Here's an interesting reflection by a Lutheran pastor in Chicago, as he ponders the success -- and lack thereof -- of his efforts to invite his friends to church. I was struck by this comment, in particular:
Perhaps the power of God to call people through the church resides not in familiarity, or comfort, or the safety of an extended prior relationship. Perhaps it comes through an encounter with something new, surprising, even a little scary.
Here's a powerful and interesting take on the challenges facing mainline churches, from Mike Rinehart, who is the bishop of the Louisiana Gulf Coast synod of the ELCA. Among other things, he writes that:
The turnaround of the mainline churches will happen when we in those churches care as much about those outside the church, as we do those inside. To embrace relevance, we will have to let go of survival.
What do you think?
What a great string of words, huh? They're also the attributes that two stellar theologians -- Robin Steinke and Gary Simpson -- attach to the creeds. The two of them have an engaging dialogue about the creeds in the most recent issue of The Lutheran magazine.