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Boxers or Briefs

Boxers or BriefsLaetitia Thompson, age 17 was one of the two hundred 16-20 year-olds present for the MTV “Enough is Enough” town hall meeting in Washington, D.C.  Held on April 19, 1994, the meeting was supposed to explore the issue of violence in America with, then president, Bill Clinton.

Questions ranged from teen suicide to handgun legislation and showed the depth of angst being experienced among Gen Xers.

Then Laetitia raised her hand.  “Mr. President, boxers or briefs?”

It was an iconic moment.  A teen-aged girl was asking the President of the United States what kind of underwear he wore and simultaneously showing how far we had tumbled on the civility scale. Continue Reading »

Pottery Sold Here

laguna-pueblo-01The little town of Laguna, New Mexico sits on the north side of I-40, midway between Albuquerque and the Arizona line. A church sits at the top of a hillock, surrounded by adobe houses all resembling the red dirt on which they sit.

If you blink or look too long at your dashboard you’ll miss this wisp of a town. More like a village, there’s no polluting industry or neon lights to blind the stars.  It’s monochrome, except for the white church sitting at its summit. On this day Pepsi trucks lined the lined the tight little streets. They were there to film a new soft drink commercial and looked totally out-of-place. Continue Reading »

Conversation in Paris

Paris Metro SignOn an early Sunday morning in 1999 we went down into the Paris subway to begin the next leg of our trip – Normandy and the D-Day beaches.

Since it was very early in the morning there weren’t many people in the subway, and it caught our attention when we heard American voices?

“Where are you from,” we asked them.

“We’re from Las Vegas; what about you?” Continue Reading »

Y2K

Y2K 04Remember the AD 2000 scare about the effect of the new millennium on computers all over the world? Y2K was the name of the scare, and it drove doomsday-ers to their local stores to stock up on supplies for a world catastrophe in the computer realm. Frantic questions circulated about whether planes would drop from the sky and electrical power would fail on January 1, 2000.

In point of fact, there were only a few problems. Among the small problems reported were the failure of two bus ticket-validation machines in Australia and 150 slot machines in Delaware’s race tracks. Continue Reading »

Duke ChapelWilliam Willimon, Dean of the Chapel at Duke University, once told a group of pastors about the outrage of a parishioner when a gallows, complete with noose, popped up on the front lawn of the Duke Chapel. The Wilmington Morning Star reported that the gallows was part of the set of a movie being filmed on the iconic lawn.

According to the parishioner, a gallows had no place in front of a nice church. Indeed, the gallows stood for violence and death – not the sort of thing that polite church-goers would want to see walking into the narthex. Continue Reading »

Knitting A New Innocence

Bratz Doll 02Sonia Singh is a mother and artist from Tasmania, off the southeastern tip of Australia.  Sonia is also an artist that rescues second-hand Bratz dolls.  She calls her new creations “Tree Change Dolls” because of the radically different look she gives the formerly sexualized dolls. Continue Reading »

10 Books About Church

Books 07I am a church planter working with a nascent church that targets Millennials and folks who have given up on church.  Most of my pastoral life has been spent (over 40 years) in pretty traditional churches that failed in their calling to be outposts rather than fortresses.  My last 10-15 years have been occupied with reading books relating to the matter of how to go about being the church in this age.  Some of them have been critiques of the church such as unChristian by Kinnaman and Lyons.  This book results from research done among Millennials and their assessment of churches today, particularly Evangelicals.

Two statistics are startling to me and have caused me to want to think more and more deeply about what church should look like in this part of the 21st century.  In the 2010 census it was found that 20% of respondents selected “none” in answer to the question, “What is your religious preference?”  “None” has never been that high in previous censuses.  Additionally researchers have begun looking at another group never watched called the “Dones.”  This group has not left God.  On the contrary, they are full of faith.  But they are “done” with church.  The fact that this group is new and growing is proof that we need to put our “pay attention” hats on.

Continue Reading »

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