Snakes in Church
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Well, another one bit the dust. More accurately, another one was bitten and went back to dust. Rev. Jamie Coots of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Name of Middlesboro, Kentucky, passed away after he was bitten by a poisonous snake during a religious service last month. He and his father were leaders in a movement of Holiness churches in Appalachia that believes that God promises Christians today the power to handle poisonous snakes without harm. His family said that... Read More
"Rules" for Church?
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I joined a gym 18 months ago. Throughout the CrossFit community there are some rules, some are written down but—more often than not—some are simply understood. Here are a few: • Check your ego at the door. You are here to get better, stronger, faster, fitter. You aren’t here to show off how awesome you are.  • Be coachable. Your trainers have trained for this job. Let them help you. • Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. It takes... Read More
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Are your pastors doing a good job? Are they meeting your needs? Are they articulating and carrying out your congregation’s mission? I don’t know very many pastors who undergo a regular performance review by their lay leaders. Perhaps the leaders feel that the pastors are above review or that they don’t feel they are competent to review their clergy or maybe that there is no point in it since pastors are assumed to have lifetime tenure (sexual and financial failings... Read More
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The Norwegians who came to America tended to settle in the upper Midwest, especially Minnesota, northern Iowa, and the Dakotas. In Northfield, Minnesota, they founded a college that has become the gold standard for choral singing—St. Olaf, named for King Olaf II of Norway (ruled 1015-1028) who first brought large numbers of his fellow Norwegians to Christianity. The St. Olaf choir is legendary for the purity and clarity of its tone. A recent report from the ENI agency in Geneva... Read More
Secular Church Year
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The more liturgically minded Christians tend to follow an annual rhythmic structure called the church year. Its first half, roughly December to May, follows and commemorates the great events of the life of Christ: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. The second half of the year illustrates and encourages the life of the Christian. People are hungry for structure and rhythm to their lives. Have you ever noticed that ordinary, secular life in America has its... Read More