It bears repeating…

One thing rural communities rely on is repetition. Repetition creates consistency, memory, and tradition. This repetition matters, whether it is football of Fridays in the fall, the festival on the first weekend of May, or knowing who to call when someone in the community dies to get the prayer and meal train going. I’ve learnedContinue reading “It bears repeating…”

Expanding Theological Education

With the pandemic beginning to taper off, I am finally getting to offer in-person courses again (I know the proper protocols to maintain safety, am encouraging people to only sign up if vaccinated, mask up, and maintain distance). Some of my favorite in-person courses are United Methodist Studies courses offered in my district for layContinue reading “Expanding Theological Education”

The Importance of Place

I spent some time on my parents’ land yesterday. I try to walk the land regularly, but in the past few years it’s been harder as I’ve been working more. I found myself in my grandparents backyard. I was next to Pawpaw’s old truck. The tires are now flat and it’s grown over with vines,Continue reading “The Importance of Place”

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”

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…”

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”