Church Anew

Denomination: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Organization: Church Anew - A Ministry of St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, MN

Church Anew is a ministry of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, MN.

Articles by Church Anew

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Ellie Roscher: A Call for Asynchronous Small Group Ministry

Thursday December 02, 2021
Amid our layered lives, we carve out time to hear each other and allow ourselves to be heard, and in doing so we have created a loving and valued community.

Walter Brueggemann: The Strangeness of the Stranger

Friday November 26, 2021
What follows is a report on two books I have recently read, quite by happenstance, back to back.

Jenny Sung: Permission to Feel More Than Gratitude

Wednesday November 24, 2021
We all know there are many things to be grateful for and at the same time there is a deep exhaustion, time feels weird, and trauma is real. We all have people in our worlds we love and others who are at best annoying us, at worst breaking our hearts...

Bishop Michael Curry: "God so loved the world..." - A Sermon on Climate

Friday November 12, 2021
"God so loved the world..." Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry preaches at the Liturgy for Planetary Crisis. The service focused on climate change and the need for swift, just action to bring us back into right relationship across the human family and with all of God's creation.

Adam White: Why Campus Ministries Aren’t Streaming Worship

Thursday November 11, 2021
It may come as a surprise to some that the oft-repeated idea that streaming worship will be necessary in the post-pandemic church has failed to gain traction in many communities centered on ministry with digital natives. But it shouldn’t.

Eric Barreto: Laugh a Little: Scripture as Instruction Manual or Action Film?

Saturday November 06, 2021
Have you ever found yourself reading the Bible and thought to yourself: Do you know what this story reminds me of? The Fast and the Furious.

Walter Brueggemann: Dear Preacher: Buoyant Gospel Without Hindrance

Wednesday November 03, 2021
The preacher alternatively can, like the ducks, trust the buoyancy of the water, be like Paul to fall back into the goodness of God in a way that makes all the tribulations distinctly penultimate.

Matthew Ian Fleming: What I Learned from Attending Church in the Pandemic

Friday October 22, 2021
In this year of pandemic church, my kids have experienced some amazing happenings. They saw those first people returning to the building with tears in their eyes, just to be among the people, smelling familiar scents of carpet and brick, hearing organ and the voice of a preacher not filtered through tinny computer speakers.

Natalia Terfa: An Open Letter to Those Who Haven't Come Back to Church

Friday October 15, 2021
I want you to know you're not the only one feeling this way. And more than anything, I want you to know that I meant it when I told you that church was always more than a building.

Walter Brueggemann: Stay Safe!

Thursday October 14, 2021
The reality for many of us is that we are so wise and calculating that we never run the risk of real obedience or enter vigorously into the zone of neighborliness.

Paul Raushenbush: Celebrate Facebook’s Outage? Many Faith Communities Couldn’t Talk at All

Thursday October 07, 2021
The response from at least some portion of Facebook’s 3.5 billion users to its five-hour outage on Monday went something like this: “Good, I’m glad it’s down, may it stay down forever.” But...

Ulrika von Yxkull: Religion on the School Schedule

Wednesday September 29, 2021
In Sweden, students are taught to be able to describe the most distinctive features of each religion, to increase their understanding between people.

David Rojas Martinez: Musings on the Autumnal Equinox

Wednesday September 22, 2021
Fall is upon us and we begin to learn, once again, to let go and trust and rest for a while.

Rev. Jenny Sung: Who Said You Were Naked?

Wednesday September 15, 2021
At the root of our relationship with God is the gift of choice. Our thoughtful Designer never intended us to be obedient robots who live out a particular plan, so God included the seed of agency. God recognized that choice is healing and the most loving.

Dr. Todd Green: “Never Forget”? 9/11 and the Ethics of Memory

Saturday September 11, 2021
“Never Forget” is the most recognizable slogan connected to the 9/11 attacks. In the months and years following the attacks, the slogan was plastered on banners, bumper stickers, and billboards. The meaning seems clear, so much so that the slogan is not really debated or questioned in mainstream America. But is the meaning clear?

Natalia Terfa: The Church and the Great Resignation

Thursday September 09, 2021
There’s a phenomenon we’re experiencing right now, one that is predicted to continue over the next year, called “The Great Resignation.” Four million people in the U.S. quit their jobs in April alone, and a not insignificant number of others are at least considering it.

Angela Denker: ABC Prayer

Friday August 20, 2021
I want to offer a prayer — for all of us, parents, caregivers, students, teachers, administrators, supporters alike, listed in the form of the ABCs. May God go before us even into this uncertainty, fear, and frustration.

Holly Beck: How to Keep Gen Z in Your Pews

Tuesday August 17, 2021
A 2018 report from Barna Group, Gen Z: The Culture, Beliefs, and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation, notes the differences in Generation Z (born between ~1999 and 2015) and older generations - especially in regards to feelings about faith and religion. One statistic stuck out to me as I read Barna’s report: 61 percent of Gen Z Christians do not think that attending church is important and say that they find God elsewhere.

Jacob Boettcher: The Community We Carry

Thursday August 05, 2021
This must be one of the radical features of the Gospel: for Christ to invite everything (and everyone) out of exile and into belonging.

Jessica Gulseth: The Future of the Church is Young

Tuesday August 03, 2021
Our students want to be respected in the ways that every being deserves.

Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder: Choose Yourself... Sometimes.

Saturday July 31, 2021
Rest is a privilege. It is the privilege of thinking about what one wants to think about whenever and for whatever length of time. Rest is the gift of doing or not doing because one has carved out of space to let idleness rule the day.

Angela Denker: A God Who Cares? A Meditation on John 11:32-37

Wednesday July 28, 2021
In times of great pain, both global and personal, I often find myself returning again and again to these verses from John 11. The image of my Savior, weakened, weeping and disturbed, is so unworldly and unexpected that it draws me near again and again, and I remember that the God I worship is so very different than the god the world idolizes.

Mark Elsdon: We Aren't Broke: Uncovering Hidden Resources for Mission and Ministry

Friday July 09, 2021
We are not broke. We are invited to innovate and transform lives and institutions using the abundance of gifts that God has given us. There is enormous possibility and hope. Read this Church Anew excerpt from a new book.

Greg Carey: Critical Race Theory: Coming to Terms

Thursday July 08, 2021
Many Americans, particularly White Christians, probably hadn’t heard the term “critical race theory” until quite recently. I imagine many people, and many pastors, could simply use an introduction to the movement. The conversation has been around for decades, and I think it’s helpful to lay out what CRT is and what it is not.

Walter Brueggemann: When the Music Starts Again

Wednesday June 16, 2021
Any family or communal festive occasion can become a “sign” or a marker. It could be a graduation, a birthday, a funeral, or a reunion. But let us consider a wedding … a wedding as a “sign” or a marker of social, historical significance. This is how it was for the ancient prophet Jeremiah as he watched his beloved Jerusalem sink into misery.

Walter Brueggemann: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Neighborly Covenant

Wednesday May 26, 2021
Here I will consider only three McCarthys, to the disregard of many others. There is in scripture, as far as I know, no direct response to these various McCarthys. I did however think of these texts that seem pertinent in Isaiah and Jeremiah.

Eric Barreto: Where Do We Go From Here?

Tuesday May 18, 2021
The CDC’s announcement that vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks, whether indoors or outdoors, stirred all kinds of reactions. Victory for some. A sense that at long last, this long nightmare was starting to draw to a close in a significant — if still incomplete — way. For others, the news was not all that welcome.

Walter Brueggemann: O Land, Land, Land (Jeremiah 22:29)

Thursday May 13, 2021
The land, when it is honored and respected, weeps. It weeps long sadness because it knows such durable abuse....

Walter Brueggemann: Discriminatory Gaslighting

Tuesday May 04, 2021
I watched the interview of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry by Oprah Winfrey. I read about the reaction of the royal family to the interview in which members of the royal family attempted to undermine or deconstruct the memory of Harry and Meghan about how they had been treated. And then I learned what was for me a new phrase, “discriminatory gaslighting”...

Walter Brueggemann: Majoring in Minors

Tuesday April 27, 2021
In the midst of the pandemic, Fareed Zakaria, a well known journalist and commentator, has published a short accessible book entitled, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World. In one of his chapters, Zakaria has this “lesson”: “The world is digital.” This “lesson” leads Zakaria to explore the current technological revolution and the expansive reach of Artificial Intelligence.

Walter Brueggemann: We Will Get Through This Together

Tuesday April 20, 2021
While such an assurance is welcome, it also makes one wonder: who is the “we” in this mantra? And who are we leaving out?

Walter Brueggemann: Providential Tyranny

Friday April 16, 2021
I have been thinking about “providence” as I have been reading about “meritocracy,” the notion of a society governed by those who have exceptional ability and have arrived at their power, wealth, and influence solely by the merit of their ability.

Dr. Raj Nadella: Preaching Thomas and Embodied Solidarity (John 20:19-29)

Friday April 09, 2021
In the story of post-resurrection appearances in John 20, Thomas seems to ask for proof of Jesus’s resurrection. But was he also asking for something else?

Walter Brueggemann: Solidarity that Counts: Second Sunday of Easter (Psalm 133; Acts 4:32-35)

Tuesday April 06, 2021
Easter is the good news that God’s power for life has defeated death; this is matched by the good news that God’s power intends the defeat of poverty.

Dr. Mary Foskett: Invisibility Is No Longer an Option

Wednesday March 24, 2021
Many of us have been overwhelmed this week by a lifetime of painful memories and trauma flooding our minds and breaking our hearts.

Walter Brueggemann: Beyond the Spreadsheet

Tuesday March 23, 2021
The linkage between the God of the Gospel and economics is deep, wide, and inescapable. One cannot have the God of the Gospel without the neighborly economy willed by the God of the Gospel.

Jessica Gulseth: A Year Later, Who Are We?

Saturday March 20, 2021
Lately I’ve wondered, after this year, who am I now? What has changed in and around me? Not to spoil the ending here, but I’m going to ask you the same questions. But first, here’s what I’ve been curious about as I reflect on this question.

Ellen Raffety: Lenten Hope in a Pandemic

Thursday March 18, 2021
My point is not just that hope and disability can coexist, but that experiences of pain, uncertainty, and disability cultivate a different, faithful kind of hope that we Christians need.

Greg Carey: The Bible and Ethics

Wednesday March 17, 2021
Naturally, we Christians turn to the Bible when we have moral questions. Christianity and its Bible have been turned to all kinds of uses, some good and some evil. Here in the United States, we’ve done so especially with respect to matters of race, gender, and sexuality, piling up verses on one side or the other to support what we already believe.

Laura Jean Truman: Lent: Being Human with Our Human God

Saturday March 06, 2021
I’ve always been a fan of Lent. It’s a good time to make fancy spiritual to-do lists, read important books, and whip ourselves into spiritual shape so that we come out the other end holier. I love the idea of becoming holier!

Walter Brueggemann: The "Ands" of the Gospel

Friday March 05, 2021
The church community includes both Jews and Gentiles. Gentiles cannot be lopped off after the “and.”

Walter Brueggemann: Refusing Erasure

Tuesday March 02, 2021
Brutality served not only to erase those who might threaten power, but also to intimidate those who might undertake resistance. Yet there can be a considerable sustained and courageous resistance movement, even in the face of such acute danger.

Walter Brueggemann: Borne Away

Wednesday February 24, 2021
Isaac Watts’s hymn "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" concerns the reality of death and the reliable governance of God beyond the reality of death.

Walter Brueggemann: Permission to Narrate

Saturday February 20, 2021
The narrative for which the church has permission is precisely the story that dominant culture wants to shush.

Angela Denker: The Lent I Didn’t Want

Thursday February 18, 2021
This is not the Lent I wanted. I wanted to give up chocolate or wine or commit to a new practice of reading my Bible. I did not want to pay homage and dwell in the grief and death of this year.

Walter Brueggemann: A Small Gain in Yardage

Friday February 12, 2021
The possession of the “whole world” leads to the diminishment of life: or in the words of the hymn, we become “rich in things and poor is soul.”

Jessica Gulseth: The Capitol Riot Exposes Bad Theology

Thursday February 11, 2021
Just over a month ago, I was shaken to the core as I watched a group of people storm the United States Capitol. The foreshadowing of the last several years left me unsurprised such things could happen. What did baffle me and ultimately shook me was that many of these actors, insurrectionists, believed their actions were justified by God.

Walter Brueggemann: The Peaceful Transfer of Real Power (Transfiguration): II Kings 2:1-12

Tuesday February 09, 2021
No doubt many preachers will eschew this enigmatic text and choose texts that give easier access. I hope, to the contrary, that preachers will linger over this text, because it teems with interpretive thickness. The narrative specificity of this text includes a number of components that defy our every explanation...

Walter Brueggemann: Discipleship That Inconveniences

Saturday February 06, 2021
Complete, unwavering discipleship to Jesus is costly, eventually leading to a risky contradiction with dominant culture. Most of us, surely, are not much inclined to that costliness that seems nothing short of heroic.

Walter Brueggemann: Destiny Not Fate

Tuesday February 02, 2021
One of our neighbors who will not wear a mask says, “Well, if I die it must be my time.” Our roads, moreover, are strewn with signs that say, “God’s got this.” These judgments, if taken seriously, conclude that we are fated to a future that is already determined for us. This sentiment is an echo of the ancient confidence in the “law of the Medes and the Persians.”

Walter Brueggemann: Imagine: The Apostle Paul Meets Francis Bacon

Saturday January 30, 2021
We are presently in a great contest between Paul and Bacon, between love and knowledge, between neighbor and self-serving and self-seeking.

Greg Carey: A Parable for a Prodigal Church and Its LGBTQ Children

Friday January 29, 2021
The parable of the Prodigal shows us who’s really lost. It’s not the younger brother who was returned home to an extravagant welcome. Instead, it’s his righteous brother who refuses to come to the party. This older brother’s refusal closes the whole chapter by playing out the role of the Pharisees and scribes.

Walter Brueggemann: What Naboth Teaches Us Today

Wednesday January 27, 2021
The story of Naboth’s vineyard is a towering, uncompromising witness to the pertinence of YHWH to socioeconomic matters. The narrative is so towering and so uncompromising that we may take it as a paradigmatic tale that functions as a lens for the interpretation of many other texts...

Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder: Pondering Black Women’s Bodies

Wednesday January 20, 2021
As a Black woman prepares to become the first Black, first woman, first South Asian to occupy the U.S. vice presidency, Black women’s bodies have been on my mind. My own body has been on my mind. I have been thinking about self-care, wellness, and the importance of never negotiating boundaries.

Walter Brueggemann: The Peculiar Dialect of Faith

Wednesday January 13, 2021
It is a primary task of church leadership, in the face of the language of commoditized instrumentalism, to keep alive the peculiar relational, covenantal language of faith. That is, to assure that our peculiar rhetoric remains available and compelling. Given that task, I was somewhat “woke” by this remarkable statement: "A language is a dialect with an army and a navy."

Meta Herrick Carlson: Coming Back Together: Church and Consent Culture in 2021

Friday January 08, 2021
In my new book Speak It Plain: Words for Worship and Life Together (Fortress Press, 2020), I offer some tips for creating a trauma-informed worship space. What if our faith communities spend this season apart learning to talk about trauma and developing new hospitality practices to support folks on the other side of Covid-19? Here are a few ideas.

Church Anew: Chaos in the Capitol: What Will We Preach This Sunday?

Friday January 08, 2021
Responding to the insurrection at the United States Capitol, Church Anew contacted our network of contributors to ask what they would preach this Sunday. Our prayer is that these words from visionaries, nationally recognized or locally committed, provide witness for your proclamation this Sunday as the nation looks for spiritual leadership and solidarity. May the Spirit ignite your words with fire for justice.

Walter Brueggemann: Psalm 29: First Sunday after Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ

Thursday January 07, 2021
It is the hunch of some scholars (including me) that Psalm 29 is a liturgical script (or an echo of a liturgical script) that served an annual pageant in the Jerusalem temple in ancient Israel. The intent of that pageant was to perform a drama whereby YHWH was designated as King of the gods for the coming year.

Walter Brueggemann: Snow as Testimony

Tuesday January 05, 2021
Savor every flake, because every flake bears witness, so claims the poet, to the life-giving reliability of God.

Ulysses Burley III: What Kind of Neighbor Are You?

Thursday December 31, 2020
So who is my neighbor? 2020 has proven this to be the wrong question. A better question that we should all be asking going into 2021 is, “What kind of neighbor am I?”

Tim Maudlin: Do Justice, Love Mercy and Kindness, and Walk Humbly with God

Wednesday December 30, 2020
Every two weeks, the Church Anew leadership team gathers for prayer, reflection, and visioning. This devotion was shared at our last meeting in December with Pastor David Lillejord, Pastor Matthew Fleming, Pastor Gail Bach and Pastor Mary Brown by Mr. Tim Maudlin. We'd like to share our 2021 intention with you.

Walter Brueggemann: Joseph and Mary: On Becoming a Statistic

Friday December 25, 2020
The carpenter from Nazareth, Joseph, we may assume, was a modest man who lived a modest life in his village. He did not rock the boat. He did not want to call attention to himself. But then, according to the gospel narrative, he faced two powerful disruptions in his settled life.

Walter Brueggemann: The God Laden with Narrative and Constancy

Tuesday December 22, 2020
In these hard days, every pastor (along with many other folk) is asked, “How do you fend off despair?” and “How can we continue to hope?” In response to these questions, what follows here is my exposition of a single familiar text from Israel’s great Manifesto of Hope, Isaiah 40-55...

Greg Carey: Hope Not Optimism

Monday December 21, 2020
For Christians, hope is our most fundamental strategy. And Advent is the season for hope.

Susan Weaver: The "Perfect" Christmas Gift?

Sunday December 13, 2020
All good gift-giving is rooted in love. The kind of love that comes from having made time enough and paid attention enough to really know the other.

David Iversen: In 2020, Christmas Carols Are for Every Day

Saturday December 12, 2020
In my humble opinion as a simple lifelong Lutheran layperson, I say, go for it! Sing as many Christmas (and Advent) songs as you want between now and Epiphany!

Jessica Gulseth: Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Ministry Self Care is Essential

Thursday December 10, 2020
Preparing for Christmas in the church world is a time of joy and innovation; it’s a season that many of us love. When I look at my community, I see creative, fun, and reflective ministry happening. The Ideas are easy flowing as we lean into advent and prepare for Christmas. It can be fun, exciting and sort of magical. It is also kind of exhausting.

Walter Brueggemann: Not Numbed Inside

Friday November 27, 2020
My friend, Dean Francis, loaned me a most remarkable book. Written by John Compton, it is entitled, The End of Empathy: Why White Protestants Stopped Loving Their Neighbors. The book is a carefully researched study about the way in which mainline churches have dramatically lost members and public influence.

Angela Denker: The End of Dialogue?

Wednesday November 25, 2020
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years talking about the hope I see in America, even in the midst of a devastating pandemic and a much-needed and overdue reckoning with racism and white supremacy, particularly in the church.

Walter Brueggemann: Gratitude as Subversion

Tuesday November 24, 2020
Thanksgiving Day, for all its entanglement with white violence against Native Americans, is a reminder to us that even in such a difficult time as this, gratitude is the hallmark of the Christian life. It is an acknowledgement that we are on the receiving end of life, and it is the generous creator God who is on the giving end of our life.

Michael J. Chan: Terence E. Fretheim, A Remembrance

Friday November 20, 2020
Dr. Terence E. Fretheim died late in the morning on November 16, 2020. With his passing, the world lost one of the most productive, creative, and insightful interpreters of biblical literature. As someone honored to call Professor Fretheim a teacher, colleague, and friend, I would like to offer a few reflections on his life and work as a biblical interpreter.

Theresa F. Latini: Thanksgiving 2020: Held Together by Grief and Gratitude

Friday November 20, 2020
This will not be Thanksgiving as we have known it: a day to gather and feast with friends and family; to watch football and play games; to tell stories of years gone by and to toast loved ones no longer with us; to laugh (or roll our eyes) as relatives enact the same family script allotted to them decades ago; and, to gratefully experience the beautiful messiness of life together.

Greg Carey: Anxious for Nothing? Getting Real about Prayer, Gratitude, and Challenging Times

Thursday November 19, 2020
I’ve always admired those Christians who remain positive through the toughest of times. You know the ones. Their faith seems never to waver, their demeanor beams positivity, and they express gratitude as naturally as a New Yorker says “How ya doin’?” It may not be fair to say I admire them. I envy them.

Ellie Roscher: Bound by Love, Not Social Isolation

Friday November 13, 2020
Since March, when the global pandemic bound us in our homes, I have been over-functioning. I was working while parenting and parenting while working, feeling inadequate at both. I was exhausted. All around me, people were sick and dying. People lost their jobs, faced eviction, and struggled in isolation....

Dr. Mothy Varkey: Midwives of Life

Thursday November 12, 2020
The healthcare professionals who have stood out as the ‘courageous midwives,’ as in the book of Exodus (1:15-22), in todays’ tough times save humanity from a possible ‘health collapse.’ During this time of unprecedented and unparalleled upheaval, they hold the life of humanity in their hands just as a mother holds a newborn baby.

Walter Brueggemann: Preaching on the Sunday After Election 2020

Friday November 06, 2020
Because I write this prior to the election, I do not know the outcome. No doubt some of us will be soaringly elated and some of us will be deeply chagrined. The pastoral task on this Sunday is to call the faithful away from either elation or chagrin back to the more elemental realities of our faith.

Walter Brueggemann: The Duty and Destiny of a Shoveler

Tuesday November 03, 2020
What follows here is an act of self-indulgence. It is not likely to be informative, instructive, or edifying for you, dear reader. Thus, you may desist from reading further. I have written this simply because I wanted to, to see what I could make of a line I have read recently.

Bishop Michael Curry: Election 2020: Our Values Matter

Tuesday November 03, 2020
Despite our flaws and failings, we have some shared values. One of them is the preservation and perfection of representative democracy itself, "that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Walter Brueggemann: Truth or Consequences in 2020

Saturday October 31, 2020
We live in a world of so-called “fake news” and so-called “alternative facts.” These propositions, largely invoked by Donald Trump and amplified by myriad conspiracy theorists, have quickly eroded trust in foundational pillars of democracy and of shared community. Ultimately, the assertions of “fake news” display downright violence against our neighborhoods and our shared vision for humanity.

Deanna Thompson on Interfaith Dialogue in Colleges

Wednesday October 28, 2020
In a Christian context, vocation is about being called by God to particular places and spaces in the world. And I want to suggest that the verse from John 15 has something to say to us about a Christian understanding of vocation. In this chapter of John, we hear Jesus calling his disciples to a vocation of friendship.

Walter Brueggemann on the Unrest in Our Cities

Monday October 26, 2020
This year’s unrest in our cities merits restorative attention. The attention that unrest receives from our political discourse and reactive policies has not shown itself to be restorative. Indeed, we can recall speeches that, without a cubit of understanding, declared the “carnage stops now.” Of course, the unrest has not stopped, and our leadership has done nothing to stop it. There is no awareness of or interest in what causes and sustains the unrest.

Eric Barreto: 545 of Our Children

Thursday October 22, 2020
When I think about those 545 children at the border, I don’t imagine blank faces. I don’t wonder what they look like. They look like me. They look like my children. They look like Jesus.

Jessica Gulseth: Say More Not Less - A Message to Church Leaders

Wednesday October 21, 2020
Of all the things that continue to chisel at my spirit, the most difficult thing is carrying on with work, school, and social life as if nothing is different.

Walter Brueggemann: On the Truth of Economic Control

Monday October 19, 2020
The ownership class knows the price of everything. It is accustomed to buying, selling, and acquiring. Consequently, it pays great attention to prices, and not unlike the Philistines, that class sets the price of commodities. But that same ownership class very often does not know the cost of things, because it has not actually paid the cost.

Greg Carey: Originalism in Bible and in Law

Friday October 16, 2020
The Senate hearings concerning the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the United States Supreme Court are a very big deal indeed. On social media I’ve seen lots of discussion of her philosophy of legal interpretation, known as originalism....

Lee Ann Pomrenke: Who is Caring for Church Leaders?

Wednesday October 14, 2020
Have you noticed how newsletter articles, sermons, blogposts, and other writing from before the pandemic can either feel completely irrelevant now or eerily prescient?

Mihee Kim-Kort: We Still Dream Even During COVID

Monday October 12, 2020
It seems that fall has arrived here finally with the gift of cool breezes and crisp, blue skies. I’m told that there will still be a few hot days to come in October, but I feel the days of crushing humidity have left us for now, maybe, on the wings of those birds that are already migrating south. Or is this wishful thinking?

Walter Brueggemann: The Golden Calf and 2020: Exodus 32:1-14, Psalm 106:19-23

Thursday October 08, 2020
The narrative of the “golden calf” stands as a paradigmatic tale of Israel’s skewed covenant with YHWH. Excluding the Priestly instruction of Exodus 25-31, this story in Exodus 32 follows immediately after the covenant-making in Exodus 2:43. There is not even the space of a breath between covenant-making and covenant-breaking!

Mothy Varkey: Break the Rituals, Break the Chain

Wednesday October 07, 2020
In every human community, there are religious, cultural, and political ‘normals’ pertaining to human behavior, body ethics, and cultural codes. These ‘normalcies’ are not divinely ordained but constructed by the elite and the powerful with their seemingly consensual discourses and ritual practices. Those who control this process of manufacturing what is ‘normal’ and ‘natural’ eventually determine ‘who’ and ‘what’ are ‘normal.’...

Erin Raffety: Trading Our Ropes for God’s Faithfulness

Tuesday September 29, 2020
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was inevitable that we’d all come to the ends of our ropes. By now, however, we’ve all come to the ends of our ropes over and over and over again—people continue to die, whether from police brutality or this deadly virus, there’s no safety net, no childcare for working parents, no school for kids or support for people with disabilities, there’s no security, no hope in sight, it feels like what we give is never enough, and then the day starts over. What do you do, how do you live, when there is no rope left?

Walter Brueggemann: Hope, by the Numbers

Saturday September 26, 2020
Meet Amos Wilder (1895-1993). Wilder was a pastor, a poet, and a long-time New Testament scholar at Harvard. He was also the brother of Thornton Wilder, author of Our Town. I introduce him to you, dear reader, in order that you may, along with me, savor his wonderful enigmatic dictum: The zero hour breeds new algebra.

Angela Denker: RBG and the Death of Shared Humanity

Friday September 25, 2020
Since her death I’ve been trying to track my own understanding of Justice Ginsburg. What I knew and didn’t know, and how her death had sparked a mixture of grief, fear, and partisan vitriol in America.

Joe Davis: Deepen Humility and Compassion with the IDI

Thursday September 24, 2020
As Christian public leaders we are often learning new ways to navigate conversations and relationships with people of diverse cultures across churches and communities. Every interaction is an intercultural interaction, whether we realize it or not.

Diana Butler Bass: Forty Days

Thursday September 24, 2020
There are 40 days to the election. I invite you to consider this election season to be like Lent, a time of prayer and practice.

Greg Carey: Resist Nihilism

Tuesday September 22, 2020
In his Church Anew article, Dr. Greg Carey writes that we resort to “It’s all a matter of opinion” when facts make us uncomfortable.

Eric Barreto: Forgiveness: Can You Imagine It?

Saturday September 19, 2020
In his Church Anew post, Eric Barreto writes, Our human tendency to mistake urgency for importance is older than breaking news on cable TV or the latest viral tweet.

Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder: The Imposition of Imposter Syndrome

Friday September 18, 2020
The imposition of imposter syndrome is imposters who dwell in the mendacious abyss of professional facade make life harder for others. The imposition of imposter syndrome is we suffer, society is compromised, our giftedness does not illuminate a dark, dank world when we doubt and dare not show up fully.

Mihee Kim-Kort: Pressing on in the Midst of Chaos

Thursday September 17, 2020
How do we live in the midst of chaos, of so many simultaneous crises? When we are confronted even more with the precarity, the fragility of life, it is in these moments that we can trust that we are being held up by the love and grace of God.

Deanna Thompson: Uncomfortable Grace, Anti-Racism, and Lutheran Tradition at St. Olaf

Tuesday September 15, 2020
This blog, written by Deanna A. Thompson of St. Olaf College’s Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community (Northfield, Minn.), exemplifies one Lutheran institution’s commitment to anti-racism work. The Lutheran Center engages people of all backgrounds and beliefs in deep exploration of core commitments and life choices in ways that foster inclusive community, both within and beyond St. Olaf College.

Church Anew: Policing and the Church: an Interview with Pastor Brian Herron

Monday August 31, 2020
In part three of Church Anew’s series on policing and the church, we interview Pastor Brian Herron of Zion Baptist Church on policing in Minneapolis, MN.

Church Anew: Policing and the Church: an Interview with an Officer

Friday August 28, 2020
In part two of Church Anew’s series on policing and the church, we interview a police officer serving a community near Minneapolis on the intersections of his job, faith, and current events.

Susan Weaver: Policing and the Church: Part One in a Series

Thursday August 27, 2020
I am doing some painful learning about my privilege and about how racist attitudes are embedded into my psyche, simply because I am part of white American culture. It’s humbling and sobering work to become aware of those attitudes and my implicit bias and intentionally address and recover from them.

Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder: The “Light” of Ella Baker

Tuesday August 25, 2020
Ella Baker seized the opportunity and made a decision that would turn the tide of history. She chose to do what far exceeded herself. Although SNCC is no longer a viable entity and Baked died in 1986, her name, her work, and her spirit thrive.

Angela Denker: Why Christian Values Demand Women's Rights

Friday August 21, 2020
Many Christians continue to believe that because I am female, my call into ministry itself is anathema to their understanding of the Gospel.

Greg Carey: Liberty! (Gospel, That Is)

Wednesday August 19, 2020
Nobody wants to hear my opinions on Constitutional matters. As Paul would say, may it not be! Instead of pursuing the constitutional question, let’s examine what freedom means in a Christian context. Let’s think about gospel freedom.

Ulysses Burley III: Finding God’s Voice in Pandemic Noise

Wednesday August 19, 2020
In order to identify and respond to a sound, one must first listen. If the link between Jesus and his flock is mediated by recognition of the Master's voice, what does that mean for the kind of spiritual listening involved in responding to Him?

Walter Brueggemann: An Alternative Politics

Saturday August 15, 2020
I believe our political economy too often relies on a handful of wealthy families whose contributions profoundly shape political races and policies alike. In some countries, that “clique” is called “oligarchs.” In American society, it is sometimes called the “political elite.”

Bishop Michael Curry: Prayerful Action in a Pandemic

Tuesday August 11, 2020
Earlier this week, I was preparing a very brief meditation for a kind of public service announcement on prayer in the time of pandemic. As I was preparing, something dawned on me that I wanted to share with you....

Eric Barreto: Trust and Conspiracy in a Pandemic (Matthew 14:22-33)

Friday August 07, 2020
In his Church Anew post, Dr. Eric Barreto urges us: Do not look to the man behind the curtain pulling the strings. Do not look for the code that explains it all. Do not look for the conspiracy that contorts and changes to explain every wrinkle and incorrect prediction.

Michael J. Chan: Return to Normalcy and Other Fleshpots

Wednesday August 05, 2020
In his Church Anew piece, Dr. Michael Chan says in the current political environment many Americans are hoping for a “return to normalcy.” Such a pitch plucks at the heartstrings of many who are ready to vomit after too many sharp turns on the 2020 roller coaster.

Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder - Ella Baker: A Name We All Should Know

Tuesday August 04, 2020
Ella Baker seized the opportunity and made a decision that would turn the tide of history. She chose to do what far exceeded herself. Although SNCC is no longer a viable entity, and Baked died in 1986, her name, her work, and her spirit thrive.

David Lillejord: Why Is It So Hard to Live as One Body?

Saturday August 01, 2020
In this Church Anew article, Pastor David Lillejord asks--and answers--a difficult question: Why Is It So Hard to Live as One Body?

Matthew Ian Fleming: Toxic Masculinity: A Sin As Old As Adam

Thursday July 30, 2020
Matthew Fleming writes, Until each of us take responsibility for our own actions and reactions, we cannot begin to imagine challenging this culture of toxic masculinity that is as old as Adam.

Valerie Bridgeman: A Eulogy for John Robert Lewis, “The Boy from Troy”

Monday July 27, 2020
In her Church Anew article, Valerie Bridgeman writes: I was six years old when the late Congressman John Robert Lewis was beaten to near death on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on what became known as Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965.

Susan Weaver: Back to School “or Not”?

Tuesday July 21, 2020
Do you remember the “Would you rather” game? It was a good back-of-the-bus activity on field trips. Or slumber party fun for a group of pre-teens. Players have to choose between two less than desirable alternatives - to choose the least bad from the most bad. Like, would you rather step barefoot in dog-doo or have a bird poop on your head? You’d like to choose neither, but that’s not an option. That’s how this “what to do with school in the fall” decision feels.

Bishop Michael Curry: How Love Shows Us the Way During Difficult Times

Friday July 17, 2020
Bishop Michael Curry asks "what would love do" in a world upended by racial protests and the coronavirus.

Walter Brueggemann: There’s No Excuse for Food Insecurity

Wednesday July 15, 2020
I am “food secure!” I eat out frequently in the lovely venues in my town: Red Ginger, Poppycock, Harrington’s by the Bay, or West End Tavern. I would not have known to use that phrase for myself except that I hear much talk in our town of disproportionate wealth about the “food insecure.”

Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder: When Home Is Not Home

Tuesday July 14, 2020
In her article for Church Anew, Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder says there is a safety, security of home at least for most of us. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to pause and consider our relationship with the place and people associated with our homes. Sudden shifts to working remotely and ad nauseam Zoom meetings have exposed parts of our lives which had been selectively disclosed.

Walter Brueggemann: Isaiah 55:10-13: From Chaos to Homecoming

Saturday July 11, 2020
In his Church Anew article, Walter Brueggemann says this narrative entrusted to us is the news of emancipation from the forces of greed, fear, and violence that cannot finally prevail because the word of God is at work in the world.

Angela Denker: Smash the Monuments - A New Christian Iconoclasm

Friday July 10, 2020
In this Church Anew article, Angela Denker says let the monuments fall and tumble to the earth. Let the Columbus statues be toppled. And then let us gather up the dust, spread it across the land, add water, and plant seeds anew for our nation.

Raj Nadella: The Sower and the Seed and Black Lives Matter

Thursday July 09, 2020
In this new Church Anew article, Raj Nadella says the parable of the sower and the seed (Matthew 13) takes on a new meaning when read in the context of growing economic disparities and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Erin Raffety: Leaning into Disability, Lamenting with Freedom

Saturday July 04, 2020
Erin Raffety says the pandemic has revealed how deep the roots of ableism run and how intertwined they are with sexism and racism.

Walter Brueggemann: The Protocols of Scarcity

Friday July 03, 2020
In several of my previous columns, I have referred to “the protocols of scarcity.” In this setting I want to exposit what I mean by that phrase.

Eric Barreto: The Death of Death (Romans 6:1-11)

Wednesday July 01, 2020
When death is not stalking our communities in the twin forms of pandemic and racism, police violence and anti-black prejudice, it may be possible to confess confidently with Paul that I am dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. But when sin entangles every aspect of our everyday lives, when racism and sexism and homophobia worm their way into every corner of this world, it may prove that much more difficult to proclaim along with Paul that I am, that we are dead to sin.

Rabbi Shosh Dworsky: Torah, Darsheini, and Black Preaching in Response to the Killing of George Floyd

Friday June 26, 2020
Like many of you I’ve been going over in my mind the scene of George Floyd’s killing, wondering what I might have done had I been among the onlookers. I’ve been fixated on the two rookie cops sitting on Floyd’s back and knees. Why didn’t they stand up and say, “This is wrong, I won’t be part of this”? If I’m honest with myself I can imagine a partial answer.

Church Anew: Rise Up: A Four Week Preaching Series

Wednesday June 24, 2020
Church Anew is excited to provide practical resources to preachers and other church leaders including curricula, sermon series, and ministry ideas to spark imagination for your congregation. These are free to adapt and use in your context, with your people.

Valerie Bridgeman: Juneteenth 2020: Once You See

Monday June 22, 2020
In her Church Anew article, Dr. Valerie Bridgeman writes: Recently, I was asked why I thought the uprisings since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have shaken so many [white] people. What is the difference? I said, “Some people had 8 minutes and 46 seconds to encounter blatant anti-black racism for the first time.” They couldn’t turn away.

Walter Brueggemann: Mrs. Thompson's Call for Honest Grief

Friday June 19, 2020
In his latest Church Anew article, Walter Brueggemann recalls his neighbor: Mrs. Thompson may not have known it, but in doing this work she was effectively serving in the wake of Jeremiah.

Bishop Michael Curry: Preaching on Racism in America In This Month of June 2020

Thursday June 18, 2020
In this Church Anew post, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry shares a “Habits of Grace” message about protests, Pride Month, and the coronavirus.

Eric Barreto: Preaching about Racism in America: What Comes Next?

Wednesday June 17, 2020
Many pastors took an important step these last few Sundays. Already dispersed into online spaces and some confronting with new urgency the ways that white supremacy afflicts black communities, congregations gathered these last two Sundays. And in some of these congregations, preachers preached perhaps for the first time about the pervasive entanglements of racism, not just in policing and policy but in the church, too. Now what?

Walter Brueggemann: Is Anything Impossible for God? (Genesis 18:1-15)

Thursday June 11, 2020
In his new Church Anew article, Walter Brueggemann says the “three/one” visitor declared to Sarah and Abraham that they would have a son and heir, an impossibility for them in their old age. Sarah giggled at the impossibility. Before they departed the “three/one” visitor posed a question to the aged couple: “Is anything impossible for God?” The question is left unanswered in the narrative.

Greg Carey: We Are Not Samaritans

Tuesday June 09, 2020
In this latest Church Anew post, Dr. Greg Carey writes about how the Good Samaritan parable challenges privilege and promotes authentic relationships.

Walter Brueggemann: God's Stunning Reversal

Sunday June 07, 2020
I now return to Isaiah 54:7-8. In the first article of this series, “Abandoned!”, I considered the fact that Israel’s God-abandonment is confirmed from Gods’ own lips. In the second article, “How Long is a Moment”, I reflected on the duration of Israel’s abandonment reckoned in God’s own time. Now in a third reflection I consider the “resolution” of divine abandonment.

Ulysses Burley III: Pentecost Protest

Saturday June 06, 2020
In his Church Anew article, Dr. Ulysses Burley III says, Imagine a unified nation not divided by an invisible line, but united by an invisible spirit. God is summoning us—the church—back to our protest-ant roots for such a time as this.

Angela Denker: Paternalistic Racism of Nice White People

Friday June 05, 2020
In this Church Anew article, Angela Denker writes, If you recognize yourself in this article, and it makes you cringe or feel embarrassed or even makes you mad, Hi, Me Too.

Greg Carey: Injustice after Injustice

Wednesday June 03, 2020
People are hurting. George Floyd’s murder. COVID-19 deaths. Violence. What does all of this mean? In this Church Anew article, Greg Cary offers some wisdom.

Walter Brueggemann: How Long Is “A Moment”?

Saturday May 30, 2020
In his latest article for Church Anew, Dr. Walter Brueggemann says God meets us in the brevity of a moment -- liminal spaces that seem eternal.

Diana Butler Bass: Pentecost, Prejudice, and Pandemic - A Sermon for Pentecost 2020

Friday May 29, 2020
In her Church Anew article, Diana Butler Bass says Pentecost is the noisiest of all Christian holy days—a party, the “birthday of the church,” celebrated with banners, red balloons, and cake. We re-enact Acts 2 in multiple languages, reminding us that God sent all humankind a gift—the spirit with its promise of peace and portents of salvus for the healing of the earth. But this week, names....

Church Anew: Abandoned! A Pastoral Word from Walter Brueggemann

Sunday May 24, 2020
In this Church Anew post, Dr. Walter Brueggemann offers wisdom on how we move forward in faith amid despair through disciplines of faith.

Jim Keat: Real Ministry in a Digital World

Saturday May 23, 2020
Church in person and church online. Connecting real life and real ministry. Jim Keat discusses how it works best in a digital world in the latest Church Anew post.

Angela Denker: Coronavirus in America: Politics and Survival

Thursday May 21, 2020
Masks. A sign of saying who we are and how we live personally and publicly. Read Angela Denker's Church Anew post here.

Bishop Michael Curry: If You’re Wondering What Day It Is Today, You Are Not Alone

Tuesday May 19, 2020
In this latest post from Church Anew, Bishop Michael Curry shares a “Habits of Grace” message about time and life during this pandemic.

Walter Brueggemann: How Long? Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Prophets in a Pandemic

Saturday May 16, 2020
A personal commentary on the old question of faith amid suffering, “How long?” A question asked by prophets, Martin Luther King, Jr., and all of us during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Raushenbush: The Virus and My Apocalyptic Son

Friday May 15, 2020
In this Church Anew post, Paul Raushenbush shares with Elaine Pagels his young son’s stories about his world, our world, destruction, and a rainbow.

Mihee Kim-Kort: Church? An answer with inspiration from Rachel Held Evans

Wednesday May 13, 2020
A plain and simple question during quarantine stirs poignant memories of church and dreaming beyond. Mihee Kim-Kort writes for Church Anew in this latest post.

Walter Brueggemann: Quarantine Fatigue or Sabbath Rest: A Reflection on Psalm 31

Friday May 08, 2020
In his Church Anew article, Walter Brueggemann says the Psalm text for the 5th Sunday of Easter serves as a theological lens for looking at time: Promethean and Covenantal.

Ulysses Burley III: The Road to Re-open

Thursday May 07, 2020
In this Church Anew post, Dr. Ulysses Burley III explores what the Road to Emmaus teaches us about the road to re-opening our church buildings.

Diana Butler Bass: On Hoarding Eucharist in a Hungry World - Church Anew

Tuesday May 05, 2020
In this time of COVID-19 lockdowns and churches moving to virtual communion, Diana Butler Bass reflects on a conversation she had with Phyllis Tickle.

Virtual Communion and Body of Christ: A Conversation with Dr. Deanna A. Thompson - Church Anew

Saturday May 02, 2020
Dr. Deanna A. Thompson, Director of The Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community at St. Olaf College, talks with Pastor David Lillejord, Church Anew Executive Board Member, on the meaning of virtual communion.

Luke Powery: Life on the Other Side of Easter in 2020 - Church Anew

Friday May 01, 2020
You don’t have to be a super human or a super Christian in this Eastertide 2020. Just be human, a beloved child of God.

Church Anew: Justo L. González Offers a Poem for the Season of Easter

Tuesday April 28, 2020
A reminder of the wondrous mystery of a “zoomed” Easter season, inspired by a beloved hymn.

Rozella Haydée White: A Time for Faithful Resilience

Thursday April 23, 2020
In this article for Church Anew, Rozella Haydée White explores the question, How does building resilience during times of hardship nurture faith?

Meta Herrick Carlson: The Sunday After Easter: A Blessing for Thomas - Church Anew

Thursday April 16, 2020
Meta Herrick Carlson offers a blessing for Thomas and for those who need to see to believe — not because their faith is weak, but because they feel dismembered by the COVID-19 situation and cannot bear it all alone.