A year ago in June, I became a parent for the first time -- a godparent.
It was one of those transcendent moments when my body was in one place and my mind, soul and spirit were raptured up in ecstasy. In one moment, I was fascinated by the excellence of craftsmanship, amazed by the outstanding performance and inspired by the titillating creativity.
I recently spoke to a church group in New York about the future of Christianity and what churches could and should be doing to prepare.
In my 34 years of life, I've come to this realization about our nation as a whole: We are a society of individuals who sometimes end up being around other people.
I am a dog lover. I own a sweet little Cairn terrier named Lola. I love meeting up with other dog owners and their pets when we go for walks or go to the dog park.
After nearly 50 years there, my parents are selling their old Kentucky home, the place where my sister and I grew up and the only family home we can remember.
The final breaths of every worship service in my childhood were the congregation's singing of Bless Be the Tie That Binds. The words of that hymn always lifted and wrapped up all of the elements of the morning's worship, like a table cloth being lifted by its four corners, plates and all, to be carried to a new place.
I took 'Contemporary Approaches to Protestant Theology' from an amazing process theologian – an Episcopal priest, for whom I was also research assistant. His lineage goes back to the Chicago school of process thought. I remember writing a paper on environmental theology and ethics that I was so jazzed about. It seemed like all my heroes and sheroes had the answer. The answer? Get everyone around a table. Seriously.
I grew up in a family of 11 who always shared supper together, even on the nights when my dad came home late from work. My siblings and I tell many stories about that table, where my parents showed their love for us by providing a meal to feed our bodies, and time together to nourish our bonds as a family. Today, I have in my home the bench that five of us sat on, next to the Amish-made table that looks much smaller today than it did long ago.
This Easter, I looked up 'church' on Google and found over 239 million results. Because computers and smartphones are more sophisticated now than ever, the results from a Google search are both location- and device-specific. From my home office desktop, the first page of my search resulted in a list of nearby churches (or at least those churches that know how to optimize their websites.