For Teaching, Reproof, Correction, and Training in Righteousness

by Joe Small

A generation ago, books such as The Wounded Healer and As One without Authority encouraged the view that pastors should not pretend to be exemplary Christians. Rather, they should present themselves as fellow pilgrims, joined with others on a journey...

Grace and Gratitude

by Joe Small

The Christian life is shaped by gratitude - gratitude for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. It is by God's grace that we receive the gift of our...

Literary theology: quotes and thoughts from contemporary novels

by Joe Small

Provocative insights on religious themes from contemporary novelists ...  On Church: On Easter, she surprised me by wanting to go to church. She said it would be bad luck not to go. Thus Christianity, once an encompassing cathedral built on...

Good Books to Strengthen Pastoral Ministry

by Joe Small

Augustine heard the voice of a child saying, “Take and read, take and read.” He opened a Bible, began to read, and was set on the path of committed discipleship and faithful pastoral ministry as the Bishop of Hippo and...

From the bookshelves: quotes and thoughts from contemporary novelists

by Joe Small

Theological wisdom (and theological foolishness) is not the private preserve of professional theologians. Many contemporary novelists deal sensitively with religious themes, often offering provocative insights that pastors can use to good effect in preaching and teaching. Brief quotes do not...

The Sacrament of Gratitude

by Joe Small

The sacraments have been referred to as “means of grace.” The term has fallen out of theological fashion because it is ambiguous and open to misunderstanding. Are Baptism and Eucharist instruments of grace? vehicles of grace? conveyors of grace? elicitors...

Revisiting the Reformation

by Joe Small

Suggestion for April reading: Petra Bosse-Huber, et al, eds. Reformation: Legacy and Future. Geneva: WCC Publications, 2015. The 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation has come and gone, with little fanfare and minimal observance. It is worth noting that 2017...