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The Indispensable Wonder of the Psalms

I heard one of the editors of this impressive volume say at a recent worship conference that Psalms for All Seasons was "not born out of market research." No one, he said, has been asking the editors, "When is there going to be a new psalter?" Yet, here it is, in its third printing in about as many months. Psalms for All Seasons may not have been "much anticipated" (in the breathless language of some prepublication blurbs), but it is…
Douglas J. Brouwer
December 1, 2012
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Sarah’s Ordination Sermon: The Cloud and the Glory

Sarah DeYoung Brouwer was baptized on a beautiful spring day in Central Pennsylvania. At only three or maybe it was four months of age, she had no idea what was happening to her. But her parents knew. By presenting Sarah for baptism we believed that we were giving to her the most precious gift that we could think of to give her. Not as expensive as a college education, but more precious. At the time, I was very new to…
Douglas J. Brouwer
January 1, 2011
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Worship Words

I am delighted that this book came to be written; I worry that it will not be read as widely as it should be. As the authors Debra and Ron Rienstra point out in their preface, much has changed about worship in the last thirty years or so, and much attention has been paid, as they put it, to "shifting musical styles and new ways to organize the time, emotional contours, and architectural spaces of worship." Unfortunately, they point out,…
Douglas J. Brouwer
December 1, 2009
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Can These Bones Live?

MAY 2007 by Douglas J. Brouwer Early on the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, the sixth-strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, came ashore just east of New Orleans and brought with it a 21-foot flood surge. Many homes in the area survived the wind and rain, only to be wrecked by a crushing wall of water. In just a couple of hours, the old and improperly built levee system in New Orleans essentially collapsed, and thousands of…
Douglas J. Brouwer
May 16, 2007
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Leaving Church

The first time I read Barbara Brown Taylor's new memoir, Leaving Church, I was disturbed. The problem was not with the writing (she's a gifted writer, and this book certainly ranks as one of her best), not with the story she tells (anyone in parish ministry will recognize the settings and circumstances she describes), and not with her story's emotional or spiritual depth (her honesty and transparency at certain points are breath-taking). What I found disturbing is that she actually…
Douglas J. Brouwer
December 16, 2006
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Who Will Take Our Place?

One of my colleagues retired this spring. It was a sad day both for me and for the congregation we served together. I saw more tears on his last day than I ever remember seeing before. The good news, I tried to remind myself, was that he wasn't going anywhere. After a few much anticipated trips, including an extended one to Europe, David and Martha plan to sit in the pews on Sunday mornings and sing the hymns and participate…
Douglas J. Brouwer
October 16, 2005
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Welcome to Ann Arbor!

Last summer I moved from Wheaton, Illinois, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, from a city with no synagogues and a nearly invisible Jewish population to a city with several synagogues, a couple of active Jewish student ministries, and a vibrant Jewish community. When I learned that I would be moving, I started looking forward to something that, sorry to say, had not been a part of my ministry previously--namely, interfaith dialogue. After several months in Ann Arbor, I'm thinking that I…
Douglas J. Brouwer
November 16, 2004
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Some Thoughts on Leadership

We're coming to the end--at least I hope we're coming to the end--of a series of scandals involving America's corporate leadership.¬†CEOs, corporate boards, top management everywhere--they have all come under suspicion, if not investigation, for their leadership practices.¬† No one paid much attention during the roaring 90s, but when the economy soured and the stock market tanked, suddenly corporate leadership had a lot of explaining to do. Roman Catholic leaders still seem not to grasp the depth of the anger…
Douglas J. Brouwer
November 16, 2003