Who Am I and Why Am I Here (Blogging 101)

I am following WordPress.com’s Blogging 101 course. Here is the assignment for September 15 “Introduce Yourself” My name is Christopher Gudger-Raines. I blog to collect my thoughts. I blog to write, as a discipline and an artform. I blog to hash out ideas and concerns. My blog has had several iterations over the years and has rarely had much of a following. I think it is … Continue reading Who Am I and Why Am I Here (Blogging 101)

Ministry Context or What I learned in Portland Last Week — Ferguson and Portland

I didn’t really learn much about Portland last week. I learned a ton about Ferguson, Missouri. And I recalled things I knew and remembered about St. Louis in general. I remember having a kind and funny landlady who had deep reservations about African-Americans. I remember going to Unity UMC in Webster Groves, MO where I was one of the few white people, then having Disciple Bible … Continue reading Ministry Context or What I learned in Portland Last Week — Ferguson and Portland

Ministry Context or What I learned About Portland Last Week — Collaboration Rocks!

Sunnyside UMC hosts the Common Cup Family Shelter. Common Cup refers to the fact that several area churches collaborated in the shelter’s founding. Area volunteers went back to their home church (1st UMC Portland) and began the Goose Hollow Family Shelter. Guests at Common Cup and Goose Hollow can receive day programming at Thirteen Salmon Family Center, located at the First Unitarian Church of Portland. Folks at Thirteen Salmon … Continue reading Ministry Context or What I learned About Portland Last Week — Collaboration Rocks!

Ministry Context or What I Learned About Portland Last Week — Community Matters

What does a community look like that values…community? They spend time together. They enjoy each other. They cross divisions to be together. There are many divisions within Portland. Portlanders love their neighborhoods. Civic pride is as high here as I’ve ever lived, including New York City. One thing that unites Portland is cycling. This is a bike happy town. The bike path system is amazing, yet … Continue reading Ministry Context or What I Learned About Portland Last Week — Community Matters

The United Methodist Church, Shame and LGBT Suicide

My Wake-Up Call Suicide. This is the deep, dark, truthful mirror the LGBT community is holding up to the church. LGBT young adults who are rejected by their families are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their LGBT counterparts who are accepted (see CDC). The church is the family of God. This is the crux of the issue. It’s time for the church … Continue reading The United Methodist Church, Shame and LGBT Suicide

Saturday Night, 12 hours From the Pulpit

Leading worship has become one humiliation after another. From trying to avoid critical people to trying to remember everyone’s name to remembering all the things you forgot to trying to get kids to think I’m cool (didn’t I fail at that enough in high school) to bearing one’s soul again as the clock shouts “Too Long” to realizing you messed up the bulletin to making … Continue reading Saturday Night, 12 hours From the Pulpit

Itinerancy Means Never Having to Say “I’m There for You”

Joan Chittister’s well-being is at the mercy of her community. She has a commitment to God, codified in her Church’s discipline that marries her fate to that of her town. It is group salvation. As she told Religion and Ethics Newsweekly “Benedictines take to this day a vow of stability.What does that mean? It means we’re in Erie for life. We go down with this … Continue reading Itinerancy Means Never Having to Say “I’m There for You”

Spiritual Houses, a Reflection on 1 Peter 2:5

This has been sitting in the draft folder for a while now. [Y]ou also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ [1 Peter 2:5 (NIV) Read the whole passage] We live in a skeptical age.  It’s not just that people don’t believe in God.  Perhaps the bigger tragedy is … Continue reading Spiritual Houses, a Reflection on 1 Peter 2:5