Expressing our love in sincere, artful worship

The scriptures and the world around us point to a God who is ceaselessly creative and artistic. Therefore, the arts are not a tangential part of the path of Jesus. Authentic Christian practice involves high quality artistic expression that strives to be thought provoking, life giving, and prophetic. This means that Christian spirituality involves creative expression in many forms: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. When our worship becomes more artful, we connect, both personally and communally, more fully to the nature of God. 
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FEATURED CONTENT

“The Long Road to Freedom” by Jacqui Lewis

SERMONS  |  Convergence Network

Dr. Jacqui Lewis is Senior Minister Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village of Manhattan. Middle Church is a dynamic 900-member multiracial, multicultural, inclusive congregation in which everyone is welcome just as they are as they come through the door. Lewis is also the Executive Director of The Middle Project, an institute that prepares ethical leaders for a more just society....

Pulpit Fiction Podcast

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Convergence Network

Pulpit Fiction Podcast: Lectionary Podcast for Preachers, Seekers and Bible Geeks

Robb and Eric met in class at Eden Theological Seminary, got to know each other while playing volleyball on Eden's church league team, and became friends after the games over pizza, wings, beer, and Police Trainer at Smugala's.  

Robb and Sarah and Eric and Nina spent almost every weekend together while they were in seminary, and are still able to get together every once in awhile.  This picture was taken over Thanksgiving weekend, 2013.  They share a common passion for justice, mercy, and an abiding love for Jesus.  They also a share a love for good scotch, the Bears (we won't talk about baseball), Anchorman, The Office, and Star Wars.
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The Spirituality of Popular Music

SERMONS  |  Dwight Lee Wolter

In an era when fewer and fewer people go to church, it is often the song, not the sermon, speech or blog that touches people’s lives in a deep and meaningful way. Houses of faith may embody ethics, morality and good deeds; but the church can learn more of these same things from the street, perhaps as much as the street can learn from the church. This brief essay explores this idea....

Matthew 19:26 Artwork

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Franklin Fong

Matthew 19:26

Beautiful artwork by Father Franklin Fong and the Franciscan Friars of Santa Barbara illustrating Matthew 19:26 — "With God all things are possible."...

Courage: Philippians 4: 12-14 Artwork

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Franklin Fong

Philippians 4: 12-14

A beautiful hi-resolution illustration of Philippians 4: 12-14, painted by Father Franklin Fong of the Franciscan Friars of Santa Barbara....

Parker Palmer: FIVE HABITS OF THE HEART

COMMENTARY  |  Parker Palmer

Parker Palmer Five Habits of the Heart
http://www.couragerenewal.org/habitsoftheheart/
...

CELTIC CROSS

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

Philosophy and Worship by James K. A. Smith

WORSHIP  |  This We Affirm

Litanies and Prayers- Ken Sehested

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Holy Week: Betrayal and Denial

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Occasional Poet

This poem was inspired by the dramatic betrayal by Judas and denial by Peter.

Betrayal and Denial
Rev. Laurie Blonk Sponaugle  

There is no escaping…
The breath-stealing bite
of the dual edged sword.  

Close enough for eyes to lock,
And wills to soundlessly utter longing
And lament to stab through even the strongest of spirits.  

Witness soul deep betrayal
as heartbeats sync with a kiss…
followed doggedly with fear, varnished in denial.  

Before the verdict is cast in stone
Before the sentence is carried out beam over beam
before the cross is weighted down with love.  

One, Two final thrusts
of the razor sharp blade
gutting the soul.  

As one beloved, steals away from the sacred table,
another scurries behind the mob;
both cloaked in the shado...

The Biblical Roots of Islam

SERMONS  |  Dwight Lee Wolter

Genesis 16:1-12, 15; 17:20; 21:1-3, 8-21

A shared sermon conducted with a Muslim physician about Abram, Sarai, Hagar and Ishmael that includes music and other modalities that embraces commonality in a worshipful context.
...

The Worst Resurrection Story

SERMONS  |  Sam Altis

John 21:1-14

http://www.crosswalknapa.org/blog/2017/4/28/the-worst-resurrection-story

The Resurrection Story can be told in many ways. ...

BRIDGING THE DIVIDE PODCAST

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

Luke 18

http://www.storydivine.com/?p=381

A PODCAST on BRIDGING THE DIVIDE...

The Woman Behind Textweek

WORSHIP  |  This We Affirm

https://www.faithandleadership.com/woman-behind-textweekcom

Faith of a women that made a difference when her son had Autism

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

...

Interdependence Day Independence Day

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

Deuteronomy 10:17-21; Psalm 145; Hebrews 11:8-16; Matthew 5:43-48

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/stw/2013/06/13/independence-day-2013/

Interdependence Day and Independence Day

Independence Day, let’s also think of it as “Interdependence Day”; a day when we celebrate not only being free from unjust rule but also a day when we commit ourselves anew to extending liberty and justice to everyone who seeks it, without partiality.
...

Sustaining Hope in the Face of Climate Change

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/sustaining-hope-face-climate-change

Climate Change Video with three different Protestant Churches...

Blessing When the World is Ending

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

http://paintedprayerbook.com/2016/07/18/blessing-when-the-world-is-ending/

Artwork By Painted Prayers Jan Richardson
Beautiful artwork and creative ideas for ministry...

Blessings For Getting The News ArtWork

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

http://paintedprayerbook.com/2016/07/27/blessing-for-getting-the-news/

Artwork and Poetry "Grace In The Dark"
When we get news from someone, death or other, this artwork touches a sweet place for the heart. Jan Richardson- poem as well. ...

Salt and Light: Living a Faithful Life Podcast

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

Mathew 5: 13-20

https://faithelement.net/9-06-salt-and-light/

Podcast

We take a look at a popular passage that calls for Christians to be “salt and light” in the world. What can we learn about living a faithful life by looking more closely at the nature and use of both salt and light?

...

A Hymn After Gun Violence

WORSHIP  |  This We Affirm

Isaiah 4:2; 1 John 4:18; James 3:1-12; Micah 6:8; Matthew 25:35

A hymn written after the Orlando mass killings, plus other hymns for reflection on gun violence:


To see the complete resource, click here: http://www.carolynshymns.com/to_a_place_of_celebration.html

To a Place of Celebration
EBENEZER 8.7.8.7 D ("Why Do Nations Rage Together")

To a place of celebration filled with laughter, dancing, joy,
Came such violent devastation — one man's efforts to destroy.
God, we grieve for loved ones taken; we lament, "What can we do?"
Now, we're feeling lost and shaken; heal our nation! Make us new!
Weapons kill — and so does silence; hear our prayer as we confess:
We have given in to violence, we have bowed to hopelessness.
God, we've lost our sense of vision of a world where there will be
Plowshares made from violent weapons, justice in society.
Give our leade...

Creativity

OTHER RESOURCES  |  The Liturgists

Where does creativity come from? Is everyone creative? How do people become more creative?What role does creativity play in liturgy and sacred art? Michael GungorScience Mike, and Lissa Paino discuss creativity through the lenses of science, art, and faith....

A Liturgical Drama of Praise for Pentecost: Gods Gift of Life

CHILDREN  |  This We Affirm

http://sacredise.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/giftlife.pdf

Pentecost: God's Gift of Life

Liturgical Scripts to use for Children - a wonderful creative script for a service with kids! ...

Not Like Me: A one person monologue to use in worship

WORSHIP  |  This We Affirm

http://sacredise.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/NotLikeMe.pdf

Creative ways to Worship with a Monologue

Not Like Me: A one person dialogue ...

Podcast: Interfaith: Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Christopher Columbus

COMMENTARY  |  Brian McLaren

http://mcconline.org/series/brian-mclaren/

A Podcast on Interfaith dialogue...

Ascension: Why are you Gazing at the Sky

COMMENTARY  |  This We Affirm

Acts 1:9-11, Daniel 7:13-14

https://joshuaadamscott.com/2017/05/25/why-are-you-gazing-at-the-sky/

Ascension: Gazing at the Sky and finding Jesus...

Bruce Epperly: God, Freedom, and the Fourth of July

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

An Open Letter From Millenial

COMMENTARY  |  This We Affirm

Faith and Aging

COMMENTARY  |  This We Affirm

Prayer to End Violence

WORSHIP  |  This We Affirm

http://rev-o-lution.org/2015/10/01/prayer-to-end-violence/

Prayer in a time of turmoil to End Violence...

Retreats and Consulting

SMALL GROUPS  |  This We Affirm

Gen 1:26-27

http://rev-o-lution.org/retreats-and-consulting/

Women’s Retreats, but is also known for Church Vision retreats as well as past Youth retreats....

Voices in Wartime

COMMENTARY  |  This We Affirm

http://voicesinwartime.org

Video about Poems for Peace and War...

Praying and Acting for Peace

WORSHIP  |  This We Affirm

John 20:19, Mathew 5:3-10

Compassion: Karen Armstrong and The Middle Way Podcast

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

https://www.charterforcompassion.org/charter/karen-armstrong-2008-ted-prize

Compassion Podcast on Interfaith Dialogue: Karen Armstrong...

Beautiful Gospel: Wheat not Tulip, Daisy, Roses

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

John 12:23-24

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hippieheretic/2017/05/beautiful-gospel-wheat-not-tulip-daisy-roses.html

The Explanation of Acronyms: Theological Flowers and New Ideas


...

Liturgy: Intergenerational Ministry for Families/Pastors

WORSHIP  |  This We Affirm

https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/liturgy-ritual-intergenerational-ministry

Family Ministry and Liturgy for Intergenerational Ministry...

Religious Art

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

from theliturgists.com:

"What is religious art? Can all art be religious? Science Mike and Michael Gungor talk with a host of creators about the nature of art and how we relate to God."...

The Practice of Creativity

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

From sojourngrace.org:

"Join Catherine and Peter as they creatively and playfully explore the Spiritual Practice of Creativity. Inspiring us to become co-creators in this messy and beautiful life we live."...

Faith and Music with David Bazan

OTHER RESOURCES  |  The Liturgists

From theliturgists.com:

"Michael Gungor sits down with David Bazan to talk about faith and music."...

Worship

OTHER RESOURCES  |  The Liturgists

From theliturgists.com:

"David Gungor (of The Brilliance) joins Science Mike and Michael Gungor to talk about the faith, art, and science of worship."

Find part two here:
http://www.theliturgists.com/podcast/2015/4/20/episode-18-worship-part-2
...

An Interview with Composer Mark Miller

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

The Convergence Music Project interviews Mark Miller.  They discuss creating new songs and the inclusion of current events in warship music....

Creativity Episode 1: Drawn In

COMMENTARY  |  Darkwood Brew

Brian McLaren calls Troy Bronsink’s book, Drawn In: A Creative Process for Artists, Activists and Jesus Followers, a “fresh vision of God that draws us into a new way of being.” The first episode of the Creativity series features in-depth conversations between Troy Bronsink and Rev. Eric Elnes, Ph.D.. We explore how God’s rhythms are manifest in creative life that is as sincere, vibrant, and artful as it is faithful to the scriptures, and we present concrete ways to find connection with the Holy. ...

Darkwood Brew Subscriber Discount

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Darkwood Brew

Download this resource to access special Darkwood Brew content exclusively for This We Affirm subscribers....

11 Hymns for a City Devastated by Water

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

A Houstonian shares 11 hymns that speak their situation after Hurricane Harvey....

Think Like a Filmmaker 9-Week Webinar Series

WORSHIP  |  Marcia McFee

The Worship Design Studio is proud to be partnering with thisweaffirm.org to provide worship series materials for each affirmation over the next three years. Want to know more about the techniques taught by Dr. Marcia McFee for creating "sensory-rich" worship? Sign up for the FREE 9-session webinar curriculum based on her latest book, Think Like a Filmmaker: Sensory-Rich Worship Design for Unforgettable Messages. The teachings in this series will help you create a strong process for planning together as a team and a plan-ahead strategy to lessen the stress of creating worship week after week. Let's proclaim the liberating messages of these Affirmations through vital and memorable worship!...

3 Free Downloads from the Convergence Music Project

WORSHIP  |  Convergence Music Project

The Convergence Music Project offers great new worship music with language and theology that is totally in sync with This We Affirm. The songs on the site are indexed in many different ways to make it EASY for you to find the exact song you need for any specific moment in worship. 

As a subscriber, you can access 3 free songs and their related sheet music products. Checkout with this resource in your cart and you'll receive a code giving you access to your songs, which can be downloaded 
one song at a time from the Convergence Music Project. The code can be used up 3 times for 3 free downloads.



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Converging Paths Interview with Frank Schaeffer and Scott Griessel

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Frank Schaeffer and Scott Griessel, about "God experiences" and how they continue to shape their personal and professional lives. 

Frank is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and artist who describes himself as a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood. Frank has been a frequent guest on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, has appeared on Oprah, and been interviewed by Terri Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air. 

Scott Griessel is a photographer and filmmaker who served as the Producer for the Darkwood Brew video broadcast.  Scott has produced several documentaries, including one on Frank Schaeffer's life called "Let Me Be Frank," and “The Asphalt Gospel” – covering the 2006 walk of Christians from Phoenix, Arizona to Washington, DC, to raise awareness of the Phoenix Affirmations.

...

Converging Paths Interview with Dr. Marcia McFee

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Dr. Marcia McFee, of the Worship Design Studio (http://worshipdesignstudio.com/) about "God experiences" that have shaped her personal and professional life, as well as the relationship between creativity, the arts, and spiritual formation/expression.  Drs. Elnes and McFee have frequently collaborated on worship series design and preaching, including a series based on Elnes' book, Gifts of the Dark Wood....

Converging Paths Interview with Chuck Marohnic

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews jazz pianist, Chuck Marohnic, on "God experiences" that have shaped his personal and professional life, as well as the relationship between music, creativity, and the spiritual path.  Chuck was the Director of Jazz Studies at Arizona State University for 25 years and currently resides in Louisville, KY. Chuck's music may be found at www.chuckmarohnic.com...

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