Clergy Political Activism: When should we get involved?

Churches and clergy are supposed to be politically non-partisan. Sometimes clergy are able to participate in politics as individuals (such as voting), but for the most part, they are to refrain from partisan politics. We serve the King of Kings, and represent his Church, not a particular party. Our mission and calling is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ [...]

By |2017-11-10T13:31:57-06:00February 2nd, 2017|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |14 Comments

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…

I'm here again...in not-so-sunny Florida for another session with this group. This time, it will be only a day for me. I have a commitment that has crowded by schedule. But I am re-posting my article from last year about the "Band of Brothers" I have met with for 30 years! In just a few days time I will leave [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:54:35-06:00January 3rd, 2017|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

The Christmas Eve Service Challenge

Even if your shopping is complete and the gifts are wrapped, the pastor knows that there is one more thing to do before Christmas morning. Hold Christmas Eve Services. Whether you are preaching, celebrating the Eucharist, leading the prayers, singing the carols, handing out bulletins, or greeting people at the door, it is a big moment in the annual life [...]

By |2019-01-10T16:54:44-06:00December 21st, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |1 Comment

The Anglican Pastor’s Guide to Email Sanity

Here’s a statement I’ve never heard from anyone serving in ministry: “I love email!” Pastors commit their lives to serve God and his church for numerous reasons. Some love preaching the Gospel; some love offering pastoral care in nursing homes, hospitals, or prisons; others walk alongside students through teenage and college years. No matter the vocation in ministry, communication with [...]

By |2016-09-22T11:18:46-05:00September 22nd, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |1 Comment

A Year of First Blessings

So, you now know the origin of this blog title: First Blessing. It is also traditional that first blessings are too special to be restricted to one day; the new priest gives first blessings for an entire year. So, I have set my heart and hand to writing these public reflections of the life of a new priest for that [...]

By |2016-05-13T09:35:29-05:00May 17th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

We Can’t Do it

In the 17th century, pastor and poet George Herbert wrote the book The Country Parson, one of the first manuals for pastors written in English.  He starts his book by acknowledging that he feels inadequate: the way to please [God], is to feed my Flock diligently and faithfully, since our Savior has made that the [focus] of a Pastor's love, [...]

By |2016-05-05T09:24:50-05:00May 5th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

The Funeral: Pastoring in the time of Mourning

A funeral is one of the most difficult things anyone may ever have to do. Even as “professionals,” it is often difficult to know what to do or what to say. Often we may not even know the deceased that well. They may have been a family member of a parishioner, or they may have attended our church at times, even regularly, but [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:25:06-05:00May 3rd, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |2 Comments

How to Raise a Healthy, Digital Savvy Child

Wearing a seatbelt, or practicing defensive driving are well understood and commonly used practices. These rituals or liturgies (bear with me on this) have been something our parents grew up with and have taught us. But our parents did not grow up with the internet (in all its glory and shame). So we have to come up with habits that [...]

By |2019-01-04T22:39:23-06:00April 28th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Call Me Mother

Since I was ordained as a priest two years ago, the question I’m most asked is, “What do we call you?” In Anglicanism, people often refer to priests as “Father,” following Roman Catholic and Orthodox tradition. I have no intention to argue here about the use of that term, which can be controversial among lower church folks, but the practice [...]

By |2019-01-04T22:39:25-06:00April 26th, 2016|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , , , , |14 Comments

Preaching Like a TED Talk?

Sir Ken Robinson is a first-class speaker. I’ll never forget the first time I heard and watched his enthralling TED talk on the systemic flaws of education in our time. I listened to Robinson’s TED talk in the animated adaptation by the brilliant folk at RSA Animate. Robinson describes how the modes and methods of public education stifle the inborn [...]

By |2019-01-01T19:28:49-06:00April 17th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors, Preaching|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Falling and Getting Up

The sign on the trail to the falls could not have been clearer. Do not climb on the rocks, it said. The rocks are very slippery, it said. You will fall, it said. I climbed on the rocks. They were very slippery. I fell – hard. Lying a bit dazed on my back, half in and half out of the [...]

By |2016-03-21T11:28:19-05:00March 21st, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Want Your Church to Grow?

So you want your church to grow, do you?  Listen, I get it, every pastor wants their church to grow. And it’s not just selfish ambition, although there will always be some of that. On our best days, we know the hard work we put into preaching and pastoral care, in equipping our people to serve in ministries and reach [...]

What Do I Call You?

“What do I call you?” the bank teller asked as we conducted some routine financial transaction – a question prompted by the collar I was wearing. “I am an Anglican priest. Sometimes we are called Father and sometimes simply by first name. Whichever you please is fine.” This is what I wish I had said, simply to open the opportunity [...]

By |2016-01-21T08:54:44-06:00January 21st, 2016|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

5 Big Mistakes I’ve Made in Preaching

I'm not the best preacher, but after 18 years of preaching, I've learned some from my own mistakes. To spare you, I've listed some of the biggest ones here: Not believing in Preaching Itself I would hope we all believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Believe it, and always preach it. If not, you shouldn't be preaching at all. [...]

By |2019-01-01T19:28:51-06:00January 13th, 2016|Categories: For Pastors, Preaching|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Top Posts of 2015

Thank you for joining us in 2015. Here are the most read articles posted in 2015. #10 What They Are Saying About Advent by David Roseberry. “For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning – not home but the place through which we must [...]

By |2019-01-04T22:41:05-06:00December 29th, 2015|Categories: Anglicanism|Tags: , |0 Comments

Rubrics

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter (2 Thess 15, ESV throughout). I recently ran afoul of the rubrics – not seriously afoul (a minor “infraction” so my stole will not be yanked) and not truly of the rubrics themselves, but rather [...]

By |2016-04-21T16:01:35-05:00December 28th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

I Was Burned Out

I was a burned out priest. I realized that something was really wrong when I ended up in the emergency room. I had had a "near syncope" which means I passed out without passing out.  (Not sure what that means medically). Anyway, I felt weird and had tunnel vision, and was out of balance for while.  Not a good feeling. They [...]

By |2015-12-17T07:19:03-06:00December 17th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Herding Cats

Comedians often use humor as social commentary. A joke can slip through our defenses, expose our hidden hypocrisy, question our cherished beliefs, scrutinize our preconceived notions, and all this while making us laugh at ourselves. Such jokes are nearer parables than we often realize. They are humorous precisely because we recognize some grain of truth in them. Sometimes the truth [...]

By |2015-12-15T07:47:57-06:00December 15th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Things Done In Secret

As a new priest, I am careful to follow the liturgical rubrics in the prayer book as well as those that exist as a matter of local custom: bow here, make the sign of the cross now, kneel during this part of the service, extend arms in orans for this prayer, lay hands upon the bread and cup – or [...]

By |2015-10-31T09:40:57-05:00December 1st, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments

Receiving Love in Loss

On Trinity Sunday this year, I did not have the strength to lead worship. I needed to be present with my wife and children to grieve and rest. This May brought unexpected heartbreak, a shock we were not prepared following the anticipation of new life we had entering the spring. This past March I came to Apostles on an ordinary Lenten Sunday with [...]

By |2015-06-09T07:49:04-05:00June 9th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |1 Comment
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