In pursuit of transformative communities

In pursuit of transformative communities

I want to make what is sure to be a contested assertion: The way that we celebrate Black History month will not result in a transformed or transformative society

We live our lives as a collection of stories. 

During Black…

Unwinding Tornados: Three Conflict Transformations

Conflict can feel like a tornado. 

A triggering event gathers energies, building momentum as it soon starts taking over everything, pulling everything up into swirling chaos. 

Conflict with tornadic force can derail trains of thought and easily uproot the best-laid plans.   

Like a tornado, conflict can rip through a…

Who are we becoming?

I have been a faculty member at CTS since 1991.

I was not looking for a job when a senior professor mentor told me that the seminary was looking for an African American professor.

He knew that I had…

My Most Meaningful Mission Engagement

One of my most meaningful mission engagements was my first mission experience.  

 A van full of adults and two teenagers (my brother and I) left early one morning from East Tennessee for a day trip to an Appalachian region of Kentucky.

There we met another group of people, and we were all separated into two groups.

Return of the Prodgical

 This extended season of Covidtide (#covidtide) has been a liturgical season unlike any other. 

For many of us,  the restrictions on socializing have created isolation for some, while for others the advice to stay-at-home has given us too much of the same people.

This season has…

Come to the Table

I am excited about facilitating the 2022 Colloquy for Young Black Church Clergy with James Ellis, III.

These are trying times we are in and one major lesson I have learned in ministry is that you can’t do this…

A Sense of Wonder

Winters where I live, along the rugged coast of Maine, are a test of character.

The snows make their first appearance in November and remain a regular if occasional presence through May.

When the first real blizzard comes, it drops…

How to say you’re sorry

Here’s an important lesson I learned from one of my teachers, Dave Ellis: how to apologize.

(He’s the author of one of my favorite books, Falling Awake: Creating the Life of Your Dreams) Dave said when you have to apologize,…

Young Black Clergy and Community

“God is never in a state of inertia.”

I’ve found that those seasoned by the salt of fruitful testimony regularly toss around these kinds of sage gems.

Prone to selective amnesia and idolatrous meandering as we are, these declarations are…

rekindle interview: “My hope is that congregations receive encouragement, rest, hope, courage, and collegial wisdom”

Columbia Theological Seminary recently received a grant of $969,528 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the “reKindle: Congregational Development in a Post COVID-19 Era” program through its Center for Lifelong Learning.  


The reKindle Impact Grant will help realize the goal of the Thriving…

“Let’s Pretend That Didn’t Happen”

After a disturbing event in a church I was serving a while back, the elders were discussing how to respond. One elder – a distinguished older man – said this:

Let’s just pretend like it didn’t happen.



The Help You Never Knew You Needed

It was sometime in the early 2000s that I was searching the interwebs for some ministry ideas and I ran across this thing called S3, a grant offered by the Center for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary.

Being on…

Doodling with God: An Active Prayer

Everyone can doodle! No skill required! The movement of coloring and drawing can help you center and see your unspoken prayers.

Below are two simple ways to begin. You will need a sheet of paper (or a journal like this…

Advent Resources: Walk a Labyrinth

The labyrinth is an ancient symbol and path found in many cultures. In our tradition, it is used to represent the Christian journey, walked to deepen one’s relationship with God. The path in is the path out.

Walking a labyrinth…

Hallelujahs in Hell

I had never heard the term “hallelujahs in hell” until yesterday.

Apparently that term is used in a Kiss song (which is actually “Hell or Hallelujah“), a semi-famous church video on the topic of eternal damnation, and numerous Good Friday sermon…