Discerning Mission

An Advent meditation

Here is Parker Palmer, reflecting on the Incarnation:

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What supports evangelism?

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.

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Embracing relevance, letting go of survival

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? 

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Confessional, revelatory, ecumenical, evangelical & delightful

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. 

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Diversity, demographics and the common good

Ever wonder how the world around us is changing, and how we might speak of God's promise in the middle of those changes? Here's a very brief look at just some of the demographic changes facing one particular church -- the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- from the director of multicultural ministries of the ELCA:

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