Saturday, December 28, 2013


Happy New Year!  It is time for a new start.  Of course that start is built on everything that has happened before and as much as we'd like a reset button, there just isn't one on life.  So we start anew mentally, but in reality we're continuing on a path that has been moving forward since well before we ever were part of this physical existence.  

Yet, all things are becoming new.  That is where the path takes us, towards something new, something God intends that we have yet to fully be able to understand.  So we peak at the things we see that may speak to what God is up to.  We look at a world that is changing rapidly around us and we remember that our God tells us time and again "Do not fear" even as we wonder what all these new things mean for us.  We are told this because God does have a plan, which will happen regardless of our willingness to go with it.

Yet we're reminded that faith(fulness) is all about discerning and acting along with the ways of God.  So that means placing others before ourselves, looking out for all in need, and pursuing justice in God's name.  It means being part of our community, not just the community of faith, but part of the world that is God's community of faith, God's world made up of all of these different people, all of whom are as much in God's image as you or me.

Many of you heard me talk about the "new" paradigm.  This is a place where God's relational relevance needs to be at the forefront of who we are.  We are to be people who are making all things new.  Who are moving forward in the ways of God.  We don't know exactly what the end looks like and we cannot assume to be able to understand that end, but we can act as we are able in the here and now trusting that God knows what "New" really looks like.

May we make the New Year not a beginning or an end, but a commitment to doing things that make the world and ourselves new everyday. We're all in this together.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

12/15 sermon base.

The actual sermon took more twists and turns but this is the basic outline.

Isaiah 61:1-3
Matthew 9:35-10:11, 40-42

Today there are a few “different words” that I will use in this sermon: Paradigm, Apostle, and Advent.  So let's define them a bit before we really get started.

  • Advent – A time of waiting on what an expected coming.
  • Apostle – One sent out 
  • Paradigm - “the norm” of how/why things work in a particular time/place.

We are currently in Advent, during a new paradigm, and we're called to be apostles.  That is what we hear in scripture and what we're going to talk about today.

I have a real passion when it comes to the long view of things.  Some of you may have noticed the time-line that had been on the bulletin board in the main hallway throughout the fall.  One of the main things I loved about it was how it made it visually clear how things we feel are ancient history aren't really all that long ago.  For example the birth-date of a 75 year old is closer in time to the date of Abraham Lincoln's death than it is to today.  Paradigms are interesting to me because they look at norms that continue for even longer periods of time than that, things that change (not all at once mind you) every 500 years or so.  This is important because many of those who study these things feel that we have reached a point where the previous paradigm and the transitional period (known currently as Modernity and the Post-Modern transition) have given way to this new paradigm that has taken shape around us.  So that's where we are in the big picture.  Phillis Tickle when discussing churches during changing paradigms refers to them as rummage sales, times that churches end up having to put everything out and let go of all that's not utterly important, just holding on to the parts that are essential to the new norms of the time and place.  This often comes across as Rodger Nikiosia says in forms that are full of fear of loss and death, but each time throughout history that it has happened, the church comes out stronger.  We see this fear on social media regularly when what people post is created in such a way to cause defensive, fearful reactions from those who disagree or are on another side.  This divides us and we give up control to outside sources instead of trusting a God who has always been working through the long view of things.  So instead of being afraid, or worried, or beaten down and discouraged, what should we be doing?  Well I think if we take these texts we read today (as well as many others that I didn't include today because I didn't want to make worship last for hours on end)  and look at them in the context of the pillars of the new paradigm, I think we'll find a handful of things that are essential to being church (and doing it well) as we go forward.

  1. We must focus on building authentic relationships outside the church doors.  This is pretty simple.  We've got to Engage people where they are.  We cannot be a closed door community waiting for people to come to us, or even expecting that others will find value in an invitation to join us.  We've got to go and be with people, getting our hands dirty along side of them.  This begins with those we see everyday.  The new paradigm is built on a relational life.  A life where connections and trust are built one on one in the everyday parts of life.  This echos Jesus's sending of the 12. They go to where people already are and just join in that life.
  2. Part of joining in the life of others is the sharing of stories.  We live in a world where very few spend their entire life in one place and this transient nature of life means that we all have had very different experiences that have taught us often very different things about life.  Thus it is that we must share stories of our experiences with one another while listening and validating the experiences we hear from others.  Many people, if not most of us, connect to those descriptors we read in Isiah.  We feel beaten down, we feel hurt, we feel damaged, but all of these experiences come from our very different paths and different reactions to those experiences. We need to remember that none of us have all the answers, and those with different experiences are not wrong, misguided, or lost.  We all are seeking after mystery, those things that scripture tells us that we can only see dimly through the looking glass, as we all seek, knock, and look for answers about ourselves, our world, and God.  This comes to the forefront in our new paradigm because people are more okay with not knowing all the specifics than ever before because there really is so little we really know.  To share our stories and listen to those of others help all of us see a bit more clearly what God may be up to in both our personal lives and the big picture.
  3. There is though one thing that God is always about, and it's one place the church should be always at the forefront of: Placing others before ourselves and understanding what is “ours” is really to be shared freely.  This is hard, because even with a change in paradigm, it is still very counter cultural.  Wanting to not be in need, to not hurt, to feel safe and secure and in control are very much the cultural norm.  Yet the open source movement and how it has moved toward more general acceptance in recent years is an example that the world is looking for the freedom that comes from this (very biblical) freely giving.  Open source is when someone creates something, and instead of copyrighting it, they aim to share it and allow others to use it as desired.  Things like this and the crowd sourcing of projects (when small donations are all that make up the funding for major things like movies, music, art, education, etc.) show me a world looking for a different kind of life, and in doing so I think point towards a central tenet of Jesus's life.  Jesus takes on fear, division, and control by taking the idea of sharing and giving to the extreme, giving his entire life for us.  Thus likewise we need to remember Jesus's reminder that nothing is truly ours, but everything belongs to God with the intent that it point to God's glory, to bring Good news as both Isaiah and the end of Matthew (and Micah, and Amos, and on and on)  state which is the core of what God's glory looks like.
  4. So far this seems pretty normal for most of us, and I hope this does to, but the initial statement may sound a bit shocking: Don't aim to bring them to church.  Instead go be church with them, and let the connections to the community of faith come naturally.  Also along these lines, help the leadership of the church provide the opportunities for those who you are being church for that they need.  This is apostleship at its core, not going and saying “come see Jesus” like the angels did for the shepherds, but taking Jesus, and the church out in all we do.  The disciples are now apostles in Matthew because they are sent out, going out to take the work of faith to others. And those who can do this work of faith or even talk about faith are not limited to those of us who preach, teach, or have other leadership positions here in this place, but every single person in every single pew here is a leader in faith.  I say this with confidence because we have entered a paradigm where my title doesn't make me an expert, my position doesn't make me an expert, the only thing that helps people feel I know what I'm talking about is their experiences with me. What you do speaks to others louder and more clearly to those you have relationships with about who God is than anything I can ever say.  So whatever we do, be it eat, drink, work, play, whatever, let us do it with an honest effort to doing so in a way that we each discern brings glory to God.  By doing this in our everyday life, we expand the reach of the church far beyond the programs and experiences we have here.
  5. This though has to connect to the last thing that Church in the new paradigm must be doing: We must make time together serving, sharing, making memories, and creating mementos of togetherness with one another as a community of faith.  I hear lots of rants, some from my own mouth, about how technology has divided us, how it keeps us from really interacting.  Yet, let us not forget how connected people of the past paradigm could be connected to the visual or the audible word.  Yes, things are changing.  Yes, it has been shown time and again that for many social media and smart-phones increase feelings of loneliness and increase the competitiveness and comparativeness between lives.  But no, it's not bringing an end to the physical connection or to deep communication.  Rather, history shows us that when technology increases so does the desire for the physical.  We want things that make us feel connected to one another and to those special moments in time.  High tech leads to High touch.   We long for ways to fill the prison of aloneness, and we pick all kinds of physical things to try to fill that void.  Yet the only physical that really helps fill those holes is the touch of another, be it person to person or  the physical things that bring us close to a time and place where that person to person closeness happened. I have a number of things that connect me to those I care most about, things that when I see them I reach out and I feel good about life and my place in it, I feel loved.  These are things made by those I love, or created in times where we were most connected.  This means the church should be a place focused on moments of togetherness, but also creating physical things that remind us of our connection to one another and the depth of love shared in these moments.  So we must be about creating time together where we serve, where we share, where we make memories with one another where one cannot separate the moment from the people.  

Jesus sends out the 12 to do the work that needed to be done.  In Mark this sending comes right after Jesus reads the Isiah text we also read this morning.  That promise that came to life in Jesus was central to the work Jesus sends them out to do.  Likewise it is central to the work we're called to do.  We are called to take care of those in need, and that is at the end of the day everyone.  To not do this for anything we can receive from doing so, but because it is what shows God's glory and intent for creation.  We are to connect to all who are part of our lives, and reach out to all who have need.  We are called to be apostles.  To Go Out,  To  Go Connect and Bond with those outside our faith community here,  To go hear the stories of others and share the fulness of our own stories, to go be church taking no more than what is essential, To go together and serve with those outside our walls.  The church in the world today has to be a church that Goes, even as we wait.  If we embrace this call, we are answering the call of God, and doing that which we were made to do.  For waiting is never passive, the prophets remind us of that time and again, it is always about going, going to the world right around us and being church, not for them, but being church with them, so that they may understand who this God is on which we wait.  We must Go and do what it is we were made to do.  Love and Serve the world.  AMEN.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is **Fill In The Blank** Killing the Church?

I read an article this morning. It's main point was that when churches isolate/segregate certain demographics within the church through programs, or when certain demographics have programs that isolate/segregate them from the larger church, it becomes harder to actually be the church and build real community. 

The problem is that it was titled "Is __________ killing the Church." That was not the main point being made, it was a sensationalist headline and one that turned at least half of the responses to it against it completely. Suddenly what is basically a singular story from an individual's moment of reconsidering the effects of a style of ministry was seen as another "Us vs Them" ideological issue to get up in arms about.

Seriously, the article wasn't all that deep in the first place, it didn't go beyond that one individual's "oh, hmmmm" moment. It didn't offer suggestions for integrating developmental needs with community life, and it didn't point to any of the things that cause certain parts of any ministry to be isolating/segregating, and it NEVER said that the church was dying.

So my rebuttal is as follows:
1. The Church is not dying. It just is not. What church is and how it functions is, like most other things, adjusting to a new paradigm. If you feel like something is hitting the church hard foundationally, it's just because new paradigms shake down old power structures and reform them. It'll be just fine, God's work has survived and thrived through paradigm shifts before. The people and the process just had to change. We can do that together. Which brings me to point 2.

2. The point of the actual text of the article is kind of a "well duh" for me, read the first paragraph I wrote here again and it should seem kind of obvious. We need to be able to be a diverse community where all are "in this together" regardless of differences. Yet, this was not a "well duh" for the author, this is still authentic experience, and that is important to respect.

3. "Us vs Them" and sensationalism kills that respect that is essential for dialogue, and thus for community. We're not in this together when we're turning someone's experience into an ideological viewpoint.

4. With that said, I would love to talk with the person who wrote the headline, so I can understand the choice they made and the experiences that lead them to that choice. Because nothing is cut and dry when it comes to what we do, there isn't this single "always right for everyone" way to do things. What is the "right way" is discerned in community, and will be different in some ways for just about every situation.

5. That's actually the value in not having much of how the "change these things" or any "these are the things that cause this" lists. Those lists will be slightly different for everyone who reads it, the blanket "how to" does not work. Yet, sometimes starting points are helpful. Which is why I just filled up facebook with this post.

6. We do need to think about what things in our church contribute to any group not interacting as fully as they could. We do need to see that from both the perspective of the community(church) and the perspective of the group that is "less connected." We need to be intentional about helping the whole community(church) see why what is may not be "best" and help everyone move forward together. This is slow discerning work, it changes and molds over time. What works right off the bat may not continue to work as even short periods of time pass, that though is the nature of community, the nature of church, the nature of God's work. And that what we're all up to, and we are "all in this together."

(This post was initially posted on FB without a link to the original article (which is from 2010 and why it's making the rounds today I'll never know), as though it was inspiration for this post, credit should be given.  The original article can be found at

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Redemption not just Salvation

The work of God is one of Redemption.  Sadly we often replace this with a cheap salvation.  God's redemption is relational, but it is also one that involves all of creation becoming like God intended.  This salvation that we too often speak of is personal, but it ends there, with the individual.

The pitfalls of a God who is only focused on individuals are many. We may become focused on comparing ourselves to others, judging their actions while excusing our own.  We can become focused on rejoicing in our own perceived ends and fail to see God asking us to help in the struggles of our world.  We might see this world as nothing more than that which is here for us, personally, as reward for being "God's chosen."  All of these have a commonality - a focus on self.

We must realize that Jesus tells us time and again that it's not about us, but about Love and service.  The call to love others and serve them as if they are God is what Jesus speaks of when he speaks about separating sheep from goats. Of course none of us always see everyone and treat them as we would if they were God incarnate.  This means we're all goats, aiming to be good goats, but goats covered by grace regardless.  So, if we are all goats, and if all are to be seen as God incarnate as well, then we end up right back at Redemption.  We're all working as God, for God, covered by God, who is working to redeem and renew everything through our labors and God's grace. This is the core of our faith, the work of redemption as seen in Jesus Christ, God incarnate and continuing through us who are called by that name.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Missing the Mark of Faithfulness

Those who know me know I think Pistis is best defined as faithfulness, which I understand as being the act of discerning what God wants one to do and the willingness to do it. So what does that mean for Hamartano?

Hamartano is understood to be "missing the mark" initially in archery, but then applied to other aspects of life, and in faith became "Sinning."  So if the mark we miss is Pistis, then Sin becomes either "not discerning God in what we do" or "not acting on what we have discerned."  Both of these options are things that would be hard if not impossible for anyone but the primary party to fully know.

Thus when we focus on the personal "Sin" of others, we ourselves are missing the mark of faithfulness that points throughout gospel and all stories of scripture to Justice as our primary call.  Only in a just world may we even begin to be able to see others actions through shared lenses of faithfulness.  As long as the world is not just, we can never clearly see the movement of God in another.

So if we are to believe God's grace is limitless, we must seek that which makes it up within ourselves: justice, love, peace, and mercy. Seeking those things of God and then acting upon them is at the core of Pistis and thus we must place them first in all we do.  We may never fully accomplish this and avoid Hamartano, but when we realize this tension is inherently personal, it allows us space to more clearly see God acting in the world and seek to join in that work of bringing about God's kingdom today that is so central to our faith.

Friday, May 31, 2013

A Poem Against the Powers of Control and Division

A Poem Against the Powers of Control and Division 
- I could have set this to a tune, but I think it's more in need of a Dr. Seuss style artist than music.
©2013 A Williams

We like it when things we can cleanly divide
For all things to sit on only one side
That which is evil versus that which is good
As we have determined, just as You “would”

For you've told each of us the other to love
And of laws handed on down from above
So this person should go on, be with like minds
They're not connected to our tie that binds

But this one would be better off joining us
Since they think this way, they won't make a fuss
They're better than them you can see it so clear
Bring them on over to be with us here

We are God's real church, as it's been throughout time
We've figured out every reason and rhyme
So come on over and try some of our wine
It's so much finer than on what they dine

For Obviously we're in God's image here
Just look at us, we are right, it's so clear
All can see, God has made it plain as clear day
We are the winners, there's no other way

The fruits of the spirit, so fine and so true
You'll find them in us, all bad we eschew
The fruits of the flesh? You are kidding me right?
We're not divisive, not here for a fight.

Maybe if we'd all just look a little bit deeper
And stop picking sides, playing grim reaper
Maybe we'd see we're full of fruits of the flesh
Not of the spirit who will still refresh

Step out of the places of power, control
Give up all safety to love's single soul
Risk all that we have to find God's unity
Admit we need “them” for community

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Some thoughts on the Church Going Forward (Are we the primary home of spiritual nourishment?)

The Church is a bit like the family farm that is now surrounded by subdivisions. We may still serve the "family" well, but we're now disconnected from the community around us. Those outside see value in what we have, but more often they just pass by wondering about the old family that seems out of place, or maybe complaining about the old broken down tractors (programs) that they see in our front yard. We keep going along living life the way we do because it seems to work “for us” but with a call to the world as well as each other, we have to realize that our neighbors, who we used to chase cows with or who provided the fire wood that we now have to cut ourselves in exchange for veggies aren't there anymore. The community of the world we are part of has changed and we have to change as well.

Think if you will of when your neighbors move, the new neighbors still fill the same “position” but they most likely serve in different roles within the community. As such, the community changes, if the person who mowed the lawns moves away and the new neighbor doesn't own a lawnmower, someone steps into that role, or everyone has to figure out a way to accomplish what the need. You don't have to be the person to mow lawns, but at minimum you have to now mow your own or hire someone else.

So how does this apply back to the church? Well let's go back to the farm analogy: If we as the church began as a place that supplied the local community with a needed service, but have as time has changed become disconnected from the changing needs of our community, we need to consider what the community currently sees us as. If we are the now “family farm” taking care of itself mainly and seen a place filled with things from a time gone by, we're no longer doing what we originally aimed to do. We have stopped being part of the community, so how can we take what we have and better be what our communities now need?

I think of farms in the area where I grew up, some fenced themselves off more in order to avoid having people complain about escaping cows and will live as long as the family does and then certainly die out (if not before). They aim to maintain for themselves. This is certainly not our call as the church. Some others have sold off much of their land, using profits to try to become something new, or just living out their lives still separate from the community that has grown around them. Also, does not line up with the churches call. But there is one other way I've seen that seems to maybe have lessons we as the church can learn from.

Some of these farms have found themselves just like the one I started this article with: A family farm with rusted tractors and old barns surrounded by subdivisions and planned communities. They heard the mumbling of the neighbors, they saw that they weren't connected, and they looked for ways to be part of the world surrounding them. This meant getting rid of some tractors, cleaning up some barns, and repurposing themselves to continue to serve the community that they were now part of. Some became homes to farmer markets and auction houses. Some found their space to be in great demand for community carnivals, concerts, and other entertainment and slowly repurposed buildings and land to be more and more formal entertainment space. In both these cases there's still some working family farm land attached, but the family is also connected to the community through the other things it does, and in doing so the community for the family has increased. We as the church have many things a community needs, but we must first take the time to look and hear what our specific context needs and try to fill in that void IF we can. Regardless, the process of being neighbor begins by our willingness to go out, be aware of need, and offer help.

We are not just here to take care of ourselves or those who come to us, and we are not a business selling God. We are a neighbor helping here to help and serve. A neighbor who needs to get back out and see that needs have changed and stand in those places of need just like we each were created to do from the beginning. The world sees us as behind, but we don't have to catch up, we just have to reconnect.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

LHW - The Already and Still Yet to Be

The Already and Still Yet To Be – Text by A Williams ©2013

Tune: Kolding

Life's verse dwells in already and still yet to be
When we think we've fond answers we lose clarity
Our choices move us on innumerable paths
Where we hope to one day see all clearly at last

We wonder, we wander, dialogue and discern
Longing for connections and from others to learn
Where God is moving in and as part of our lives
Seeking the divine clearness so God's way will thrive

We're pursued by the Spirit in all that exists
All creation is seeking though doubt it persists
Finding questions and answers through actions of love
For the Kingdom's today as forever above

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lenten Hymn: In a Time Without Alleluias

In a Time Without Alleluias by A Williams © 2013
Tune: Wingate

In a time without Alleluias
When the world seems without delight
Souls are filled with solemn silence
For in darkness joy takes flight

In a time without Alleluias
Seeming so far away from peace
Creation seems still and stifled
Struggles on without release

In a time without Alleluias
Love seems broken and nearly gone
All our powers simply failing
to help us continue on

In a time without Alleluias
Hope for hopelessness is found
Naught on earth can keep love silent
Or God's mercy underground

The time returns for Alleluias
When we face all the dark inside
For we cannot do God's justice
Til to self we've truly died

We'll sing full the Alleluias
When at last we can clearly see
The world just as God intended
Love adorned in majesty.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Faithful Sojourners

Faithful Sojourners – Text by A Williams ©2013

Commanded by our creator
to do justice with our lives
Go deliver oppressed peoples
with God's righteousness our guide

We Rejoice with those rejoicing
Weep along with those who weep
Live in harmony with each other
Thus all God's commandments keep

Stand with those who have been victims
of much theft and violence too
tossed aside by all around them
they call out to me and you

Care for those the world abandons
Left alone in a strange place
lost and looking unto others
just to find a friendly face

Faithful sojourners together
we seek to do the right thing
show all honor, peace, and mercy
and in part God's justice bring

Shed not blood nor carry anger
all are full of God's great love
Made whole in the divine image
serve on earth for God above

A Hymn for Community

A Hymn for Community – Text by A Williams ©2013
Here we stand confessing all
All we are and all we lack
We confess the love of God
but when called we still hold back

Struggling to hear God's word
hard for us to understand
we try but so often fail
to do as our God commands

Sent into the world to serve
Seeing all as a neighbor.
Earthly symbols of great love
Fully found in our savior

We're the body, hands and feet
Called to show another way
for all people in all lands
to live life from day to day

We the Church will stand as one
when we go our saviors way
we cannot but change the world
when we seek God's will today.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Theological Rant - Guns

I'm not one to say much about political stuff, but with all the gun related news, brings me back to an issue that I don't find political as much as it is theological.  What are guns used for has become a forefront discussion piece among many I hear talking about this issue and it seems to fall into 3 main categories.
1. Hunting
2. Sport
3. Self-Defense 

Guns used for hunting, especially hunting for food, are mostly weapons that are large, limited shot, and mostly owed by those who do actually hunt for food in my experience.  These don't tend to be the weapons used in the majority "gun violence" as far as I can tell.  Yes, they can injure and kill, but I am not discussing these within the remainder of this post.  

Guns used for sport I don't fully get, some of these are hunting weapons not used for food acquisition, and that is a minor issue for me, but most of these weapons are handguns or high powered, multi-round weapons which make NO logical sense to me, and will be covered in the Self-Defense category. But I feel like this gun use in general doesn't need to exist, the guns risk is higher to the community than the value of an individual's enjoyment.  

So now the big piece, I hear lots of arguments right now that we need guns for self defense.   The issue I have here is solely theological.  I can't understand how a faith where we're commanded not to kill can so easily defend the existence of something created to harm another and put their life in danger.  Now I know many will say that "we wouldn't shoot to kill, just to protect" but what are we protecting?  Something more valuable than the life and health of one created equal to us in God's image?

Taking this to the next level, many now point towards the argument that we need guns in case we ever "lose our freedom" and end up with a government/world that does atrocities that would harm even more people.  The problem with this argument is that it says that we must keep whatever power and control we can over the unknown.  We fear others and fear and hate are as close to one another as hate and killing are in Jesus's teachings.  So if we're not supposed to hate or kill, why are we okay with having things that are mostly created to inflict harm, and honestly to kill.  Maybe not as many die today because of medical advancements, but it doesn't take a perfect shot to kill someone, and any shot could.  And why would we want to kill anyone?  Why would we want to harm anyone? How is harming another showing any form of love to them?  We go out of our way to put up fences around things like Lust, but when it comes to this thing that we supposedly hold so highly, human life, we're okay with potentially taking it from one another just because ours is worth more than theirs.  THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THAT.  Either we're all equal, all created in God's image, all making mistakes, and all in this together, or there is no God.  Christians, pay attention, Guns do nothing to help us live in the way God commands.  They do nothing to make this life any better, nothing to improve the world and bring the kingdom of God closer.  I wish they were all gone, but since that won't happen, please at least let's dialogue about this from a place that does not make any individual more important than another, and let's see not the possibility of a future as something to fear, but as something that can be more like the Kingdom of God if we first love more like God ourselves.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Minister Survey

If you have read my early blogs or know me from other media or in person you may be aware that I am an odd bird in the ministerial world.  I am a Director of Educational Ministries in the PC(USA), but I also have my Master of Divinity.  This is not a "typical" combination in the PC(USA) and leaves me in an odd place as far as respect, power, and place within the denomination.  I came out of a evangelical tradition mainly because it's where I went to seminary, never having been well taught that my beliefs did not line up with the Baptist beliefs or many other evangelical traditions.  So in my Intro to New Testament class when I mentioned that I thought the idea that believers baptism and profession of faith were far less than essential.

Thus it is through the study of my theology I came to the PC(USA) where I theologically fit nearly perfectly, but am an outsider in most other forms.  As I continue to listen to others discuss and make decisions about the future of the church, it seems that many seem to think both denominations and the position of educator has no place in the future.  With that in mind I wonder if I made the right decision coming where I am, but I wonder more about how others deal with the diverse factors we have to balance in the changing context of Church.

So how would you rank the following in order of their importance to where you feel you are able to serve (and/or are serving currently):

Major Theological Issues (i.e. Sacraments, Meaning of Life, Understanding of Redemption)
Social Issues (i.e. Equality, Issues of Life and Death, Politics)
Denominational Respect (i.e. Ordination Policies, Openness to New Forms of Ministry)
Position Issues (i.e. Location, Specializations)
History (i.e. What You Grew Up As, Where You Know Others)
Other Issues (Specify)

For me obviously the major one was Theological, but Denominational Respect and Social Issues also play into things.  But I would like to know more about how others think, so please comment here, or send me a tweet at @KeepSetting or as KeepSetting on Facebook.  How we see and work through the differences we may have in many of these areas is something we need to consider as we look at the potential of a post-denominational church, and I would like to see what others are thinking today about where they are and could maybe go.

Thank You!