Does What We Sing Matter to the Faith of the Church?

Since the 1970s we have had a raging debate about singing and music in the church. This debate has often come down to “traditional” music, or (old) hymns, versus “modern,” or popular music. The real truth is that the great influence on church music has been a combination of the charismatic influence, much of which is good in directing our … Read More

The Cross of Christ & the Love of God – What Saves Us?

I am currently writing a book on love, both God’s love and our love. In writing the first half of my book I have sought to deal with the cross. I do not know how you can talk about God’s love and not go to the cross. Every reader of the New Testament can readily see that the cross is … Read More

True Friendships (3)

The goal of life for every Christian should be the kingdom of God. The gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God. Tragically, we have settled for what Dallas Willard calls “the gospel of sin management,” a gospel which is something far less than the gospel of the kingdom. Very early in the church’s history a group of … Read More

Mary in Ecumenical Perspective

I mentioned yesterday that I attended two seminars at the National Workshop on Christian Unity (NWCU) in Columbus, April 8–11. The second was titled: “Mary in Ecumenical Perspective.” It was taught by one of the leading liturgical scholars in North American Christianity, Dr. Maxwell Johnson, Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Johnson was marvelous. He was … Read More

The Role of Catechesis, Adult Conversions and Assimilation

The National Workshop on Christian Unity (NWCU) adopted as its theme for this year’s gathering in Columbus, Ohio, “What Does God Requires of Us?” (Micah 6:6–8). A variety of speakers addressed plenary sessions including Dr. Karen Westerfield Tucker, Professor of Worship at Boston University School of Theology; Ms. Kathryn Lohre, Director for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious for the ELCA and the … Read More

Why I Celebrate Lent

For those readers who do not practice Lent, and I am sure there are a few, bear with me while I tell you why I do. First, what is Lent? The word “Lent” means “spring” and comes from the Middle English lente, meaning “lengthen.” It signifies the “lengthening” of the days after long winter nights. The cold and darkness of … Read More

Complete Trust and Commercial Assurances

In the worship of this past Lord’s Day the divine liturgy that I shared in led us to confess that there were times when we failed to think of God’s call upon our lives properly. Because of these times we could not live an “impossible dream” because we saw this call as “an unwelcome interruption.” I was struck by how … Read More

Should the Church Gather for the Unchurched?

When I was in Phoenix in Arizona I met Rev. Matthew Marino. Matt is the Episcopal Canon of Arizona for Youth and Adult Ministries. He serves out of the diocesan office in Phoenix, where we met for the first time in November last year. We had a delightful time and connected very easily.  Matt has 30 years experience leading youth … Read More

The Passing of the Peace

When I began to understand ancient liturgical practice some years ago one of the more beautiful discoveries was “The Passing of the Peace.” I had never heard the term until I was introduced to the practice in a liturgical context. Like everything else I encounter in the practice of worship I wanted to know what this term really meant and … Read More

Forms of Prayer

I have been reading an old book that bears the title The Prayers of the Early Church (1930), written by Dom Fernand Cabrol, a Benedictine. It is a study of how the early church developed prayer within the context of liturgy. There is much to like in this treatment but some things to pursue that will not gain universal acclaim … Read More