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,Continue reading “Death and Deviled Eggs”

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 toContinue reading “Holy Week Fragments: 30 Seconds at a Time”

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. HereContinue reading “Holy Week Fragments: Palm Sunday”

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 theyContinue reading “Rural Bible Readings: Psalm 50:1-3”

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 someContinue reading “Can these Porch Lights Still Glow?”

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 upContinue reading “This is my song, this is my story…”

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 5Continue reading “Learning to “Sit Watch””

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 buildingContinue reading “Honest Hope: A Lens for Viewing the Future”