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When I attended seminary, most of the student body were young men and women who had just completed college. A few like me had spent a couple of years in the military, another graduate school, worked in a secular vocation or taught school. Occasionally, I would have a class with an older person, usually male, […] Read More

Sightings is supposed to be about “public religion.” So what are pastors, ministers, priests and rabbis doing here this week? David Brooks mentioned them Friday in his New York Times column; that is a pretty public reference to a religious theme. Let’s talk of pastors as column fare, and then see what Brooks does with them. I just […] Read More

An increasing part of my life is spent advising and coaching pastor search committees. A healthy search process requires great patience, spiritual maturity and hard work. Done well, it can lead to a season of hope and health for a church and its pastor. Done poorly, it can lead to disaster. The free-call system can […] Read More

Church members view their pastors in many ways. Here are four views. The ruler One view holds that the pastor is the spiritual ruler of the church and that “he” should be deferred to and even obeyed. Such a pastor is placed on a pedestal as one who is spiritually, morally and intellectually above the […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) As a prominent evangelical pastor and supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking heat for calling Mormonism a “cult,” a newly released poll says most Protestant pastors in U.S. agree that Mormons are not Christians. Three out of four pastors surveyed by Southern Baptist-affiliated LifeWay Research said they disagreed with the statement […] Read More

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (RNS) Megachurch pastor Rob Bell, whose best-selling book raised evangelical eyebrows by questioning traditional beliefs on hell, knew it was time to address the “giant, glowing, loud” elephant in the room on Sunday (Sept. 25) morning. What’s going to happen to Mars Hill Bible Church, his flock wanted to know, after their charismatic […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) A black denomination that began 50 years ago in support of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has decried the “disrespect” shown to President Obama since he took office. Citing slurs and remarks such as “you lie, “boy” and “tar baby,” the Progressive National Baptist Convention called for the ouster of elected officials […] Read More

(RNS) The Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., a Baptist preacher chosen early this year as the new president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died suddenly Thursday (July 28) at the age of 57. His death means the civil rights organization founded by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will go through another unexpected transition. […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) More than 4,000 pastors told Congress that churches would not be able to fill the gap facing social service providers if deep cuts are made to the federal budget to bring the deficit under control. Christian leaders from across the country, led by Sojourners founder Jim Wallis, sent an open letter to lawmakers […] Read More

(RNS) United Methodists will begin a trial Tuesday (June 21) against a Wisconsin minister who’s accused of breaking church rules by celebrating a same-sex marriage and being in a lesbian relationship. The Rev. Amy DeLong, 44, of Osceola, Wis., could be defrocked if the 13-member jury composed of local clergy finds her guilty of either […] Read More