Brene Brown's work on shame and vulnerability points to three important themes for Christians: imperfection, authenticity, and wholeheartedness.
Room at my Table may seem, at at first glance, like light reading. Indeed, the lively prose and entertaining anecdotes make for quick page turning. But after digesting a few reflections, one finds a volume that is expertly written, and carefully crafted through and through. On a personal note, I was thoroughly impressed with the writing and the spiritual exposition displayed in this inspiring book.
Life today is as stressful as it has ever been, and this is reflected in the fact that anti-depressants are being prescribed at a higher rate than ever before. However, there is one age-old method that can reduce stress levels for free and without a prescription. People around the world rely on faith to see them through hard times. Faith and spirituality are abstract concepts, but they can lead to concrete results in mental health improvement and stress reduction.
Here is the question: Is Sunday school still valuable in building up the next generation of Christians? Or is it a tragic hindrance to the overall goals of the Christian community? The answer must take into account a full view of faith formation. But in short: Yes Sunday school is valuable. And yes, a traditional model of parish-based Christian education can still be effective is nurturing children and offering them knowledge, skills, and values to grow into adult followers of Jesus Christ.
By folding the palms into crosses, we underscore this drastic reversal, and the fickle human nature which brought it about. We recall how quickly triumph gave way to shame and suffering. This is a powerful way to enter Holy Week, and if you have never made a palm cross, here is our video to show you how. This is a high definition, easy to see, and easy to follow tutorial featuring our own Charlotte Greeson. Enjoy and share!
The Painting Table is a book by Roger Hutchison, which has inspired workshops during Lent and other seasons. Here he describes how he used his practice of painting with the spirit and your fingers to create a Lenten series.
Like many churches, we have a tradition of an Easter egg hunt for children. It's one of those things that we just always do, though no one knows when it started. Also like most churches, our attendance doubles on Easter morning, and we have many folks joining us for the first time, but for some reason we cancel Sunday School, and all we show visitors about our church is an egg hunt, which does nothing to tell the Christian story. So last year some of us started wondering aloud about how to send a better message on Easter.
They had bowed so low that their hair was over their faces that I wasn’t exactly sure what they were doing. After about two minutes, they rose and came back down the steps of the stage. I asked, “What were you doing bent over like that?” One of them looked up at me, and in the tone of voice only girls approaching their teenage years can produce said, “Well, praying, obviously!”
“That was fun!” “That was a great lesson!” I had always hoped to hear comments like these from the youth of the church where I serve. But I…
The purpose of Lenten discipline, I have discovered, is to draw closer to Jesus Christ. Full stop. Growing deeper into Christ’s love is the compelling reason to give something up for Lent; and it is no coincidence that this is also the only way to succeed in doing so.
You know the feeling. You’ve spent several hours reading the coming week’s curriculum session, putting together a lesson plan, gathering materials, and arriving early to make sure everything is in order before your class arrives. They might be children, youth, or adults. You're ready for them. And then... one or two participants show up – or no one does.
You agreed in a pre-pageant haze to take over this year's Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper. Lent seemed so far away... Now it's around the corner. You know people will show up, hungry. You know you have volunteers. What you don't know is how to turn on the church oven. Breathe. You can do this. We can help. Here at Building Faith we have BTDT experts to offer wisdom for just such occasions. BTDT, of course, stands for "Been There, Done That."
Home baked bread has been part of my life ever since I can remember. On Sundays my mother would take out the Joy of Cooking, turn to page 603, and…
Young people are not looking for the easy path in life. They don’t mind a challenge – it is too often us who fear the challenge. They are not looking for the path of least resistance.
On November 1st the church remembers the saints of God - all faithful servants and believers. The day is seen as a communion of saints who have died and of all Christian persons. All Hallows' Eve, October 31st (from which our Halloween traditions come); All Saints' Day; and All Souls' Day (November 2nd - the Day of the Faithful Departed), are connected by tradition and are often celebrated together.
After all, a child's lack of religion is often no less an example of intentional religious formation on the part of parents.
Three years ago, some of us wanted to create a space where people would feel free to have conversations about faith while they were at the block party. So we made two big signs that said: Free Coke if you Talk with us about Jesus for Three Minutes. We filled coolers with drinks, set up chairs, prayed, and waited to see what would happen.
There's a subtle movement underfoot in many of our cities. Young adults are putting their faith into action by living in faith communities that exist to serve those in the neighborhood in which they live.
Xers, brought up in a commercial-saturated culture where everyone is selling something will always be asking, "What's the hidden agenda? What's in it for the one telling me this? What is this really about?"
There is a new resource, accessible via the web that brings the voices of three of the Abrahamic traditions, sharing the story of the Exodus. As we enter the core events of the Jewish and Christian faiths - Passover and Holy Week - this conversation is worth participating in, especially as many congregations will be holding a "Christian Seder" which I believe denigrates both faith traditions.