On Being Church - a blog

written by Kathy Huffstetler


February is Black History Month, and I imagine most of us would like to see this interest in black history extend throughout the year. The longer I live the more I realize there is so much I do not know that has taken place right under my nose. I think it would be fair to say that much black history hasn’t made our history books, but I think some of this can be rectified as our communities endeavor to right wrongs, begin digging into our past and unearthing new information, and providing more accuracy to what has been the narrative. Outlined below are two projects that are currently engaged in the fight to fill in our history.

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How to Listen to a Sermon

By Clement W. Welsh

How does one listen to a sermon? Even in this age of the laity the subject seems strangely neglected. So we venture to pass on a few suggestions that we hope may be helpful.



  1. Attend Church – Not as self-evident as it may seem. Sermons, unlike TV spectaculars, are Always on Sunday. “Dropping in to hear a preacher” can be stimulating, but it takes repetition to know a preacher and to be able to read between the lines of his human discourse to find God’s word. It takes the service itself, known by heart, to set instantly the framework for the sermon. Even the Opening Sentences begin to alert and prepare the sermon-listener for a discourse directed to those who live in God’s world. Write comment (0 Comments)

This past Saturday 30-40 of us gathered together in a still unfurnished living room in the Crosstowne neighborhood of southeast Raleigh. Some of us were Presbyterian, some Methodist, others Catholic, Baptist, or non-denominational, some Muslim. Some of us were native North Carolinians and spoke fluent Southern. Others were from Morocco and struggled with English. We were all there because we believe, in Katherine's words, that "building the beloved community is not a metaphor. It takes shape in neighborhoods and communities and around kitchen tables."

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A New Science & Theology on Tap Series
Written by Drew Rick-Miller
• Has Christianity throughout the ages suppressed the growth of science? 
• Aren’t Galileo and Darwin evidence enough of the enduring conflict between science and faith? 
• Hasn’t the church always been at odds with evolutionary science?
Think for a moment about how our culture might answer these questions.  The perception of conflict, justified by history, runs deep in the minds of many, both inside and outside the church, but is that true to the historical record? Is conflict or what some have called the warfare thesis a true telling of the story?  Write comment (0 Comments)

Mary Oliver, a favorite poet among preachers, died last week at the age of 83. Ms. Oliver was best known for the art and discipline of paying attention to creation. She fixed her gaze on the particular, describing it with detail that revealed the expansiveness of the Creator. Her poetry drew readers into her gaze, helping us to see, celebrate and appreciate this “one wild and precious life.” You can read three of my favorites with a quick Google search. If you do not already have a favorite of your own, I recommend starting with The Summer Day, The Pond and finally When Death Comes. You can also listen to a rare interview with Mary Oliver on Krista Tippett’s On Being.

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Last weekend, Emma Kate and I made a road trip to LaGrange Georgia, where my brother-in-law, Rev. James Goodlet was installed as the Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. We joined my parents and James’ parents, my siblings and his, and lots of cousins to support and celebrate this time of transition and growth for James and my sister, Margaret. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that my family made a similar move.

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