Category: Church

The Stripped Altar and the Body of Christ

If this were a normal Holy Week (it isn’t), and if I were presiding over a Maundy Thursday service (I’m not), then the service would typically conclude with the stripping of the altar. As Psalm 22 is read, we would...

/ April 9, 2020

The Church Speaks to the World: On Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi Blessing

Pope St. John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris broke new ground with its greeting: It was the first encyclical addressed not just to the Church but to “all men of good will.” Thus, in the midst of his Second...

/ April 6, 2020

Sacraments, Technology, and Streaming Worship in a Pandemic

To stream or not to stream? That is the question facing empty churches across the country. At least, that is, how to stream and what to stream—few appear to have considered the possibility of not streaming at all. But why...

/ April 2, 2020

Reasonable Service: What the PCA’s Latest Controversy Says about Its Understanding of Outreach, Evangelism, and Ethics

Earlier this month, members of the Presbyterian Church in America learned that one of their congregations had allowed a theatre production titled “Transluminate: A Celebration of Transgender, Agender, Non-Binary, Genderqueer and Genderfluid Artists” to be held at one of its...

/ March 16, 2020

The Hidden Transubstantiation of Contemporary Worship

In countless churches across America’s denominational landscape, contemporary worship practices have won the day in the name of cultural relevance and stylistic preference. But inherent in contemporary worship is a dangerous dichotomy of style and substance that if not remedied,...

/ March 4, 2020

Why Churches Need Artists

My church is accustomed to download a work of art corresponding to the sermon or the liturgical season and to print it on the bulletin. (This is something I love.) But, recently, we “discovered” a painter who had lived for...

/ February 11, 2020

Come, Desire of Nations, Come: An Advent Reflection

And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts. -Haggai 2:7 Congregations always enjoy a spirit of levity for Advent hymns. Everyone...

/ December 12, 2019

On The Traditionalists and the Protestants

Ross Douthat had a fascinating interview this past weekend in the New York Times with Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leader in conservative American Catholicism who has been consistently pushed toward the margins of church life under Pope Francis. At the risk...

/ November 13, 2019
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Are America’s Megachurches Too Big to Fail?

(UPDATE: In September of 2020, charges were dropped against Matt Tonne, who was the defendant in the abuse allegations involving the Village Church.) 2008 introduced us to the idea of something being “too big to fail.” In that case it...

/ June 11, 2019

Five Theses on Preaching

(originally posted on Resident Theologian) 1. The principal subject matter for preaching, always and everywhere, is the triune God of Israel attested and revealed in the good news about Jesus, the Lord and Messiah of Israel. If a sermon could...

/ June 7, 2019