The Common Good

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Five Things That Are Holding Christianity Back
Originally Posted: 09/23/2013 - 8:06am | Type: Blog

In my ongoing effort to help name trends and offer an alternative way of thinking about our faith, here are the five biggest things I’ve seen that tend to keep us from doing our best work as the living, breath ...

Pope Francis Tells Atheists to ‘Obey Their Conscience’
Originally Posted: 09/12/2013 - 11:52am | Type: Blog

Once again breaking with traditional Vatican protocol, Pope Francis on Wednesday penned a long letter to the Italian liberal daily La Repubblica to affirm that an “open dialogue free of prejudices” between Chr ...

Diverse But Not Integrated: Religion’s Race Problem
Originally Posted: 08/30/2013 - 9:21am | Type: Blog

The trouble is that, as the color-coded population distributions in the article point out, we’re just as segregated as before, despite living in relatively close proximity to one another. ...

Worshippers’ Digital Distraction May Not Be All Bad
Originally Posted: 08/20/2013 - 1:49pm | Type: Blog

Tyler Woolstenhulme might be loath to admit it, but sometimes he’s not paying attention in church. He will happily confess that he’s not the only one. Tyler Woolstenhulme might ...

The Church: Imitate or Innovate?
Originally Posted: 08/09/2013 - 1:43pm | Type: Blog

We all realize that a copy is never as good as the original. Unfortunately, we have a difficult time grasping this truth in the church. We have ceased innovating and settled for imitating. ...

The Fake Church v. the Real Church
Originally Posted: 01/02/2014 - 4:27pm | Type: Blog

Our faith in Christ gives us hope and strength and courage, but it doesn’t erase reality, and it isn’t meant to create a flawless utopia where we can escape from the world’s problems. But many churches attempt ...

What About the Women?
Originally Posted: 08/07/2013 - 8:38am | Type: Magazine Article

Carol Keehan Pope Francis is clearly on a mission to alter the status quo, but will that extend to greater freedom for women's leade ...

At the Door of the Church
Originally Posted: 08/02/2013 - 8:52am | Type: Blog

This is a challenge to white and black people of faith. [This is adapted from an earlier version of the article "At the Door of the Church," which appeared in the Nove ...

Moving From the Sanctuary to Social Networks
Originally Posted: 07/30/2013 - 1:38pm | Type: Blog

People are no longer tethered to the church at the corner, or to the denomination of their parents, or to the fast-fading routines of Sunday morning worship. People can seek God at whatever time or place the u ...

Climate Change and the Church
Originally Posted: 07/25/2013 - 2:49pm | Type: Blog

Expressing her opinion that climate change is no longer about energy efficient behavior but rather about national policy, spiritual leader, Marilyn Sewell argues the importance of what it takes to preserve the ...

A New Hymn for Lamenting Gun Violence and Racism
Originally Posted: 07/23/2013 - 7:43am | Type: Blog

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, a pastor who is a foster mother to a four year-old African American boy, wrote this hymn after George Zimmerman was found not guilty for his shooting of Trayvon Martin. ...

'Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)'
Originally Posted: 07/19/2013 - 9:38am | Type: Blog

If the Church is going to survive we can no longer talk around the issue of racism. We can’t pray around it, and we can’t Holy Ghost dance around it. We truly have to deal with it. ...

10 Things THE CHURCH Can't Do While Following Jesus
Originally Posted: 07/09/2013 - 7:28am | Type: Blog

The Christian church is full of Christians, right? Sadly, the reality is the answer to that question is heavily dependent on whom you are asking. The Christian church is full of ...

Church of the Open Doors
Originally Posted: 07/11/2013 - 9:22am | Type: Magazine Article

Brittany Shoot Beyond the Possible: 50 Years of Creating Radical Change at a Community Called Glide. HarperOne ...

Beers and Hymns
Originally Posted: 06/18/2013 - 11:56am | Type: Blog

A few months ago, Stephen Marsh, my fellow pastor, and I wondered whether we could spark a ministry by fusing two of our most treasured Lutheran traditions: beers and hymns. Within a few minutes of our convers ...

'From The Beginning:' Addressing the Roots of Sexual Violence in the Church
Originally Posted: 06/12/2013 - 2:06pm | Type: Blog

What about the manipulative behavior that gives rise to the delusion of consent? Was my pastor's not-quite-a-proposition an act of sexual violence? Editor’s Note : ...

Wounding and Welcome in the Church
Originally Posted: 06/12/2013 - 8:49am | Type: Magazine Article

Jason Howard Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christians Pilgrimage in Search of God in America. Harper TWO Y ...

From the Archives: July 1994
Originally Posted: 06/12/2013 - 8:49am | Type: Magazine Article

Richard Rohr Our Script Matters THE FUNCTION of healthy religion and church is to provide individuals and soc ...

Mumford and Sons: A Festival of Devotion
Originally Posted: 05/30/2013 - 2:39pm | Type: Blog

Maybe you know that they were interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine. You might even know they have been criticized by a few religious leaders for being lukewarm in their faith. Yeah. It's all out there fo ...

The Death of a Church and the Rise of Something New
Originally Posted: 05/29/2013 - 12:33pm | Type: Blog

I feel fairly certain the new that is rising is not about changing our music or adding a few new service projects. What is rising from the rubble of our past churches is a radical transformation calling us bac ...

The Revolution is Upon Us
Originally Posted: 05/21/2013 - 3:41pm | Type: Blog

Now comes a new millennium, and Christianity wears so many different faces that it’s difficult to speak of a single “Christian movement.” Religious historians say that every 500 ...

What If 'Sex Week' Came to First Baptist Church?
Originally Posted: 05/17/2013 - 8:38am | Type: Blog

With apologies to Campfield’s ever-vigilant protection of Christian sensibilities, the real problem here is not that mandatory student fees are being used to promote sexual education and awareness. The problem ...

Illuminated
Originally Posted: 05/15/2013 - 9:05am | Type: Magazine Article

Rose Marie Berger Mass in Las Choapas, Mexico On my knees I beg forgiveness for my greed— and for starving m ...

'This Doesn't Go Away'
Originally Posted: 05/24/2013 - 1:12pm | Type: Magazine Article

Amy Simpson Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission by Amy Simpson FOR SERIOUS AND chron ...

With Piercing Wit and Deep Affection
Originally Posted: 05/15/2013 - 9:05am | Type: Magazine Article

Jason Byassee When "Spiritual but Not Religious" Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Suprising Places, Even the Church. Jericho Books ...

Why I Made My Teenager Go to Church
Originally Posted: 05/06/2013 - 2:44pm | Type: Blog

In this age when the “spiritual but not religious” seem to have more relevance than churchgoers, it’s easy to wonder why church attendance matters at all. But I believe that we need common spaces, more ground ...

America's Rough Week
Originally Posted: 04/19/2013 - 12:49pm | Type: Blog

Life is difficult. It can knock you down. Sometimes, an entire nation gets knocked down. Life is difficult. It can knock you down. Sometimes, an entire nation gets knocked down. ...

Be Ready to Be Changed
Originally Posted: 04/18/2013 - 8:49am | Type: Blog

We’re surrounded by beauty all of the time. Sometimes we just need a little help seeing it. We have a group at our church that does a weekly sandwich ministry together. Though we ...

Boston Marathon’s Holy Ground and Sacred Bonds
Originally Posted: 04/17/2013 - 10:09am | Type: Blog

Monday’s bombing may have tested that bond, but it couldn’t destroy it. Marathoning may look like a solitary journey, but it’s a communal one. Like everything in life, you need plenty of people — and plenty o ...

Atheists Find a Sunday-Morning Connection with Other Nonbelievers
Originally Posted: 04/16/2013 - 3:48pm | Type: Blog

Sunday mornings at Houston Oasis may look and feel of a church, but there’s no cross, Bible, hymnal, or stained glass depictions of Jesus. There’s also nary a trace of doctrine, dogma, or theology. ...

Fifty Years Later, Church Leaders Respond to King’s 'Birmingham Jail' Letter
Originally Posted: 04/15/2013 - 11:17am | Type: Blog

Fifty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged white church leaders to confront racism, an ecumenical network has responded to his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” F ...

How Will I Know I Have Given Enough?
Originally Posted: 04/12/2013 - 1:07pm | Type: Blog

I am advocating that individual Christians and church communities stop thinking of serving others as a line in a budget of many competing priorities, and begin to think about emulating God’s grace as central t ...

Change or Die
Originally Posted: 04/09/2013 - 3:33pm | Type: Blog

Church is being reinvented. So are technology and education. And all for the same reasons. Church is being reinvented. So are technology and education. And all for the same reas ...

A Glorious Mess
Originally Posted: 07/24/2013 - 2:26pm | Type: Magazine Article

Elaina Ramsey Everyone can use guidelines—and repair manuals—for living in Christian community. ANYONE WHO LI ...

Pope Francis Says Women Play a ‘Fundamental’ Role Within the Church
Originally Posted: 04/03/2013 - 3:08pm | Type: Blog

Pope Francis on Wednesday said women play a “fundamental role” in the Catholic Church as those who are mostly responsible for passing on the faith from one generation to the next. ...

House of Prayer and Dreams
Originally Posted: 03/18/2013 - 8:32am | Type: Magazine Article

Edwidge Danticat Haiti's once and future cathedral is a place of healing and memory. WE WERE LOOKING at ...

Breaking the Impasse
Originally Posted: 03/28/2013 - 8:32am | Type: Magazine Article

Wes Granberg-Michaelson It's time to reframe the church's conversation around same-sex relationships. ...

CrossFit: A Secular Church?
Originally Posted: 03/11/2013 - 4:41pm | Type: Blog

I think CrossFit is like secular church. It offers more than weight loss or fitness. It speaks to our innate desires for community, purpose, and transformation. The first Christma ...

On the Inside Looking Out
Originally Posted: 03/07/2013 - 11:11am | Type: Blog

We did a focus group here as part of strategic planning at Trinity Episcopal Church. CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — We did a focus group here as part of strategic planning at Trinity Epis ...

Sorry To Burst Your Bubble
Originally Posted: 02/27/2013 - 7:40am | Type: Blog

The bubble I see bursting is establishment Christianity in America. It is bursting ever so slowly, even as millions of people still find life, meaning, safety, and structure inside. ...

Six Questions for Frank Mugisha
Originally Posted: 11/12/2014 - 12:26pm | Type: Magazine Article

Elizabeth Palmberg Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda Bio: Executive director ...

To Protect and To Heal
Originally Posted: 03/21/2013 - 10:45am | Type: Magazine Article

Aimee Kang The Cry of Tamar: Violence Against Women and the Church's Response. Fortress Press. OVER DINN ...

As Flu Outbreak Spreads, Faith Leaders Preach Caution
Originally Posted: 01/18/2013 - 4:41pm | Type: Blog

As the flu outbreak spreads across 48 states, some religious leaders are advising their flocks to take precautions, but others say avoiding infection is just a matter of common sense. ...

When Radical Welcome Gets Messy
Originally Posted: 01/16/2013 - 9:06am | Type: Blog

It’s easier to guide the vision and mission of a church you start. It’s another thing to help a 135-year-old congregation reimagine what it means to be a downtown urban church in a world that has changed drama ...

'Relevance' Is Not Enough
Originally Posted: 01/14/2013 - 9:52am | Type: Magazine Article

Anne Marie Roderick Joshua Witchger Many young adults are leaving the church these day ...

Fred Phelps’ Son Condemns Westboro’s Plan to Picket Newtown Funerals
Originally Posted: 12/17/2012 - 4:32pm | Type: Blog

The estranged son of a Kansas pastor famous for protesting the funerals of soldiers and AIDS victims has condemned his family’s plans to picket the funerals of the 26 people — including 20 children — who were ...

Eucharist: A Call For The Church to Be One
Originally Posted: 12/14/2012 - 11:01am | Type: Blog

When it comes to sharing the Eucharist among faithful but separated Christ followers, I wonder if Jesus is waiting for the churches simply to be the Church? When it comes to shari ...

Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future
Originally Posted: 12/03/2012 - 8:35am | Type: Blog

Anyone who has been paying attention has noticed that, of those left within the walls of most churches, the majority still hanging in there are women. I’ll preface this piece my ...

The Circle of Life
Originally Posted: 01/07/2014 - 11:14am | Type: Magazine Article

Nyambura J. Njoroge Adapted from "Women as Compassionate Champions: The Doers and the Leaders," by Nyambura J. Njorage, in Wome ...

Getting Started
Originally Posted: 01/07/2014 - 11:07am | Type: Magazine Article

Beth Newberry Your congregation—large or small—has more to invest than you might expect. WANT TO PUT money to ...