Commentary On Rachel Held Evans’ “Blessed are the un-cool”

Thanks Rachel. Beautiful.

I pastored and led worship for many years in a congregation that was one of the loudest I knew; we had a group from our home for the mentally handicapped, and a large number of street people who would regularly offer commentary during my messages.

The commentary only made the messages feel more profound, I think. Life interwove with life, ideas with application, with messy, forgiving life together.

My favorite messy moment? Once when I was in Winnipeg at a great church that served prostitutes and native glue addicts, a little, old bent over street woman came up and stood beside me while I spoke.

She was half my height, and held my arm. I put my hand on her back. We smiled at each other, and she stayed with me through part of the message, then wandered off the stage.

There is so much joy in the buzz, in the energy, of life together. Why would we trade that for great graphics?

Rachel Held Evans | Blessed are the un-cool.

NOTE: I am also a musician and artist, so I appreciate the “creationality” of churches that care about aesthetics, presentation, astute design and expressive architecture. It is the mingling of these that almost never occurs, because often those whose tithes could resource the excellence don’t want to be at a messy church.

It has been my privilege to know many who do though, and they have my deepest love and respect for directing their resources toward serving the poor, the outcast and me.


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.