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Staff Trax

Theology in the Doing

“To say that we are one in Christ is more than a pious platitude,” writes Michael Casey. “It is a mandate that we are called to make a reality.”

Only unity seems almost impossible these days, doesn’t it? Our world is coming apart at the seams. Wars rage, people seem more interested in shouting at one another instead of listening for understanding, societal ills continue to grow,…

Three Simple Words

Love one another. Three simple words, yet how difficult they are to live by. “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another,” proclaims Jesus as he shares a final meal with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion (John 13:34).

Though the command seems clear enough, some may ask, “How do I love others when I am challenged to love members of my own family? How…

Learning to Let the Wind Blow Through You

Walking the country roads of Kansas has helped me to appreciate the power of antiquated windmills. I am fascinated by windmills because I, like Don Quixote, the eccentric “mad knight” in the musical Man of La Mancha, find myself tilting at the windmills that come my way more often than I would like them to. The adversaries, both real and imagined, are worthy opponents, often…

God Winks

My soul longs, indeed faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
— Psalm 84:2

Have you ever been so preoccupied with life that you end up overlooking the surprising and unexpected ways that God shows up as you go about the routine activities of everyday life?

I must admit that sometimes I can become so fixated…

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

During Advent, many congregations sing the beautiful hymn “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.” For good reason. The hymn speaks of our desire to be set free from our fears and sins while also expressing a need for Jesus, the “joy of every longing heart.”

When evening falls on Dec. 24, Advent will finally give way to Christmas, a time when many of us will gather for Christmas Eve worship…


Emery Nester tells a story about a lost hiker stranded in the wilderness. Hopelessly lost, the hiker worried about finding a way out of the dense forest, until, by chance, the hiker encountered another wilderness wanderer. “I am lost,” said the hiker. “Will you please show me the way out of the wilderness?” “No,” replied the stranger, “I cannot show you the way out of the wilderness,…

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Have you ever noticed how many times the Bible lifts up the orphan, the widow, the foreigner, the poor, the prisoner, the grieving, and the sick? Jesus is with them, and he invites his followers to join him in caring for the least, the last, and the lost.

Although we may like to passively observe the biblical narrative unfold, it goes without saying that discipleship is not a spectator sport.…

God, Is That You?

Truth be told, sometimes the change process feels more like a tomb than a womb. After all, change, especially unwanted or unwelcome change, often entails loss — the loss of a building, the loss of a tradition, the loss of relationships, the loss of stability, you name it. As a result, a community undergoing change and transition may find itself challenged to see and experience God’s presence…

God’s Fingerprints

In his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff, Richard Carlson writes about the importance of perspective through the responses of two bricklayers.

When asked “What are you doing?” the first laborer complained that he was an underpaid bricklayer forced to earn a living by mindlessly placing bricks on top of one another.

Yet the response was…

The Potholes of Life

Dear Mission Partners,

The news that Salem must find a new worship space effective Aug. 1 came as a shock to many of us. And while disappointing, the sense of urgency triggered by the impending end of our current building use agreement with Central Seminary has required us to pursue new opportunities and possibilities for ministry and mission moving forward. The active participation of so…

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