Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Entries Tagged as 'Faith and the City'

Family Trees

May 17th, 2018 · Comments Off on Family Trees · Faith and the City

For the past couple of weeks, I have been engaged in family tree research. I have been studying state and church records regarding births, marriages and deaths. Many of these records are now available through online genealogy sites. Mostly I have focused on my mother’s branch of the family. My mother was the daughter of Dutch […]

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Wow

February 10th, 2018 · Comments Off on Wow · Faith and the City

On August nights, I sit on a bench by Ojibway Lake, a mile or so from the Canadian border in northern Minnesota. A soft breeze keeps mosquitoes away. I lean back and look up. The vast, winking dome of the cosmos pulls a single word from me. I cannot help it. Every time I stare […]

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The Halo Effect

January 4th, 2018 · Comments Off on The Halo Effect · Faith and the City

In late November, I hosted a small group of Presbyterian pastors from across the country. We get together once a year to talk about “best practices” and to support each other’s ministries. We often invite an outside expert or two to address our cohort and expand our horizons. This year, Robert Jaeger, President of Partners […]

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An Advent Resolution

November 30th, 2017 · Comments Off on An Advent Resolution · Faith and the City

What are you thinking? What’s been going through your head the last few minutes? Got it? Okay, now a follow-up: Did you decide to think about this subject? Did you intentionally choose to pay attention to some specific thing? Or did it just happen? Did a story on the radio, or a note from your doctor, or […]

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Why We Do What We Do

September 22nd, 2017 · Comments Off on Why We Do What We Do · Faith and the City

Over the past two days, our Jewish brothers and sisters have been celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the arrival of a New Year. In addition to reading Scriptural texts that recall the goodness of creation and offering prayers for God’s blessing in the year to come, Rosh Hashanah is the occasion when the shofar (a ram’s horn) is sounded during […]

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Summer Reading

June 9th, 2017 · Comments Off on Summer Reading · Faith and the City

Summer is upon us. With the promise of hot days, plastic tumblers of iced tea and (I hope) a slower pace comes one of the great pleasures in life: summer reading. This year, the stack I am taking with me on study leave includes serious, prepare-for-the-fall-sermon-series books, but also some fun stuff. Here is a […]

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Choose Your Own Adventure

May 4th, 2017 · Comments Off on Choose Your Own Adventure · Faith and the City

In the late ’70s, my mother gave me a book entitled The Cave of Time. Turning to the first page, I found something unique and thrilling. The book placed readers at the center of the story. YOU, it explained, are exploring Snake Canyon. YOU discover the mysterious, dimly lit Cave of Time. Gradually you can make out […]

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Sooner or Later… Church!

April 27th, 2017 · Comments Off on Sooner or Later… Church! · Faith and the City

Church is the textured context in which we grow up in Christ to maturity. But church is difficult. Sooner or later, though, if we are serious about growing up in Christ, we have to deal with church. I say sooner. Eugene Peterson A clergy friend of mine once said, “God sure chose a crazy, leaky vessel to help […]

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Temperance — Virtue #4

March 24th, 2017 · Comments Off on Temperance — Virtue #4 · Faith and the City

A few years ago, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns turned his attention to a fascinating thread in the tapestry of American history: Prohibition. With an eye for quirky characters and an ear for the idiom of the age, Burns’ series unpacks the events leading to the adoption of the 18th amendment to the Constitution […]

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The State of Your Faith

February 9th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Faith and the City

Do me a favor. Please take 10 minutes at some point today and consider this question: “How’s your faith?” Here’s how I suggest you proceed. Go somewhere quiet — somewhere you will not be interrupted. Close your eyes. Now, take the pulse of your soul. Ask yourself, “How would I describe the current state of […]

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