Echoes of 1857

In 1857, the Reformed Church found itself fracturing when a faction saw themselves as purer than everyone else. Their separation had nothing to do with their ability to follow their consciences. They were not pushed out, they were not forced to function against their beliefs, and no one was forcing their beliefs or practices intoContinue reading “Echoes of 1857”

Rethinking the Artificial Binary

In 1857, my church communion, the Reformed Church in America, experienced a secession of several churches because those churches and ministers thought that the things that divided them were greater than those which held them together. The fact of the matter, however, is that the things which divided were far smaller than those which united,Continue reading “Rethinking the Artificial Binary”

Digressions in Church Polity: There are no members of the Reformed Church in America

For anyone familiar with my ecclesiastical communion, the Reformed Church in America, or anyone who has read my writing elsewhere as of late, perhaps you are aware of the struggles that our communion is facing regarding differing understandings of human sexuality. However, the real issues are much deeper, the real issues are the things belowContinue reading “Digressions in Church Polity: There are no members of the Reformed Church in America”

The tension of the green season

Sunday begins the long season after Pentecost with the green liturgical color. As a young child, I remember that we called it “the growing season.” Which fits both with the color and with the orientation. We call this season “ordinary time,” that is, there is nothing special. No Christmas, no Easter, no Pentecost. No specialContinue reading “The tension of the green season”

A letter to Martin Luther on Reformation Day

Dear Martin, Here we are, October 31st almost five hundred years after you posted your concerns on the town bulletin board, and the church is more divided than it has ever been. For better or for worse, that date has gone down in the annals of history as the day we broke the church. ThatContinue reading “A letter to Martin Luther on Reformation Day”

Wounds in the Body of Christ

Eendracht maakt Macht These words adorn the banner at the bottom of the crest of the Reformed Church in America. Often the translation into English is, “Unity makes strength” but, as I understand it, a better translation is “Concord makes strength” — a pulling together like a team of horses. *** The Christian church todayContinue reading “Wounds in the Body of Christ”

Assembling the church with young adults at the table

On Tuesday I leave for the meeting of the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America, the broadest assembly of my denomination, comprised of delegates from every region of the church from around the United States and Canada. It is the 207th regular session of the venerable assembly, and I never forget of theContinue reading “Assembling the church with young adults at the table”

“‘…for I am the LORD who heals you.'”

I have a parishioner, I will call him Larry.  Larry has been battling cancer for some time, and has seemed to be losing the battle.  It has metastasized in different places, and just a few short weeks ago, he did not expect to be here by Christmas. The pain was unbearable even with pain medicine,Continue reading ““‘…for I am the LORD who heals you.’””

this building is a mess

At 8:30pm standing over a flooding floor drain with a wet/dry vacuum trying to control the incessant water is not how I typically picture spending my one day off. However, this is exactly how I spent four and one half hours of my day off: sucking up water, and emptying the bucket. The only redeemingContinue reading “this building is a mess”

…God First Loved Us

I had the privilege of administering my first baptism yesterday.  It was an infant who was recently born of one of the families in our congregation. It was a wonderful celebration of the sacrament of baptism.  The liturgy is beautiful, the child was adorable and dressed in this lovely white dress.  She fussed a littleContinue reading “…God First Loved Us”