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Author Joe LaGuardia

Joe LaGuardia is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Vero Beach, Florida.

Editor’s note: This article has been revised to remove a statement about William Sloane Coffin being kin to Harry Emerson Fosdick. They were not related. Most ministers I know pray for courage daily. Ministry is a sacrificial act that requires risk, reconciliation and intuition. It is a craft that pastors shape over time, a vocation […] Read More

Being Christ’s church is no easy task. As far back as the New Testament, churches have been dealing with weighty matters from Bible interpretation to theological wrangling so much that we should not be surprised when some churches fight and split. Scripture provides us with a blueprint for how to manage conflicts in church. The […] Read More

Lillian Daniel, in a recent sermon on Genesis, told of an Israeli program that required rabbis to study the Torah in groups and learn how to debate its meaning. Debate was not something to avoid, but significant because, as the theory goes, sacred Scripture is too sacred not to debate. Like weighty family matters that […] Read More

Two Baptist leaders from Cuba stayed with my family recently. Maykel Baez Bruffau, pastor of Iglesia Bautista El Jordan and president of the Fraternity of Baptist Churches of Cuba, and Ms. Lissett, a musician and worship leader in a sister Cuban church, visited the U.S. recently as part of an ongoing partnership between the fraternity […] Read More

Churches not adept in conflict management or basic communication skills run the risk of abusing staff or draining staff energy to the point of burnout. Lloyd Rediger argued in “Clergy Killers” that some churches are so destructive and dysfunctional that they have actually persuaded some staff to give up ministry altogether. Sometimes this happens when […] Read More

I came off of a very productive Lent this past season. My Lent involved fasting from politics – from listening, watching, reading and anything having to do with politics. That was a good exercise. Before Lent, I was up too late watching CNN, wasting away in the midnight hours reading The Washington Post and subjecting […] Read More

Faith communities make a positive impact in supporting caregivers. In a recent joint effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and RTI International, researchers explored five interfaith communities that provide care for loved ones suffering with dementia and their caregivers. The report, “Faith-Related Programs in Dementia Care, Support and Education,” summarizes best […] Read More

Baptists don’t celebrate Ash Wednesday. That was the reason given to me a few years ago by a local Christian bookstore employee in explaining why they didn’t have any Ash Wednesday resources. I had stopped by the store looking for Ash Wednesday items for children – stickers, pencils and so on – and I was […] Read More

Robert Parham noted recently the oddity and the timeliness of God’s message of “peace on earth” to Mary and Joseph during the Christmas season. He stated that peace was a ridiculous notion back then as it is now, a notion hard-pressed in a human community filled with violence and vitriol, domination and oppression. That first-century […] Read More

Every so often, I stumble upon a new way to read and study the Bible. Scripture tells us that it is good to meditate on God’s Word day and night (Psalm 1:2), but it is difficult to know how to dig deep in its teachings. In exploring the lessons of the psalms, Bible scholar F. […] Read More