April 2019 Issue
In our five years of publications, Bearings Magazine has grown considerably. Beginning as a humble, weekly blog, we have developed into a full-fledged online, monthly magazine with thematic features engaging key issues in 21st-century ministry, creative insights from a range of artists that offer inspiration and challenge for ministry practice, and rich commentary on concerns in the wider world as they apply to ministry. This past year, we completely redesigned the magazine format to provide a more dynamic, visually engaging reader experience.
We're proud of the work we've done over the years, including winning multiple DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards of Excellence for writing and editing. But we nonetheless strive to improve, continuing to support The BTS Center's mission of catalyzing spiritual imagination with enduring wisdom for transformative faith leadership. Our aim is always to be a meaningful resource for leaders in ministry practicing in the diverse settings that define church today.
But we can't do that without you, our readers. To tap your creative imagination, we created a brief Reader Experience Survey that gathered your feedback on the magazine format and content and asked for your input on future directions for the magazine. Thanks to those who completed the survey!
A great starting point for your reflections on the magazine is certainly this month's issue, which explores what it is that makes people stay connected to traditional religious communities and what allows religion and spirituality to unfold beyond institutional religions. In both cases, it's clear that religion today is often "beyond belief," animated by relationships, the challenges and beauties of everyday life, and the sacred places people make and inhabit. Look for stirring insight from The Rev. Emmy Kegler on the push and pull of church for a millennial, lesbian, Lutheran pastor, in "I Just Can't Quit You, Church." For my part, in "Spiritualizing the Secular," I travel the Northern California coastline, cities, and neighborhoods for a look at how people are making what are presumed to be secular places alive with the sacred. We add to this reflection an essay from our archives by Kelly Baker that explores her move from religious to nonreligious, sort of. Her "Not Quite Home" began a rich conversation on religious unaffiliation several years ago that this issue continues.
"Creative Insights" contributor Jenny Patten LaMonica is also engaged by the spirituality of place in a moving photographic contemplation of the life, death, and rebirth of a venerated coconut grove in Molokai, Hawai'i. Her "Praying in Place" offers nuanced reflection on loss, change, and hope. And, staying on top of the swirl of political news all around us, commentator Tripp Hudgins takes up the current jostling of political candidates and the relationship to faith—or not so much in "The Religious Impulse and Reality Show Politics."
Featured Image: Ian Schneider, Untitled (February 18, 2016). Via Unsplash. CC 2.0 license.