Today is a beautiful day! As I look out the window of my study, I see that the sun has begun to touch the earth and has brought a chorus of birds announcing the promise of spring. Snow has covered much of our yard this past week, but now we are beginning to see the signs of new life as the crocuses raise their heads in beauty. But today is also the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a day that shocked the nation and galvanized a process that transformed America.
I remember where I was fifty years ago. On that Sunday morning I was preparing my sermon for the congregation of Union Methodist Church, Selma, Alabama. Later in the afternoon, I would be sitting in Church Street Methodist Church in downtown Selma for a district lay rally. I was a young pastor, probably the youngest pastor in Selma, at twenty years of age. I was a student pastor completing my formal education for ministry.
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Catalyst for Change
by Rhonda K. Kruse
Strong congregational leadership is needed to encourage the church to remind people that church is not just a place to go, but a way to live our lives; that Jesus calls the church to focus on discipleship not membership, on service not growth, on mission and ministry, not buildings and structure.
Toleration and Tolerance in the Middle Ages—Medieval Perspectives for Our Future
by Albrecht Classen
Many people regard the Middle Ages as a time when the people endured great stress, a time unique in history. The author disagrees with those sentiments and feels that what occurred in the Middle Ages was different from our contemporary stresses but neither worse nor better. This is an eye-opening read.
by Donna Schaper
The role of the swine in Mark 5 that cured the legion-filled demoniac is rarely discussed. The author asks if we really need a displacement to heal? Does the devil have to be put in an animal considered unclean in religious and hygienic terms–for change to come? These are among the questions designed to encourage pastors to seek new insights on ancient tales.
The Spirit and Proclamation: A Pneumatological Theology of Preaching. Part I
by Amos Yong
This article is divided into three consecutive parts: The intuition behind this essay is that the dynamic character of Christian preaching should be explicated theologically in terms of its orality and ontologically in terms of its audibility. We will explore the orality of preaching and do so in conversation with the oral culture of Pentecostalism.
Bible and Secular Quotes Concerning Transformation
by Darla Turlington
Sometimes a Biblical or other quote may come in handy to help a preacher strengthen a point within a sermon or the point of the sermon itself. Our compiler has delivered an interesting potpourri of temptation-apt quotes for our readers.
Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
by Jin Hee Han
Easter confirms the promise of transformation (metamorphosis). Nature has been transformed, and hope is renewed. Our preachers and theologians in this issue call upon us to dare to hope and pursue the path of transformation with a note that our posture is more of a receiver than of a maker of the change.
Bridges and Doors
by Dale T. Irvin
Citing the work of George Simmel, one of the founders of modern sociology, the author leads us from the simple concepts of doors as either entrances or barriers that firm up separations to bridges as building connections among people, churches, and denominations. The point readers are swept along to see reflects the need for openness and welcoming in their quest to serve God.
When White People Preach about Race
by Donna Schaper
This instructive, insightful article is by a senior pastor who has dealt with interracial matters for much of her life. Unafraid to address both the pitfalls and the successes of speaking about race from the pulpit, she offers sage advice as she recounts personal experiences and opinions that pastors may find useful in their own ministries.
An Invitation to Multi-Cultural Ministry
by Keith Russell
When a congregation is short on funds, there may be a temptation to rent the Sanctuary and/or spaces to another church group. The author offers alternative ideas for growing a church that avoids the possible pitfalls of rentals and yet creates opportunities for new worship experiences with their own rewards.