Intelligent People

Intelligent People

I met a rare kind of person last week.

He was what I’ll describe as a genuinely intelligent person.

There are plenty of smart or knowledgeable people around, and given that I spend a lot of time around “academic types”…

Thinking Changes Things

In October 1929, the U.S. Stock Market crashed.

Investors lost billions of dollars; were drained of their sense of invincibility; and confronted with the limits of industrialization and human power.

This unprecedented event set in motion the Great Depression—a deep…

Are you speaking the truth in love?

I’m revisiting some of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Few have written better on the matter of community.

I came across his thoughts on speaking the truth in love in community that I find timely.

I’ll confess I remain perpetually…

Something We Urgently Need to Improve Upon, and One Way to Do So


We urgently need to improve our listening.

Or, more precisely, at knowing how we’re listening (or not), and how to shift listening “channels.”


Sure, we’re not so bad at hearing and receiving communication, taking in information, and doing…

How to be a Popular Leader

Every once in a while I need to challenge someone by asking, “Do you want to be liked or do you want to be effective?”

In one sense it’s a false choice, but in another, leaders often will have to…

Learning and Experience

A couple of educators I know are high on what they call “experiential learning.”

They try to be “creative” in the use of “interactive” learning methods in their teaching: skits, simulations, role-play, art activity, dramatizations, etc.

Given the dearth of…

One stitch at a time: What My Grandmothers Taught Me

There was Nana Olson and there was Nana Yates and there was Gramma Westcott.

The older I get the more I am aware of what a lucky woman I am.

I was well into adulthood with children of my own…

7 Things to know about leadership

The concept of leadership has seen its own evolution.

What constitutes a leader and leadership in fields of study and in various contexts have changed over the decades.

Over the years some concepts have proven more helpful, and more…

Why the Desert Mothers and Fathers Still Matter

In one of his daily emails, the popular Franciscan writer Richard Rohr once admitted that he has some issues with the sayings of the Desert Mothers and Fathers — the early Christian hermits and monastics who lived in Egypt, Palestine…

How does transformation work in the church?

I’ve been hearing a lot about “church transformation” lately: many church denominations have transformational initiatives, to help turn around declining congregations.

There’s a lot of pressure on clergy leaders to produce results, especially numerical growth.

The pressure exists elsewhere, too:…

Blackness and a Theology of Care

From 2005 to 2010, I worked as a supervisor at the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department in the county jail.

My mother retired as a prison guard after thirty years of working for the state of Alabama Department of Corrections.


Teachers, this is why planning is important

One of the most frustrating things for congregational educators is the dirty little secret about their teachers and planning.

That secret being that most volunteer church educators, Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders, tend to do a minimum of…

How They Helped Me Recover

It was so unexpected!

I could not understand why it was happening. How ‘they’ could let me go.

My programs were successful.

I had faithfully served in this church for eighteen years.

I was hurt.

I was embarrassed.

I was…

What Will You Do?

In Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) the concept of differentiation of self is all about functioning.

One manifestation of the extent to which one is functioning in a self-differentiated manner is how well one can separate feeling from thinking.


Mentor Coaching Through the Center for Lifelong Learning

Ministry coaching has become a movement in most denominations over that last ten years helping gifted pastors get unstuck and find life-giving pathways forward.


Mentor Coaching by the Center for Lifelong Learning is offered to trained coaches as the…