Avoiding charity that's toxic: 2-19-14
On FDR, Jews and the Japanese: 2-21-14

Is this what death looks like? 2-20-14

The other morning as I waited for worship to begin at my congregation, Second Presbyterian Church (pictured here), I looked over the worship bulletin and marveled at all that's going on.

2nd-Pres-2There was a luncheon scheduled that day for people in the over-50 age category. Before the lunch there was a "Meet Your Deacon" event as well as a gathering for people interested in membership at Second. I also saw an announcement about a Bible study group focusing on the parables, a request for material to donate to the inner-city mission work of Cherith Brook, an invitation to join our members helping out at Harvesters, a note about a coffee sale to benefit our Early Childhood Learning Center, an invitation to attend our upcoming end-of-life discussion series and a note about prayer requests for two families who had just experienced the death of a member.

If you visit our church's website you'll see much more, from those of us who help out as part of the Southwest Early College Campus Faith-based Coalition to members who just returned from another in a long series of mission partner trips to Guatemala.

In the midst of the decline of mainline churches (including in our Presbyterian denomination), it's easy to get discouraged.

But, as this insightful Alban Institute piece notes, congregations are adapting to new times and if you "remove them from the fabric of our society. . .the garment just might fall apart."

Indeed, imagine how impoverished our social fabric would be without the countless ways in which people of faith of all religions contribute to the general welfare. Just in our church's neighborhood there are marvelous contributions coming from Visitation Catholic Church, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Central United Methodist Church, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Wornall Road Baptist Church, Christ Community Church, Country Club Christian Church, Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ, the New Reform Temple, Community Christian Church and many more.

If religious people didn't exist we'd have to invent them.

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'I CONFESS: HE DID IT'

Should people of faith have the duty or at least opportunity for public confession of sins? This blog entry raises that intriguing question in a Mormon context. What's your experience?

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P.S.: My latest National Catholic Reporter column now is online. To read it, click here.

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