Writing a religion column

I’m in a writing queue of seven pastors. We write a rotating, weekly column for the Merced Sun-Star called “Religion 101.” It’s fun to be able to make the occasional contribution, but it’s also a challenge.

Many people have mental stereotypes of what they think they will find in the column–doctrinaire, dogmatic, preachy, and moralistic. Such stereotypes function as hurdles to understanding, both for the reader and the writer.

Writing in a way that surprises, intrigues, and even irritates is a challenge. For example, how can a writer surprise if what is written is only what the reader expects?

That is what made Jesus’ parables so powerful. A listener would ask Jesus what he thought was a simple-enough question. Jesus typically responded with a story that turned the questioner’s world upside down.

This week’s Religion 101 article is meant to be oblique and indirect. Rather than saying, “We should stereotype other people,” it tells a simple story. Check out this link and see what you think.


I just heard about two people that undertook to feed homeless children. They used their own money in the beginning of this project. I was inspired by their uncommon generosity.

There is so much good in the world. With all the financial gloom and doom, we should take time to celebrate the good.

I particularly like the following clip. Matt has undertaken to dance his crazy dance all over the world. Such joy. It makes me happy to hear about people like him and the sisters. Enjoy!

Improved Website

Adam and I have been talking about how we’d like lifespringchurch.net to change to be more dynamic and interactive. It has been a useful tool for us, and it is now time to take it to a new stage of development.

Adam christened the new format last week, and it is really neat. New features include a “testimonial” section called “From the Heart,” a nice resources page that has Bible study resources and a few other good links, and a nice news tab.

Lifespringchurch.net is an evolving site, and soon there will be an electronic newsletter as well as a podcast resource. When the newsletter becomes available you can subscribe to it and get LifeSpring’s weekly newsletter/bulletin delivered to your e-mail address.

I’m grateful to my son who designed and hosted our old site for over a year. We picked up two of our launch team members as a result of the information there.

Check out our new LifeSpring website.