Christchurch Cathedral When disaster leaves the remains of a church, with what do you rebuild? This question faces more than just New Zealanders: Christians as a whole are struggling with the fabric of our legacy and the material of our mission. Stone, steel, or cardboard? What do you think remains? I want to hear your response […]


A Modest Proposal: The Minimum Standards in the Texas Conference

My friend Jeremy Smith, whose blog Hacking Christianity I’ve followed for years, posted yesterday about my conference’s Proposed Minimum Standards for Entering Candidates. As I have a little bit of knowledge about this, I thought I would offer some clarifications and challenges to what he has written. If you are new to my blog, welcome! […]


In Company


On the wall of my study hangs a poster-sized picture of my confirmation class. It’s a game for my church members to come in & try to find sixth-grade-Josh. Not a hard game, actually. I keep it even though I can’t remember everyone’s nameā€”it was a big class, and not everyone was a regular at […]




We’re on our way to New York for a week. We’ll do some touristy things, not having been to the Big Apple before, but the reason we’re going is for the 2011 Unconference. #unco11 (as it’s known on Twitter) is a gathering of about 70 adults to build IRL community & learn from one another. […]


A Wideness in God’s Mercy

Today’s events have left me feeling a dozen or more different emotions. I thought about one of my favorite hymns, and I hope you will join me in prayer for the dead, the wounded, the mourning, and the one who shot the gun. There’s a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea; […]




Thanksgiving is a great festival of memory: it is not that we in general lack blessings, only in remembering them. One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories was celebrating it abroad, with friends who were also participating in the British-American Ministry Programme in 2005. I’m thankful for these friends (Mollie, Mindy & Ted, Sara, & more) […]



Streets of York

A brief thought today. I’m not the first to say it, but I’m deeply concerned about the incivility and viciousness that electronic communications seem to generate. Whether it’s getting personally attacked in an email, leaving a nastygram masquerading as a blog comment, or igniting a flame war on social networking sites — it is wrong. […]