top3 for November 18, 2022

Too late to catch you before you head off into your weekend! Running a little behind this week. But here are three things I have read and been thinking about this week. Hope they get your weekend off to a great start!


This passage (Colossians 1:15-20) is one in which we hear clearly that the work of Christ seeks not only to reconcile the people to God and free them from the powers of this world, but, “to reconcile the Powers themselves to God.” It is not enough simply to disengage from the hierarchies and idolatries to which we often find ourselves subject. The call of the Christian life is to seek to transform those systems so that they emulate the grace, mercy, and compassion we experience in the kingdom of God.

The Powers That Be: Theology For A New Millennium by Walter Wink

Walter Wink makes the case that remaining faithful in places that need redemption is the calling of Christians. Remaining provides the Spirit options (hands and feet, hearts and minds) to convict and comfort the institutions that you are part of. If you walk away…so do the hands and feet, hearts and minds offered to Christ that may be just the thing needed to lead to repentance.


Thus, the parish minister’s soul becomes a crucible in which sacred visions are ground together with the common and at times profane experiences of human life.

The Pastor as Minor Poet by M. Craig Barnes

Preach, pray and visit. Those are the three normally identified tasks of a pastor. Barnes suggests at least one other. Crucible. Edwin Friedman would describe this as being the immune system of the organization. Carrying the gospel vision and the great need of humanity in such a way that doesn’t crush you or usurp the ultimate role and power of Christ. It is a delicate balance for sure. Ministers are not the Messiah! Jesus is. Clergy are, however, ambassadors of the Messiah placed into outposts along the human experience. For clergy that may be reading…out of the joy of our relationship with Christ comes the willingness to be in the midst of difficult situations. It is one of the most high and holy aspects of our life. It is not easy. It does not get easier. But it is vital and never loses its importance.


Its only credible authentication is, finally, the readiness of a confessing community to stake its life on the summons of the text.

The Book That Breaths New Life by Walter Brueggemann

Examples help the world to see that the gospel message is real and impactful. Without the willingness of communities of faith to “stake its life”, the world sees it as nothing more than a community club for inspiration and fellowship. Find a place where lives are being given because of faith and inevitably you will find a place where people are seeing the gospel and churches are in the big middle of it.