America has approximately 180 denominations. Each was forged out of controversy at some point in its history. Each called on the Bible to mark out its position in the dispute that set them apart. So, which is the true interpretation? One easy response to this confusion is to refuse to choose. This is happening among […]Read More
Our staff’s weekly devotions are from a book by an experienced pastor whose one-page reflections are well written and usually right on. A recent one was on advancing the kingdom of God in church life. His description of what should and can happen through grace was well said. But he missed the key ingredient—the Holy […]Read More
Congregations have a church culture. Each is unique in some way but shares much with other congregations in the same church body. One denomination’s general culture is different from that of another.
When traditionalists want to preserve their tradition, the necessary question is which tradition: the church culture of the 1970s, which is different from that of the 1930s, which is different from that of the 1880s, which is different from the church culture in the 18th century back in the homeland. Church cultures change over the generations in sensible ways. Leaders are continually fine-tuning what they do and how. Seldom does a congregation’s culture change abruptly and completely, however, that is the fear of many who resist.
What does change are the ways of communicating and organizing.Read More
Did you know that you have a spiritual temperament? This means some activities help you feel closer to God than what you do otherwise. And people have different spiritual temperaments. So, if you want to be drawn closer to God spend more time on the spiritual pathways that work best for you.
These are insights from a new branch of psychology associated with the names Myers and Briggs. The Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory is the most-used testing instrument in business human resource management. One familiar distinction from their work is between introverts and extroverts.
I first ran into the insights on spiritual temperaments reading the book Who You Are Is How You Pray, by Charles Keating. He applied the Myers and Briggs Personality Types to members of religious orders to help candidates find the one that fits them best. He highlighted the view of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, who urged those seeking to be closer to God to try out different approaches and disciplines to find the one that is “sweet” for each. Don’t just imitate what someone else does. Had I been born Catholic, I probably would have become a Jesuit. One of the biggest blessings in my life is that I was born and raised in a vibrant Lutheran community.
Do you feel closer to God when you are hiking in nature? Or when you are caring for others? Or when you are alone thinking about God? Or when you are with other believers praising God with high emotions? Or when you are out crusading for peace and justice? Or when you are worshiping in a building with lots of symbols using special rituals? Or when you are pondering God’s word? These questions reflect types of spiritual temperaments recognized by Gary Thomas in his book Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Pathway to God.Read More