Showing posts from April, 2014

An Easter Meditation: Mary Magdalene & Today's Tragedies

John 20:11-18 (NRSV) But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and sa

Metrics of Renewal, 4: Seemingly Vibrant Churches in Unexpected Places

Liberec, Czech Republic. Not a highlighted spot on most people's maps. Certainly not a well-known place. But I lived in the Czech Republic for the better part of a decade, and I know its regions and cities. This article tells the tale of one church I encountered that displays all the characteristics of a seemingly vibrant church in an unexpected place. Communism decimated Czech churches. It's hard to destroy 1100 years of Christianity, and Communism wasn't the only philosophy to mount an assault on belief in the modern age. But Communism managed to finish off an entire generation of believers. When I moved to Prague, conservative Protestant or "evangelical" churches could claim maybe 50,000 people out of a population of 10 million. And many of those churches were demoralized after discovering that the fall of Communism didn't bring the masses flocking back through their doors. Czech  churches  certainly needed renewal, but I didn't see much sign of it.