Tag: Rural Church

  • Death and Deviled Eggs

    Death and Deviled Eggs

    A few years ago, I was on my way to a funeral. An in person, non-masking, church member funeral with a receiving of friends, a service, and committal. Funerals remind me of funerals, the same way this Christmas will remind you of last Christmas. So many of the practices are the same. At this funeral, […]

  • Holy Week Fragments: 30 Seconds at a Time

    Holy Week Fragments: 30 Seconds at a Time

    Here’s a link to today’s lectionary text – John 13:1-17, 31-35 The commentaries for today’s scripture remind us of a couple things. 1) There is a meal in John, but it is not the Lord’s Supper in the traditional sense but it connects to it. 2) The foot washing is something crucial to community to […]

  • Holy Week Fragments: Palm Sunday

    Holy Week Fragments: Palm Sunday

    As the Scholar in Residence at First UMC, Newton, I challenged the congregation to read the gospel lectionary text for each day of Holy Week and to sit with it. Of course, I am doing this too. I wanted to provide my first thoughts on Holy Week from a rural theologian and Christian educator. Here […]

  • Rural Bible Readings: Psalm 50:1-3

    Rural Bible Readings: Psalm 50:1-3

    I regularly teach the course “Engaging the Bible in Rural Ministry.” Throughout the course I work to instill the understanding that the Bible is a rural text. Rural communities find themselves in the text through the patterns of life, the imagery, story, and prophecy. When rural communities connect their story with the biblical story they […]

  • Can these Porch Lights Still Glow?

    Can these Porch Lights Still Glow?

    There’s a saying from that annals of rural southern mythology that goes something like “If the porch light’s on, come on in.” I think this statement is designed to promote the idea or heritage of rural hospitality. The idea that country folk will welcome anyone in need need into their homes. I can, with some […]

  • This is my song, this is my story…

    This is my song, this is my story…

    I’m in the process of relocating to a new office on a different floor of the church where I serve as the scholar in residence. At first, I was hesitant to agree to move. I wanted to be closer to the rest of the staff, and, let’s be honest, the microwave. But, I’ve warmed up […]

  • Learning to “Sit Watch”

    Learning to “Sit Watch”

    This pile of used surgical masks is my reminder that in the past month, I’ve clocked more hours in hospitals than in my office. A family health issue—one that I won’t go into too much detail here because of privacy and the reality that it is still ongoing—has me coming and going from a 5 […]

  • Honest Hope: A Lens for Viewing the Future

    Honest Hope: A Lens for Viewing the Future

    One thing I see rural (and not so rural) church folk struggle with in this pandemic is the fear that when church life emerges post-pandemic, they won’t recognize their church anymore. Many sources will tell you that rural churches are anchor institutions in communities that regularly experience seasonal, industrial, and cultural shifts. The church building […]