Church Marketing and Jesus

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“Then there is the other extraordinary theme, which is that of ‘visibility’, we might say. In our media society we know well that you exist only if you appear, only if you are seen. And churches are easily and fatally induced into seeking visibility.” Paolo Ricca


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This morning, in the first few minutes after awaking while reorienting to the world, it occurred to me that the Beatitudes have an answer to my perennial bugaboo, the opening of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanity; all is vanity.”

Membership Covenants

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In conversation last Sunday afternoon with someone visiting from the Pacific Northwest, the topic of membership covenants at large evangelical churches came up.

God’s People Reconciling

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A friend recently brought this address by Ronald Sider to my attention.  Though over 20 years old, I find it as challenging today as it must have been then. God’s People Reconciling

Entrance Exam

Last week my wife received a letter from a girl she had visited in the county jail. The girl asked her thoughts on a few questions for a Bible study in their tank, one of which was this: “If you were in front of God right now, and he asked you, ‘Why should I let you in my Kingdom of Heaven?’, what would your answer be?” My wife mentioned this to me last Saturday, and after a few moments’ reflection I responded: “Because I want what you want.”

Idol, Boredom, Vanity, Love

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Jean-Luc Marion, in God Without Being, has given me the first effective response to Quohelet’s charge of vanity with which I have struggled much of my life. I read this but two weeks ago, and already I find it challenging and transforming a long held instinctive response to the world.

Radical Equality

Four hundred years of prophetic silence was broken by John the Baptist with a succinct statement of radical equality. Tom Friedman sees the world flattening now; John saw that two millennia ago.

Conversation Overheard on a Plane

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Flying the Tuesday after Memorial Day I overheard a conversation between a man and a woman behind me; these were chance seatmates for this flight. He was a geologist, perhaps 50+ years old, and she was perhaps late 60s or 70s.

Increase Our Faith!

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This morning’s (well, yesterday’s by now) Gospel was Luke 17:5-10; click the link to read it in a new window. Talking about that through the day we found it perplexing. What is the causal relationship between faith and the self-effacing … Read More

Faith, Hope and Love

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I recently found that the Italian national radio station is publishing some of its material in podcasts. Listening to one yesterday (Uomini e Profeti) on the evaluation of current actualities in the light of received traditions, (unfortunately no longer linked online) I heard a fascinating variant on the well known “faith, hope and love” themes of St. Paul’s concluding verse of I Corinthians 13.

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