17 Jan 2018

Sermon-less Church: A Thought Experiment

“If you took away the sermon from your worship service, what sort of theology could you construct from what remains?” Sometime back, a Facebook friend shared this quote from Pastor Mark Jones and it got me thinking. What would a sermon-less church service look like? What messages and theology would it convey? Would we attend? Just how central is the sermon to Christian worship? In order to really consider this question, consider the state of

Jacob Prahlow 0
30 Oct 2017

Having the Goodwill of All the People

Praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved (Acts 2:47 NRSV). This is the final article in a series of reflections on the early church as portrayed in Acts 2:41-47. The previous articles in this series are available in the author’s archives. Acts 2:41-47 paints a compelling and attractive portrait of the early Christian church. Founded on the

Jarrett Dickey 0
02 Oct 2017

Spending Time Together in the Temple

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple… (Acts 2:46a NRSV). This article is a continuation of a series of articles on Acts 2:41-47. The previous articles in this series can be found in the author’s archives. I teach classes on the Bible, world religions, and humanities at several community colleges in my area. Each semester I notice that students seem genuinely surprised when they learn about the Jewish roots of

Jarrett Dickey 0
18 Sep 2017

Assembling Day by Day

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts (Acts 2:46 NRSV). This article continues a series of articles on the early Christian church as depicted in Acts 2:41-47. Previous articles in the series are available in the author’s archives. As discussed in the previous article in this series, the early Christian church was marked by a spirit

Jarrett Dickey 1
30 Aug 2017

The King of All Creation

  The King of All Creation The Book of Tobit The demon Asmodeus swept the sky all ownership and prowess, casting through each curtain of wind, cresting toward the maiden’s bower. “I am the king of all creation, I am the high-rise towering over the tenements! I am the mighty Asmodeus, conqueror, seducer, deepest shadow of the strongest light, widower, crucible, biggest bubble in the soaphouse, bug of bugs!” Swifter than an accidental fart, he

Daniel Hyland 1
11 Jul 2017

Reflections on a Mega Church Experience

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Bethel Church in Redding, California. For those unfamiliar with this church, Bethel was founded in 1952 by Robert Doherty and grew steadily from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Following the call of current senior pastor Bill Johnson in 1996, Bethel underwent a time of divisiveness followed by a period of tremendous growth. Currently, Bethel has approximately 9,000 weekly attendees—easily categorizing it as a mega church—and

Jacob Prahlow 2
07 Jun 2017

Because of joy I am exposed

Because of joy I am exposed 2 Samuel 6:16-23 When God has brought me home to Him by coming home to me, I will be unable to listen to you, even if you weep. I have to go and thank Him. God has come into the city of my soul; each breath is like an exile freed. The truth no longer grieves me. My laughter is like tambourines. I will continue to dance with swinging

Daniel Hyland 1
15 May 2017

Webber on the Purpose of Worship

“My longing for a more satisfying worship grew as each route I took in worship led me to a dead end street. But after giving up the evangelistic approach to worship and after the unfulfilling experience of educational worship, I didn’t know what to do next. I was running out of reasons for being at church (Webber, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail).”1 In the opening quote above, Robert Webber’s personal experiences raise a legitimate question,

Jarrett Dickey 7
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10 May 2017

Soli Deo Gloria

Soli Deo Gloria    John 6:56-58 Soli Deo God alone gloria glory untouchable yet the light Comes down to this particular place all gathered and acclaiming With one voice one eternal song one renewal of one Face All light creating here that City without darkness this Word The City’s light Himself the small white votive candles and the liturgy Our prayers another voice the single Word resounding as light Giving each new birth each grace

Daniel Hyland 1
19 Apr 2017

Reasonable Worship

I know I’m a sinner, of that I am sure I am sick to the death and I need a cure In fact I am dead and must be called forth Totally bankrupt, of less than no worth If there is no savior especially for me If there was no battle to let me go free If there was no righteousness traded for sin There would be no life I could enter in But how

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
12 Apr 2017

Holy Week

Holy Week This week there is another, one more child lost within the darkness of my womb. How I have tried to care for them, and carry them, my life’s portion, delicate burdens, slowly forming crosses to bear–or prove unable to bear. As Mary watched her womb’s fruit, ripe in its own blood, fall on the road to Golgotha– once, twice, a third time, cords lashing around His crippled form, until it was impossible to

Daniel Hyland 3
08 Mar 2017

Fit for a Cassock

Today we’ll see if I measure up, Or maybe it’s more fitting to say I’ll be fitted, But I have a feeling it’ll feel like fig leaves covering up the things that ought to be laid on the altar and burned instead of covered in black lamb’s wool. There’s nobody more fitting to do the fitting for a new skin than the one who made my first birthday suit, and was part of the pattern

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
06 Mar 2017

The Danger of Christian Primitivism

While writing my previous article that praised the virtues of Christian primitivism and its capacity to spark church renewal, it occurred to me that it would be appropriate to address the inherent dangers of Christian primitivism.  Simply put, Christian primitivism is an ideological viewpoint that attempts to restore Christianity to the original structures and practices of the New Testament Church because it is believed that the Church has strayed from its own foundation over the

Jarrett Dickey 8
20 Feb 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Primitivism

This article is the fourth article in a series on house church. You can find the first article about my journey to house church here. The other articles in the series are about the communal nature of house church and the liturgy of house church. Throughout the history of the Christian church, believers have often found themselves drawn back to the New Testament Church as depicted in the book of Acts and the epistles. The

Jarrett Dickey 7
06 Feb 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Work of the People

This article is the third article in a series on house church.  You can find the first article about my journey to house church here, and the second article about the communal nature of house church here. Recently I was talking with a younger Christian friend about the cyclical nature of worship styles and preferences. Based on anecdotal evidence and personal intuition, I suggested that college-aged persons may be more and more drawn toward traditional expressions

Jarrett Dickey 2
19 Oct 2016

We Don’t Belong in the Woods

This poem was mostly written on the Appalachian Trail between Max Patch and Hot Springs, NC, where I was walking for two days with my son Andy last week. You can see our hike in photos here: Ken & Andy Hike the AT I suppose my attitude may morph with remembrance rather than endurance, but I think my final conclusion still holds true.   God put nature out where we Can ignore it except on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
07 Sep 2016

Podcasts in Review

I’ve fallen into a routine of listening. Not to background music, not even to audiobooks—although I enjoy both—but shorter form podcasts. These present information in an episodic and serial manner, which can be completed without as much fear of getting lost in either the length or the breadth of the material. As I’ve formed the routine, the podcasts have lined up naturally for me in basic time slots and order. These podcasts are not all

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
13 Jun 2016

Modern Liturgical Denial and UnBiblical Anthropology

I have been reading a lot about St. Benedict these days.  I’ve been curious about him for a while now, but I am now finding the need to immerse myself in his ways and his teachings.  For one, my family and I are coming into the Anglican fold and, in the process of seeking ordination, I am going to begin studying this fall at Nashotah House Seminary.  One of the incentives for reading St. Benedict

TJ Humphrey 3
27 May 2016

The Shadow of the Sacred

The Shadow of the Sacred I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to tour Israel and visit a number of historical and sacred sites. And as I fully anticipated from the beginning, the trip’s most memorable moments by far were found within the city of Jerusalem. Seated at the intersection of three different faith traditions—Jewish, Christian, and Islamic—the city has been contested for centuries, and currently exists in an uneasy “status quo” arrangement predicated on mutual

John Ehrett 1
22 Feb 2016

Is Sprinkling the Best Way to Baptize?

Here in the Bible Belt, sacramental Christians sometimes feel like the nerdy kid on the playground when it comes to explaining our practices of baptism.  In many Baptist, Pentecostal, and nondenominational congregations, baptism is only done “as John the Baptist did it.” That means getting dunked like an early morning cruller in hot coffee. For many in my part of the world, baptism means one thing: immersion. United Methodists actually aren’t against immersion (which is

Drew McIntyre 6