Clergy Confessional (31) – It’s Not About You

I feel like I have been a coach forever. From the time I served my first church (1984-86), I have volunteered in local high schools with the wrestling team. I took four years off from that to coach college, but as my children grew, I offered to coach their soccer and wrestling teams. These were…

Clergy Confessional (30) – Why are we so bad at sharing our faith?

Maybe it has to do with all of the (from our perspective) crazy people knocking on doors to convince you of your eternal demise. Maybe we watch the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons in their nice clothes and good haircuts¬† parading up and down the street and think “I wouldn’t be caught dead doing that!” I…

Clergy Confessional (29) Why the Church is Stuck

While I am occasionally prone to exaggeration, I am not prone to lying. I often say that most of our mainline churches are either stuck in 1850 or 1950 – and I think this is one of the main reasons they close. The church should be timely and timeless, but not trapped in time. It…

Clergy Confessional (28) – False Prophets

In the Old Testament there are two kinds of prophets – the ones called by God, and the ones who were Yes Men for the Kings. The prophets called by God almost always challenged the political leaders of the nation, while the Yes Men told the Kings what they wanted to hear. The prophets called…

Clergy Confessional (27) Are all opinions created equal?

So many opinions, so little time. The internet has opened the door to greater equality of thought – and this is often a good thing. The bad aspect of it is that now it doesn’t matter how much you know about a particular subject – if you thunk it, then it must be true! It…

Clergy Confessional (26) The Walmarting of the Church

“The Walmart Effect” is a term used to describe how “big box” stores, with their ability to undercut local shops and businesses, are able to close down whole towns by opening on a main highway. This happens with many different kinds of establishments – Bass Pro and Target, for example – and it is having…

Clergy Confessional (25) Some of My Best Friends are…

I heard that a lot growing up – Some of my best friends are… – usually having to do with African Americans. Along with “He’s one of the good ones” or “I have no problem with them as long as they leave me alone.” Words matter, and statements like these shine a light on who…

Clergy Confessional (24) When Moral Becomes Political

I recently saw a quote (unattributed) that went something like this, “Sermons become political when they disagree with our personal agenda.” To say that sermons should never be political is a foolish statement – if that is your opinion, you probably never read the Bible. The prophets and Jesus were constantly challenging the governments and…

Clergy Confessional (23) Releasing the Bitterness is not so easy

Hateful and bitter rhetoric has become such a part of our day that we often don’t see it for what it really is. I always chastise myself for looking at comments in articles, because I am continually disappointed by what I see. Name calling, profanity, threats – all part of our daily existence. I recently…

Clergy Confessional (22) The Slippery Slope of Hate

We have seen this before – bad things happen, a group gets singled out, their rights get restricted, eventually they are demonized, cast out or put into prisons or concentration camps or reservations. Pharaoh did it to the Jews, America did it to the Native Americans, Hitler did it to Gypsies, Homosexuals, Jews, and anyone…