Outside. At the cemetery. It was pure misery and […]

Pastoral Care Week: Walking the Neighborhood

When Eugene Peterson was in seminary in New York City, Dr. George A. Buttrick was pastor of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, overseeing a large urban congregation. He was renowned for his preaching, and held his position in the church from 1927-1955. He then went on to Harvard and other universities and seminaries as a […]

Pastoral Care Week: Carl

His name was Carl. An old New Englander, he was strong and mostly silent. He was always pleasant to me, a young minister who had come to the mountains to take the pulpit in my first church. As with many of the men who lived in those hills, it was his wife who was actively […]

Pastoral Care Week: Curing Souls or Running Churches?

Pastoral Care Week Renewing Our Calling to the Cure of Souls This week I will be re-posting some of the material from the past six years that I’ve written on pastoral/chaplain ministry. I have been looking through it lately and reworking some of it for other purposes, and I thought it might be a good time […]

Church Changes

I have found myself in an interesting position lately. I’ve been preaching at a small, rural Lutheran church about fifteen miles from my home. It is a sweet, traditional congregation, a church that was founded in 1838. For some time now, they have had a semi-retired pastor serving them. They are too small to support […]

Mondays with Michael Spencer: March 7, 2016

On Mondays we’ve been looking at several things that Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, wrote on the subject of preaching. Today, an article about the relationship of public scripture reading to preaching, and a commendation of the former. Past posts: • Part 1: The sermon’s too long • Part 2: The sermon’s boring • Part 3: The sermon — I don’t understand it […]

Mondays with Michael Spencer: February 29, 2016

On Mondays we’ve been looking at several things that Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, wrote on the subject of preaching. Today, here is an excerpt from a post in which Michael describes an experience that confirmed what he wrote in a classic article called, On Christless Preaching, and gave him further reason for staying on the post-evangelical path. Past posts: […]

Mondays with Michael Spencer: February 22, 2016

This is an extra post on preaching that I’d like to add to the series of 2006 iMonk posts that we’ve been running on Mondays. That series was called “What’s Wrong with the Sermon?” and this particular post (from 2009), that was originally part of Michael’s “Evangelical Liturgy” series, summarizes much of what that series covered, adding some important points […]

Mondays with Michael Spencer: February 15, 2016

This is part five in a series of iMonk posts that Michael wrote back in 2006. We have edited them and now present them each Monday. His subject was “the sermon,” and the series was called “What’s Wrong with the Sermon?” Here is Michael’s explanation of the approach he took: In this series of posts I will be examining the […]