Apply Now to Attend Jazz as a Metaphor for Ministry: The Power of Improvisation

Apply Now to Attend Jazz as a Metaphor for Ministry: The Power of Improvisation

Jazz as a Metaphor for Ministry: The Power of Improvisation is the topic that the Thompson Scholars will explore April 24-27, 2018 at the Center for Lifelong Learning on the Columbia Theological Seminary campus.

Designed by a team of leaders steeped…

When Ordaining Women Is Still An Issue

This will be my last post for several days.  I am traveling to Italy for a conference on the Ecumenical Perspectives on the Role of Women in the Church.

There are still some Christian traditions that don’t ordain women.


Trusting the Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something…

“What has our church been doing wrong?”

September 14, 2017—This was a question posed to me by a very concerned member of the congregation a year into my time there as interim pastor there. As happens often during interim periods, church membership, attendance, and giving were lower.

“Yes, And . . .”—Wholehearted Guest, Rev. Marthame Sanders

September 7, 2017Lisle Gwynn Garrity, MDiv and MAPT ’15, recently interviewed Marthame Sanders on her blog A Sanctified Art. She has generously allowed us to repost their interview. If you like Marthame’s use of creativity and improv in…

Discussing Church: Disability, Donuts, Faith, and Friendship

August 31, 2017—Sitting down to dinner with a group of friends with intellectual disabilities, I asked if they’d help me with this blog post on how churches can be more intentional about welcoming and fully involving people with intellectual disabilities….

Biblical Terror

August 24, 2107—Everywhere we turn, it seems we come face to face with terror: a missile threat from North Korea, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, a refugee crisis in South Sudan, and the seemingly ubiquitous specter racism, sexism, violence,…

Were You Scared for Your Life?

“Absolutely, I was,” replied Rev. Traci Blackmon when asked if she was more scared in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend than when she was as a little kid watching a KKK march.

I was home alone during Christmas break my first…

scared in St. Paul's

Fear, Clay, and Takeaways: Creative Persistence

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending time at the Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina. Montreat is one of those oasis-type spots where time stops, people are unusually friendly, square dancing occurs on Friday evenings, creative expression abounds, and…

creative clay work

It’s All Part of the Pilgrimage

“It’s All Part of the Pilgrimage. . .”

This is the phrase we were encouraged to repeat to ourselves as we set out for the Holy Land in the early spring of 2014. There were twenty-seven of us from all…

Moving Prayer

By Kathryn Sparks, Adjunct Faculty of Liturgical Dance, Wesley Theological Seminary.

July 20, 2017—Praying through bodily movement is an ancient form of communication with God and is practiced by people of every faith expression in the world. Indeed, prayer offered through…

Beauty, Variety, and the Presence of God

By Mark Douglas, Professor of Christian Ethics.

Over thirty years ago, cosmologist Thomas Berry wrote,

Because our sense of the divine is so extensively derived from verbal sources, mostly through the biblical Scriptures, we seldom notice how much we…

Intentional Reformations

By Sarah Erickson, Director of Lifelong Learning.

I was born in 1954, in northeast Ohio, the same year as Brown v. Board of Education. My school district integrated with little fanfare, or so it seemed to me, by the time…

Discovering What You Need in the Storm

By Monica Citty Hix, Certificate in Spiritual Formation graduate.

When a winter ice storm hit Atlanta in February 2014, it wreaked havoc on the city and prompted the leadership in the Lifelong Learning program to cancel a class on Hildegard…

Texts of Terror

By Ryan Bonfiglio, Lecturer in Old Testament, and Certificate in Spiritual Formation course leader.

The Bible is full of beautiful passages that nourish the soul and inspire our faith. There are parables about hidden treasures and forgiven sons. There are…