In the new book, Accidental Saints, Finding God in All the Wrong People, Nadia Bolz-Weber, the tattoo-having, curse-word-saying pastor of the Church of All Saints and Sinners, tells of seeking a new saint, one she could model her life after as she began a new church. She found Alma White, who planted a church in 1901. Alma Bridwell White was the founder and a bishop of the Pillar of Fire Church and in 1918, she became the first female bishop in the United States. She was noted for her feminism and “her association with [wait for it…] the Ku Klux Klan, her anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, anti-Pentecostalism,Read More →

Today I am grateful for all those who have gone before… All Saint’s Day always reminds me of Barbara Watts–a minister, chaplain, and friend who passed a few years ago. She was the first woman minister ordained by my home congregation. She liked outrageous outfits and matching (fabulous) shoes. She was a role model. And, in so many ways, a saint. Flawed, like all of us. Fiercely feminine. And so loving. She taught me the power of prayer, the niceness of notes, and the supremacy of song. I miss you, Barbie. Thank you.Read More →

Based on 2 Samuel 5:1-6, 6:1-5 I’ve been wondering how to define the word “church.” The dictionary definition is “a building used for Christian worship.” Or “a particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrine.” And the Urban Dictionary, my favorite, says that church means, “to strongly agree, as if it is law.” As in, “Wake Forest Baptist Church is awesome!” to which the reply is “Church!” The Bible defines an ecclesia, or assembly, first, as the body of Christ, and it is often defined as a local assembly or group of believers. It is also referred to as theRead More →

Based on Ruth 1:1-24 The book of Ruth is found just after the Book of Judges. In the first sentences, the book of Ruth places itself in the time of judges during a time of famine. Naomi, her husband and sons, move to Moab, where the sons marry. Then the father dies, the sons die, and Naomi, Ruth and Orpah are left together. You know, many people believe that the Hebrew people of our Bible were not an evangelizing group. That there was a matrilineal aspect of Judaism that could not be circumvented. But they’d be wrong. There are lots of examples of just theRead More →

Based on Deuteronomy 6:1–21; 6:4–9 I was talking with a friend of mine this week. She’s the pastor of a congregation in a situation like many congregations. It’s a congregation in danger of dying. With an aging population, a neighborhood around them where the demographics are completely different than the families who are members of the church, and they have a huge, old building that’s dark and has lots of deferred maintenance hanging over them. They called my friend three years ago, thinking that with her progressive theology and young family, that she’d save the church. The first year was full of hope. The second year,Read More →