Religious Virtuosity: The Spiritual Life on Automatic Pilot

Author Archives: Randy Thompson

About Randy Thompson

Randy Thompson has been a pastor for over 20 years, serving churches in Connecticut and New Hampshire. He is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and received an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Religious Virtuosity: The Spiritual Life on Automatic Pilot

Growing up is, among other possibilities, a process of learning how to do things. We learn to walk and talk, to tie our shoes, and to tell the difference between the men’s room and the ladies’ room. Much of what happens later in life builds on such foundational skills. For example, we learn to drive […]

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Warm Hearted Waiting in a Cold Season

Advent dates back to the mid-sixth century. By the 13th century, the whole church recognized the four Sundays leading up to Christmas as a period of preparation for Christ’s coming. If Christmas is a birthday party for Jesus, then Advent is a time to ponder what that birth means—and the fact that Christ changes everything. […]

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Thanksgiving 2014: A Mid-November Meditation

It is truly sad that Thanksgiving has become little more than the opening act for a season of spendthrift Christmas shopping. Gratitude for what we have has too often given way to a quest for more of what we don’t need.. Increasingly, the verb that describes what we do on Thanksgiving is no longer “thanking” […]

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Part of God’s Family or Just an Employee?

While working my way through Romans 8 recently, I was struck by how Paul described the Holy Spirit as the “Spirit of adoption” (Romans 8:13-17).  I got to thinking about this because I realized that I spent a fair amount of time in Christian ministry thinking of myself as God’s employee rather than as God’s […]

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Bi-Vocational Pastors: Getting a Rest & a Break

I can’t imagine what it would be like to pastor a church and also work full-time doing something else. How do you do it? Yet, there are many, many pastors who do. They’re called “bi-vocational” pastors. Typically, they pastor small churches that cannot support them financially, so, to put food on the table, they work […]

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The Whole Earth Is Full of His Glory

This morning I was catching up on what I “should” have been reading during my quiet time the past few days. It wasn’t because I’ve been slacking off lately. Rather, I occasionally allow myself the freedom to read other things. So, this morning, I was doing what I “should” do, which is reading the first […]

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The Holidays: Trying To Be Happier than We Are

We are on the cusp of what most Americans now refer to, somewhat vaguely, as “the holidays.”  The phrase conjures up cold, crisp air, warm houses, and harvested fields filled with hay bales and shocks of corn with a dusting of snow, as well as evergreen wreaths, lit candles, cookies, and parties. Underlying it all […]

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A November Meditation: Thanksgiving, 2013

New Hampshire’s leaves are pretty much down now, and though the color has dimmed, they still exude a copper or even golden glow in the late afternoon sun as the wind swirls them over the ground. The snow has not yet made its appearance, but it teases us with flurries. In the old days, when […]

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Following the Horses in the American Parade

Protestant churches follow American culture much like the man with the broom and shovel follows the horses in a parade. Liberal Protestants can be counted on to fit their ever shrinking theology into latest intellectual fashions. Evangelicals, while largely oblivious to the intellectual fashions of the past 150 years, can be reliably counted on to […]

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A Break in Our Routine: New York as a Sabbath Rest

So, if you host a retreat center in the hills and forests of New Hampshire, where do you go when you want a break?  Answer: New York! And I’m not referring to the Catskills or Adirondacks, either. Jill and I spent the past weekend visiting our younger son who lives in Queens and works at […]

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