The Seminary Blog

Category: Spiritual Formation

Christian Unity in Ashes

E. C. is a Presbyterian. I am not. I know that he’d love to make me so. He fits Presbyterianism. He loves the arc of the liturgy, the commitment to ever put God’s grace and covenantal faithfulness in the foreground, and their interpretive lens toward scripture. While I respect his convictions, I am not particularly […]

3 Formational Practices for Difficult Conversations Every Church Can Learn

Dr. Raleigh Washington, the president and CEO of Promise Keepers and spokesperson for racial reconciliation, often would pepper his talks with the catch phrase “not for guilt, just for understanding.” He was asking for a deeper listen than our normal tendency to close our minds and react when we hear something challenging or contrary to […]

Three Signs You Are Burning Out

In April 2017, Portland Seminary received a $50,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to explore the question of pastoral thriving. This is the second of five blogs that we are producing to share our findings, while soliciting continued discussions. As Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Portland Seminary, a number of our […]


Prayer is not a natural or easy thing for me. As a mild extrovert, the conventional ways of conversing with God (eyes closed, hands folded, mouth shut) have never appealed to me. I’m a verbal processor, and praying in my head easily morphs into daydreaming or some other form of distraction. So many good books […]

Jesus, our unblemished offering

Peter Leithart is the president of the Theopolis Institute[1] and blogs at First Things.[2] In his August 12, 2016, post titled, “A commendation of Leviticus,”[3] Leithart affirms the “moral import” of Leviticus. In particular, he notes that the book’s “ceremonies symbolize” its “moral teaching.” Furthermore, its “morality grows out of the liturgical habits it instills.”

Pastoring as Mothering

Understanding the meaning of ‘pastoring’ in today’s demanding, evolving social climate is not only necessary, it is an urgent imperative. The job is confusing and difficult even on normal days. Also, research indicates that those who have the clearest call are more likely to experience burnout and eventually leave the ministry.[1]

A Weary Traveler’s Confession and Reflection: The Story our ‘Bodies’ Tell

A couple of months ago I was sitting on an airplane into the 21st hour of what was supposed to be an 8 hour trip, making a confession to myself. The evening before we weary 170+ passengers had finally debarked in Seattle – not Portland where we were supposed to land, but couldn’t because of weather. […]

Burned Out or Beloved?

Make Me an Instrument

Nothing to Solve, Fix, or Figure Out