In Defense of Celebration

In Defense of Celebration

It says a lot about the ethos of my religious tradition that I often find myself needing to defend the efficacy of fun. It’s not that my upbringing was devoid of laughter, feasts, or simple enjoyment of many things—quite the contrary! But I found that outside my home, carefree celebration was frequently met with the kind of mild suspicion one might have if offered a decadent cake while being assured it was “healthy”—you want to believe it’s good for you, but you can’t quite get there. If you’re like most people, you eat the cake anyway with a side of subtle guilt.

I’d like allay your fear of fun, not only to assuage your guilt but also to commend the tremendous value of celebration—both in general and in the practices of Christian worship.

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By Beholding We Become Changed: Privilege, Diversity, and Inclusion in Worship

By Beholding We Become Changed: Privilege, Diversity, and Inclusion in Worship

In this day and age, we may think of issues concerning racial and/or ethnic distinction as political, thereby meriting no place in church or in discussions of worship. But tonight, I propose that as we craft ourselves as a body of believers, an attention to diversity and inclusion proves crucial to us as Christians.  

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Collective Contribution: Building Up the Church Together in Worship

Collective Contribution: Building Up the Church Together in Worship

In 1 Corinthians 14, the Apostle Paul describes a normative practice of allowing everyone to contribute to collective worship. And despite the challenges that attend such an effort, the rewards are not otherwise achievable. Collective wisdom not only enriches corporate worship, the process of contributing is itself integral to worship practice that builds up the church. So how can we can, with integrity, create space for inclusive contributions by a diversity of worshippers?

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Listening to Millennials and the Implications for Adventist Worship

Listening to Millennials and the Implications for Adventist Worship

I was recently invited to speak at the Center for Secular and Postmodern Studies’ conference, Reaching Millennial Generations, held at Andrews University. In preparation I had the opportunity to interview thirty millennials on their views of the Adventist Church. During the interview, several relevant issues arose relating to worship. 

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Bigger Dreams for 2018

Bigger Dreams for 2018

What if the real reason we don’t follow through on our goals each year isn’t what we often assume? What if it’s not that our objectives are too unrealistic (they probably are)? What if it’s not that we’re imperfect and undisciplined (we definitely are)? What if, instead, it’s because we keep fixing our eyes on aspirations that are, quite frankly, not truly aspirational, aims unworthy of our best efforts and ability to truly hope and dream, goals that are unworthy of us? What if even our worthiest pursuits are simply not grand enough? 

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Beyond Frontier Worship

Beyond Frontier Worship

Despite the many changes and developments in Adventist worship practices over the past century and a half, a basic structure — though often unacknowledged — has persisted. Styles of preaching, prayer and congregational song have evolved. But even the most committed innovators have rarely questioned the tradition’s basic pattern.

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Leave Your Politics at the Church Door?

Leave Your Politics at the Church Door?

Planning worship week to week, something I've long known has recently become very evident: silence in the face of the world's problems is not spiritual or sublime; It’s consent. It’s consent without even the courage of conviction. 

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