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Lillian Daniel
A national speaker and writer, Lillian Daniel has served as the Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, of Glen Ellyn since 2004.

She is the author of the book Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony, which is the story of one church’s attempt to get mainline Protestants to talk to each other about God.

Her newest book, This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers, co-authored by Martin B. Copenhaver is a humorous and honest look at the ministry.

Her next book, coming out in January, 2013 is When Spiritual But Not Religious is Not Enough: Seeing God in Unexpected Places, Even the Church.

A contributing editor to the Christian Century Magazine, and to Leadership, her work has also appeared in Christianity Today, Books and Culture, the Journal for Preachers and in the daily e-mail devotionals available at

She has taught preaching at Yale Divinity School, Chicago Theological Seminary, and the University of Chicago Divinity School.

She serves on the boards of Interfaith Worker Justice, Yale Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary.

Entries by Lillian Daniel

The Life-Saving Work of Interfaith Conversation

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 7:09 PM

The late great Abraham Joshua Heschel was once asked why he devoted so much time to interfaith dialogue. He answered by recounting part of his family history. "When the Nazis came for my parents," he wrote, "they had no one to call. They did not know the local minister. They...

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On Good Friday, If You Can't Say It in Front of the Rabbi, Don't Say It at All

(5) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 1:45 PM

Leading a church through Lent has been a lot more interesting with a rabbi at my side. It began with coffee and conversation back in the fall, but then we decided to use the season of Lent to study together.

Before you know it, we had decided that I...

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Do Gay People Control the Weather?

(20) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 1:56 PM

Whenever there is extreme weather, some religious leader gets airtime for blaming someone. Whether it's a tsunami, an earthquake, a heat wave or a drought, someone will say it's God's way of getting our attention and therefore it has to be someone's fault.

When Disneyworld introduced "gay days,"...

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The Decorative Boulder

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2013 | 3:33 PM

At the conclusion of a graveside service, I said goodbye to the family members who were in silent prayer after they had buried their loved one. My car was parked about a hundred feet away. I backed out of the historic cemetery hoping that I would not distract them as...

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When We Share a Table With Our Enemies

(8) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 11:44 AM

Thousands of years ago, in the world's most beloved psalm, the people were told that one day God would spread a table before them in the presence of their enemies: "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" (Psalm 23:5, KJV).

What does it mean?

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Magical Thinking About Unread Books

(17) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 1:19 PM

I am always carrying way too much stuff around. I live only four blocks from the church where I am a pastor, but I am embarrassed at how often I drive there. I drive because of all the stuff I haul from one place to another. It is common for...

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The Church Calendar: New and Improved

(6) Comments | Posted February 5, 2013 | 2:48 PM

An Important Message from Church Headquarters: Treasuring the freedom that allows us to honor our unique ancient traditions while keeping up with the times, we propose adjusting these special Sundays in the church year.

Where I'm At Sunday, May 8 (formerly Confirmation Sunday): The youth of the church will...

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No, You Are Not Actually the Power Source

(8) Comments | Posted January 17, 2013 | 11:19 AM

When you want your 19-year-old son to take a trip with you, you have to be willing to think like a 19-year-old when it comes to travel plans. That's how I ended up spending a week with him in a remote tree house in Nicaragua. In order to get from...

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Torn by Justin Lee: Gay Evangelical Writes A Coming Out Story Your Conservative Grandmother Could Love

(28) Comments | Posted November 19, 2012 | 1:24 PM

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christian Debate by Justin Lee
Reviewed by Lillian Daniel

Raised a Southern Baptist, with two loving parents, Justin Lee didn't want to be gay. But when he revealed that he was only attracted to his own gender, the church he loved...

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'Making Health the Center of Your Life' and Other Unhelpful Blasphemies

(1) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 12:09 PM

A health club proudly displays its motto: "Making Health the Center of Your Life."

At first glance, it's a logical claim. After all, they are in the business of keeping people fit and healthy. If you put health at the center of your life, you may put the health...

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Hyatt Hotels and the AAR/SBL: An Ethicist and a Biblical Scholar Walk Past A Boycott

(8) Comments | Posted July 23, 2012 | 3:26 PM

An ethicist, a Bible scholar, a theologian and a preacher walk into a hotel that is being boycotted at the request of its own workers. It's like the punch line of a bad joke. But it's not a joke, it could happen. And it's not funny, but serious.

It is...

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10 Best and Worst Reasons to Get Married in a Church

(4) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 7:07 AM

10 Good Reasons to Get Married in a Church

  1. I want God to be at the center of this momentous event.
  2. I desire God's guidance in my married life.
  3. I love this church and I am an active participant in it.
  4. I was once an active participant in this...
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10 Signs You Should Not Be Getting Married in a Church

(740) Comments | Posted July 10, 2012 | 12:37 PM

10 Signs You Should Not be Getting Married in a Church

  1. You find yourself asking the clergy to take all the references to Jesus out of the service.
  2. You find yourself dreading your next meeting with the minister.
  3. You find yourself dreading the service, worried that the minister...
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Grief Echoes: A Pastor Reflects on Death and Remembering

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2012 | 3:49 PM

When death hits us, we are never prepared. Even when we know the end is near, when we can see the storm on the horizon, when it hits, it still feels like a tsunami. For one thing, most of us don't have a lot of experience losing a deeply beloved...

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Memorial Day Was Meant to Reconcile

(190) Comments | Posted May 28, 2012 | 8:05 AM

Memorial Day began in this country after the Civil War as an effort toward reconciliation between the families of veterans in the North and the South. After the war, there was already a tradition in the North of decorating soldiers' graves, called "Decoration Day." But in 1868 an organization of...

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Online Dating: In Search of a Girlfriend ... or Maybe Just a Sixth Cat

(8) Comments | Posted March 2, 2012 | 2:09 PM

Someone in the online dating world received this note from a potential suitor:

"You should be an outdoors and nature lover ... did I mention you must like cats?

Exercise habits: Never

Pets: I have Cats

I have five cats and they are number one in...

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Daffodils and the Life of Faith

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2012 | 8:48 AM

When I was a kid, my mother planned a big garden party, where her yard would be filled with blooming daffodils that she had planted in anticipation. But as the party date approached, the weather stayed cold and no daffodils were even close to blooming.

Yet on the day of...

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Lessons From the Shoe Museum

(2) Comments | Posted February 9, 2012 | 4:40 PM

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto bills itself as being "for the curious," and I certainly was. There you can see Shaquille O'Neal's size 20 triple E basketball shoes, and Elton John's platforms as well as Madonna's. (Elton John's had higher heels, but then again, he did less...

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Touchdown Theology

(11) Comments | Posted January 10, 2012 | 1:30 PM

A few weeks ago, a pastor was reported as saying he knew why the Denver Broncos were 7-1 since installing Tebow as quarterback. "It's not luck," the pastor said. "Luck isn't winning six games in a row. It's favor. God's favor." The pastor seems to have skipped a...

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Acting Out on the Airplane: A New Year's Reflection on Patience

(7) Comments | Posted December 30, 2011 | 2:18 PM

Even before the flight took off, we knew who would be offering our in-flight entertainment. The man in the seat in front of me began by taking out a ballpoint pen, putting it into his mouth and then taking a dramatic inhale. "You probably all think that I am smoking,"...

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