Full of Years

If you value people who are older—and also your own aging—these entries will help you rejoice in the fullness of this stage of life: its gritty realities, secret joys, hidden spirituality and cherished moments—reasons to be grateful that old age is always a gift from God!

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Blessed assurance

  Schools are out, so this may be the time of year when your grandparenting kicks into high gear. A good share of that honored relationship could be summarized in the phrase, “Blessed assurance.”  (Yes, I am aware that some readers may accuse me of stealing words from a beloved hymn writer. In my defense, though, let’s just say that I’m singing them differently….) Much of your work withMORE...

Shadows of beauty

A few nights ago, I dreamed about being part of a meditative evening service at our church, with some post-COVID perils still lingering in worshipers’ minds. We ended the service by singing a canticle whose melody was framed around the evocative chordal structures of ancient modes/key signatures. (Those musical elements continue as reminders of the sturdiness of our faith practices over theMORE...

The Gospel of No!

I used to think that Good News was always a YES–that abundance-thinking was the way to approach life, and that positivity was to be preferred over negativity. Not so much these days, though. Now I’m tinkering with the idea that the Gospel can also be framed by NO’s, that maybe it should include some negative ideas and some scarcity thinking as well. First, remember that gospel (euangelion)MORE...

Not so fast

It’s starting to feel to me as though the entire nation may be rushing back into life as it used to be, as though the pandemic’s effects are now past. Two patterns seem to be emerging: ❶Letting down our guard about this plague, even though it’s still vigorously active—here and all over the world. ❷ Forgetting that the way we used to live was creating its own long-term problems. The second patternMORE...

Gratitude by any other adjective, Part 2

As you have seen, the idea and practice of gratitude occupies a lot of my thinking, and uses up a lot of pixels. That’s how I’ve found these additional words for your thankfulness vocabulary. Gratitude is a beatitude. When you count your blessings, it’s hard not to be grateful for them. “Happy is the one…” says Jesus. Gratitude is probably a blessing, too, adding measurably to your life’sMORE...

Gratitude by any other adjective

In my ongoing effort to enliven ecclesiological language, I offer the following adjectival additions to the concept of gratitude. First, let’s start with the presumption that gratitude may need some help. Some of the church’s verbiage illustrates this necessity—as in “the attitude of gratitude.” (Note here the extra oomph that rhyming adds to the concept of thankfulness!)  Second, let’s imagineMORE...

Mission for any congregation

Before congregations return to default assumptions about their future, it would be good to answer this important question: How else could the church move forward? In this entry, some answers that might apply to any congregation. What’s most basic for a congregation that’s emerging from the confines of COVID? Ministry that equips members for their work in the world. Intimate knowledge of members’MORE...

Hope for any congregation

Months ago, many congregations turned off their metaphorical lights. Before those lights get turned back on, though, it would be good to answer this important question: What will it mean to be the church? In this entry, some additional observations. In the previous entry, I offered the opinion that it will be difficult to reassemble our congregations to resemble their pre-pandemic selves. I endedMORE...

Another Reformation?

Months ago, many congregations turned off their metaphorical lights. Before those lights get turned back on, though, it would be good to answer this important question: What will it mean to be the church? In this and subsequent entries, I offer some observations and recommendations. Let’s start at the beginning: I’m not sure we can put our congregations back together like they were before. TooMORE...

The other side of pastoral care

I don’t know for sure, but it feels to me like this pandemic has been especially hard for pastors and other professional church workers. Most professional leaders seem to be enduring all of this—quiet and uncomplaining—even when they might feel alone in keeping their congregations functioning. Many of them have also had to deal with the burden of keeping their congregations financially viableMORE...

Bob Sitze

BOB SITZE has filled the many years of his lifework in diverse settings around the United States. His calling has included careers as a teacher/principal, church musician, writer/author, denominational executive staff member and meat worker. Bob lives in Wheaton, IL.

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