Category - Pastoral Theology

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A Sermon Checklist for Pastors and Congregants
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The Tension We Face
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Serving Time in the Pew
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The Life We Leave Behind
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Here’s To Substantive Sermons
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Will There be A Seminary Tomorrow?
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THOSE ANNUAL IRRELEVANT AWARDS
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THE LAST WORD
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Reports From My Annual Pilgrimage

A Sermon Checklist for Pastors and Congregants

Here is an article I wrote this Spring that SermonSearch recently published. It brings together practices pastors devoted to preaching should consider–and parishioners should expect–   A Checklist For Setting Sermons to Flight by John E. Johnson In a chapter entitled, “The Checklist,” Atul Gawande recounts the 1935 test flight of the “flying fortress.” The[…]

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The Tension We Face

Every week, I get the pleasure of dialoguing with future leaders of the church, a.k.a. seminary students. I am confident in them, though I fear for the contemporary church and its waning influence. These students will enter a world that is losing both its mind and its soul. They will step into churches, some of[…]

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Serving Time in the Pew

Last night in class, one of my students asked me how many sermons I have preached over the course of 35 years. A brief calculation suggests approximately 1400 sermons. How many times I have spoken is another matter, given I typically preached 2-5 times per week.  That’s a lot of sermonizing—a lot of my life–a[…]

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The Life We Leave Behind

I have been on a long journey—a writing journey. It explains my absence from blogging, and a lot of other things. I have fallen into a few narcoleptic comas along the way, but now that the manuscript has been sent off to the publisher (Missing Voices, Langham Publishing), I have come out into the light[…]

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Here’s To Substantive Sermons

Monday mornings I sometimes compare notes with others who have survived the terrors of a Sunday pulpit to live another day. I ask how they are faring. A secondary question is whether or not our congregants survived. Did they hear a word from God? Did the Spirit show up? Were they rocked out of their[…]

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Will There be A Seminary Tomorrow?

It’s not an easy time to be a professor in theological education. I stare out my third story window on a campus that used to be abuzz with students– every day. Now it is a place of tranquility, a park interrupted only by the occasional bark of a dog or sound of a bird. Most[…]

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THOSE ANNUAL IRRELEVANT AWARDS

Every year in the Fall, evangelical theologians gather from around the world to present instructive and challenging papers on a variety of important topics. This week, it was fitting to meet in Providence, Rhode Island on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Here, Roger Williams (not to be confused with the sentimental songwriter) planted a[…]

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THE LAST WORD

Last summer, I watched the movie, “The Last Word.” Shirley MacLaine plays the character, Harriet Lauler. She lives in comfortable isolation, friendless and alone. She is aware that death is closing in on her, so she commissions a local obituary writer to do her story. She does not want to leave it to chance. Summing[…]

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Reports From My Annual Pilgrimage

  For a few brief days every November, I step into a world of scholars. I sometimes feel a bit like a fish out of water. Out of a pastoral world of broken marriages and prayer requests (like a family sharing their fears that their daughter will be evicted or a cancer will continue to[…]

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