Shameless

The unhealthy and damaging sexual education that is offered to children, youth, and young people in many churches and some religious communities in the US, is being address in Nadia Bolz-Weber’s upcoming book Shameless.

This damaging and narrow education is not bound to the US, and I am guilty of both participating in enforcing an unhealthy sexual understanding and of being on the receiving end of a judgmental narrow minded behavior by a patriarchal leadership.

Anyway, Shameless has been published and a good reason to check it out.

Changes in Religious Landscape

For a while I have been gathering articles and texts I have been planning to read and disect to understand the changes in our religious landscape, mostly wondering about the declining role of the church.

On a regular basis I am confronted with this reality. There are many empty pews on Sundays, not only in Europe but in America. There is also a declining interest in theological education in formal seminaries. So as the church decline continues there is even a more rapid decline in people willing to serve, which might accelarate the church decline.

There are writing about this issue from various perspectives and some of them are listed here below.

Michael Lipka looks at the religious landscape based on a study by The Pew Research Center. He looks at 5 Key Findings about the Changing U.S. Religious Landscape.

Some people try to find an obvious reason that makes all the difference. One of those is to blame some aspect of the multifaceted tasks that pastors have. One aspect that is fun to blame is pastoral care. Carey Nieuwhof writes an article, How Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches. In it, Carey Nieuwhof points to reports by Barna Group that is interesting and helpful.

The Barna group reports the average Protestant church size in America as 89 adults. Sixty percent of Protestant churches have less than 100 adults in attendance. Only 2 percent have over 1,000 adults attending.

He then adds that when churches grow to more than 200, the pastoral care demands become unbearable and unsustainable, leading to a failure.

Dr. Marjorie Royle writes an article, Denominational Identity – A Plus or a Minus?, about church planting and different attitudes towards denominational identity.

Heather Hahn writes: What draws people to church? Poll has insights. In the article she looks to Barna Group, a research done for United Methodist Communications.

Carlos Wilton reminds us that the declining church participation is not a new concept in the article, Are the Pews Half Empty or Half Full? Lessons From 734 A.D.

Here are three articles about what might slow down the decline.

Here are two articles about what might accelarate the church decline.

 

Forsetakosningar í Bandaríkjunum og hugmyndir um Guð

Hér fyrir neðan er handritið að fræðsluerindi sem ég flutti á Sæludögum í Vatnaskógi sumarið 2016. Það er alltaf nokkrum vandkvæðum bundið að færa erindi sem er flutt munnlega inn á bloggið, viðbótarútskýringar sem ég bætti við í framsögunni og viðbrögð úr salnum vantar en innihaldið er í grunninn óbreytt. Continue reading Forsetakosningar í Bandaríkjunum og hugmyndir um Guð

The National Church in Iceland

Little over a month ago I was asked to write a short overview of the National Church in Iceland and the theological landscape in “a historical light”. Well, this is it.

The National Church in Iceland, or The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iceland, was a State Church until (at least) 1997. Today it can be argued that it still shows strong signs of a state run religious entity. Salaries for priests are paid by the government as a part of an agreement between the church and state, which involves a complicated land swap deal from 1907. According to a recent supreme court ruling in Iceland, priest are considered government workers with all rights and obligations of such employees. Continue reading The National Church in Iceland

Að mæta til starfa í Tremont

Í þessari viku hef ég störf hjá Pilgrim Congregational UCC sem fræðslufulltrúi (e. Director of Christian Education). Atvinnuleitin hefur tekið langan tíma og ekki alltaf verið auðveld, en Pilgrim UCC er spennandi staður í Tremont hverfinu í Cleveland. Continue reading Að mæta til starfa í Tremont

Hvaðan sprettur United Church of Christ?

Upphaf siðbreytingarinnar í Evrópu er oft tengd við ungan munk að negla mótmælaskjal í 95 liðum á kirkjuhurð í smábænum sínum. Vissulega var mótmælaskjalið merkilegt, en boð um að taka þátt í guðfræðilegum rökræðum um hlutverk náðarinnar og áherslur í kirkjustarfi hefði líklega ekki breytt kristnihaldi á heimsvísu ef aðstæður hefðu ekki verið réttar. Continue reading Hvaðan sprettur United Church of Christ?

Sitting on the Bleachers

We were having a Junior High Youth group on a Monday at the church. As the meeting was about to start, a few 14-15 year old girls came to me and wanted to talk about their role in the Sunday school. Every Sunday those girls showed up, led songs, told stories, did a puppet show, and helped with refreshments at our Sunday school program for 2-6 years old. Continue reading Sitting on the Bleachers

Integrating Youth Ministry

Some time back I observed a congregation dealing with an interesting issue. To strengthen their youth ministry in the past, they had bought a building next to the church for the youth, due to limited space in the main building.

Now the youth building had become a visible and quite established reminder about how the youth ministry was its “own” entity in the congregation. In fact the youth even had their “own” service on Sundays, when they came over to the main building for a contemporary worship experience, before heading back to their fort. Continue reading Integrating Youth Ministry

Understanding Youth Ministry

Few months ago I was asked to articulate my personal understanding of youth and young adult ministry. In an attempt to answer I wrote a comprehensive reply with a specific congregation in mind. This is in no way a final word on the issue, but an attempt to give insight into my current thoughts concerning congregational youth ministry. Parts of this posts are directly from my thesis, Ecclesiology and Evaluation, which I wrote at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in 2010. Continue reading Understanding Youth Ministry

How is the Church?

On the Ezra-Nehemiah scroll, we come across an interesting tension between Ezra 3 and Nehemiah 8. If redaction criticism is used to address the texts, it can be claimed that Nehemiah 7.72b-8.3 is in fact a twist on Ezra 3.1-5.* Both texts describe celebration in the seventh month. The texts start in exactly the same way.

Continue reading How is the Church?

Kristin þjóð og önnur trúarbrögð

Hér fyrir neðan er fræðsluerindi sem ég flutti á Sæludögum í Vatnaskógi sumarið 2014. Það er alltaf nokkrum vandkvæðum bundið að færa erindi sem er flutt munnlega inn á bloggið. Af þeim sökum hef ég lagað það örlítið, m.a. með tilliti til umræðu sem myndaðist að erindi loknu.

Ef við slítum í sundur siðinn, slítum við og í sundur friðinn.

Úrskurður Þorgeirs ljósvetningagoða fyrir 1015 árum hefur mótað íslenskan samfélagsskilning alla tíð síðan, jafnvel eftir að trúfrelsisákvæði kom með skýrum hætti með stjórnarskránni 1874 að tilstuðlan konungsins í Kaupmannahöfn.

Continue reading Kristin þjóð og önnur trúarbrögð

Nokkrar greinar um ráðningarferli

Síðustu vikur hef ég verið að skoða nokkra fleti á ráðningarmálum presta í íslensku þjóðkirkjunni og datt í hug að taka saman vísanir á þá hér.

Framtíðarsýn í starfsmannamálum

Það eru spennandi tímar framundan í starfsmannamálum í kristilega geiranum á Íslandi. Það hefur verið bent á að fleiri prestsembætti hafa verið eða verða auglýst á árinu 2014 en dæmi eru um áður. Þá hafa nokkrir söfnuðir auglýst eftir djáknum (það voru reyndar fleiri djáknaauglýsingar s.l. sumar) og síðan finnst mér vert að nefna framkvæmdastjórastöðu KFUM og KFUK (þó vissulega sé KFUM og KFUK æskulýðshreyfing). Continue reading Framtíðarsýn í starfsmannamálum

Haggaí 1. kafli

Spádómsbók Haggaí er fyrst og fremst ákall um að flýta endurreisn musterisins eftir herleiðinguna til Babýlóníu.

Þið hafið vænst mikils en ykkur áskotnast lítið og ég hef blásið burt því sem þið fluttuð heim. Og hvers vegna? – Segir Drottinn allsherjar. Vegna húss míns sem liggur í rústum meðan sérhver ykkar er á þönum við eigið hús. Continue reading Haggaí 1. kafli

How do we understand our relationship with God and how does it affect our political leanings?

In Fides et Historia, vol XXXII, no. 2 (Summer/Fall 2000), I came across an interesting article by David John Marley; Martin Luther King Jr., Pat Robertson, and the Duality of Modern Christian Politics. I have mentioned the article earlier, in my Icelandic Bible blog when I was writing about Exodus 22. Continue reading How do we understand our relationship with God and how does it affect our political leanings?

Being in a Place of Privilege

After I finished my STM thesis I have from time to time considered whether or not I should attempt to take a PhD in Theology from University of Iceland. For a while I have been looking into Christian Churches in places of privilege and the complicated tension between Christian theology and violence.  Continue reading Being in a Place of Privilege

Kólussubréfið 4. kafli

Segið Arkipussi: „Gætið þjónustunnar, sem Drottinn fól þér, og ræktu hana vel.“

Kólussubréfið endar á beiðni um fyrirbæn og upptalningu á leiðtogum í kristna samfélaginu. Onesímus er m.a. talinn up, en talað er um hann sem þræl Fílemons í samnefndu bréfi. Þá er nefndur Markús, frændi Barnabasar og ýmsir fleiri góðir. Lagt er til að bréfið verði einnig lesið í söfnuðinum í Laódíkeu og nefnt að e.t.v. sé ástæða fyrir söfnuðinn í Kólussu, að hlusta á bréfið til Laódíkeu. Continue reading Kólussubréfið 4. kafli