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Advent Devotional: First Week of Advent (Dec. 1-7)

  Sunday, December 1 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?” — Matthew 25:37 Gathering up the straw of hope On this first Sunday of Advent, consider what gives you hope. Who took notice of… Read more »

Hopeful Church

The smallest things Can make the biggest difference by N. Graham Standish    “He never follows through,” the church member complained. “What do you mean?” I asked. “He’ll call and say he’s going to drop by the hospital, or check up on us later, or send us something, but he never does. I think that’s… Read more »

Gospel and Inclusivity

Reforming our churches A series on becoming intercultural congregations by Samuel Son Few weeks ago in October I had the honor to host nine intercultural leaders across our denomination, I consider these theologians who gathered some of the best theologians of our time, because doing life together with people from different cultures and races (which… Read more »


stillness   The scary wonder of stillness A brief experiment by Ken Rummer Tiny blooms of frost aster show white along the trail, leaves on our maple tree sport a crazy quilt of orange and green and red, and the mid-morning temp is only in the 50s. Here in Iowa, where we take pride in hosting… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Can we be missional if we have dirty bathrooms? Our mission is only as good as our church community by N. Graham Standish   Over the past few months I’ve been working with a pastor enrolled in a missional church certificate program intended to transform his church. He’s frustrated. He loves learning new ideas for… Read more »


  What I’ve Noticed About Retirement So Far 10 Observations from Year Three by Ken Rummer 1. Getting the hang of retirement takes time. People told me it would take a year and a half. Retirement did start to feel less awkward about then. But even now, in my third year of retirement, I’m not… Read more »

The B-Flat Christian

Manna — The Biblical Symbol of ‘Enough’ How do we trust God will provide?   by Rebecca Crow Lister Does enough exist?  Is there ever enough time, money, sleep, love, faith, justice, energy or peace for us? Why does it feel like we are always lacking in these and other areas of our lives? Unknown painter (German),… Read more »


faith at the opera, Thaïs Faith at the Opera Thaïs and Athaniël by Ken Rummer The holiest person in all the land sets out to convert the most notorious sinner. What could possibly go wrong?  The story, staged in the opera Thaïs (tah-eece), takes place in Roman Egypt in the AD 300s. Athaniël is a Christian monk renowned for his… Read more »

The Neighborhood

Back-to-school jitters never go away by Sue Washburn My Facebook feed has been full of first-day-of-school photos, bringing back memories of the excitement and trepidation about what the school year would bring. The week before the big first day would be full of questions: Who will be in my class?  Who will I hang out with?… Read more »