Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

Dr. Mike Graves, Scholar in Residence If you’re sick and tired of hearing about our recent trip to Israel, my apologies. Ask anyone who went (and who is now over the jet lag and weather-related rerouting) and they will tell you what an amazing adventure it was. Walking in the …

Books, Books, Books

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

By Dr. Mike Graves When I was only part-time at Country Club Christian Church, and still serving part-time on the faculty at Saint Paul School of Theology, I actually had three offices, including the one at home. That meant I had three sets of bookshelves for all those volumes. When …

Not in Latin

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

Dr. Mike Graves, Scholar in Residence and Minister of Spiritual Formation Among the church staff, there is something of a standing joke. When it’s your turn to write a piece like this one for the newsletter, if you don’t have it in by Tuesday noon when we meet, the draft …

Scholar or Nerd?

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

Rev. Mike Graves, Scholar in Residence and Minister of Spiritual Formation When I was in seminary, there were days I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that what was being presented was a piece of trivia that would never come in handy, not in my daily life as a …

1968 and Now

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves, Uncategorized

By Dr. Mike Graves, Scholar in Residence and Minister of Spiritual Formation All this year, National Public Radio has featured a series on the 50th anniversary of 1968, one of the most traumatic years in American history. Here’s the briefest of reminders: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were …

From Pew to Pulpit (and Back Again)

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

Dr. Mike Graves, Scholar in Residence and Minister of Spiritual Formation Occasionally, someone will ask me how long it takes me to prepare a sermon. My standard answer nowadays is 61 years. Sermons come from a life of learning and living. But of course, what they’re asking is how many …

Another Name for Community Camp

Leslie Tenjack Articles, Mike Graves

In the movie, Cool Hand Luke, there is a classic scene culminating with Paul Newman’s timeless line, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Pardon the grammar, and never mind the context; but I think the same could be said about our church’s annual Community Camp. (Shortly after coming …

Big Bread

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

Down through the centuries, biblical scholars have learned a lot of interesting tidbits about eating in the first century Mediterranean world. They know, for instance, how diners reclined at their meals on a couch called triclinium, how they had bread before dinner and wine during dinner of course, but one ceremonial cup of wine afterwards

“And” Is the Key Word

Lara Schopp Adult-ministry, Articles, Metro Service, Mike Graves, Serve

As many of you know, my title at the church is Scholar in Residence and Minister of Spiritual Formation, a title with “and” in there. But that’s not the “and” I mean to reference in the title of this article. When I think about
spiritual formation, I think naturally about how persons mature in their faith, which for me implies “and” in the process. Specifically: learning and doing.

Shining Like the Sun

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

Space does not permit me to name the differences between serving in the seminary and the local church, although as Fred Craddock used to rightly remind folks, the seminary is the education wing of the church. One year ago, I began my time at Country Club Christian as the interim guest preacher. A year later I’m on staff full-time. Many of you have asked how it’s going, do I like it, those sorts of inquiries.

The Marriage Parable

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

Twice in the past month or so, Carla has preached on two different parables in the Gospel of Matthew that utilize wedding symbolism. Apparently it’s a good metaphor for conveying spiritual truths in other matters. I have no intention of ever writing a Gospel of my own, but I do have a marriage parable to share.

An Expedition on the Parkway

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard has an essay on worship that should have won an award somewhere along the way. In my mind it’s so important that I have my students read it in the Intro to Worship course every spring. The essay is titled “An Expedition to the Pole…”

A Christian Education

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

Sometimes in the midst of a semester teaching students about preaching, I chase a rabbit or two. Ok, maybe three. One of those hares is the educational ministry of our churches.


Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves

The renowned Lutheran scholar Gordon Lathrop claims that one of the many amazing things about Christian worship is how we set this next to that, what he calls “juxtaposition.” We set Sunday next to the other six days of the week, for instance. We set the preaching of the word next to the table. We set the rhythms of Advent and Lent next to Santa Claus and March Madness, respectively. This set next to that.

The Gathering

Lara Schopp About Us, Articles, Mike Graves, Visitor Information

As someone new to the staff, I’m still learning lots of vocabulary particular to our congregation. Terms like Pathways (when a lot of Sunday school classes come together for a special education offering at the 10:00 a.m. hour), Faithbook (a Bible study Carla leads, playing off the well-known social media site), and now the Gathering (an occasional get-together in the library on Sunday mornings for anyone interested in knowing more about joining).