By Paul Koch

My good friend and I had just finished our weekly taco Tuesday ritual. We were chatting in the parking lot when I asked him what was up. Clearly something had been bothering him. It wasn’t that he was some emotional wreck or anything, just that he seemed a bit unsettled, which is not like him. He spoke some about being unsure of what was wrong. He wasn’t thrilled about things in life and the routines that he had fallen into. Perhaps it was work, needing a vacation, or maybe a chance to reexamine career goals.

By Paul Koch

Last week, I left the temperate environs of my home and headed out to the frozen land of Fort Wayne, Indiana to attend the annual symposia held at the seminary. We gather there in the middle of January to hear theological papers on given topics by some of the leading experts in the field. It is always academically challenging and insightful. Professionally, it allows me to examine my preconceived notions. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on my understanding of the ministry and how I might better practice my vocation.

By Paul Koch

I have written a lot on the topic of friendship over the years. It is a subject that I find fascinating and a universal component of the human experience, and deep down I know that it is personally crucial for my life. Friendship is not just a theoretical discussion or a curious observation of social constructs. No, it is something that I need in my life. I am the furthest thing from the “lone wolf” ideal of the American frontier; I need friends in my life. I don’t need a lot of them, but I need them. I need men amongst whom I know who I am; my worth, my strengths and weaknesses, my values and goals are best sorted out in the company of a friend.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

The Jagged Word has always been a place that encourages meaningful conversation about what is happening in the Church as it intersects with, reacts to, and challenges current cultural trends. The friends that make up The Jagged Word and have written every week for the last few years have found that there are some common topics that tend to come up over and over again. While we certainly see topics of all things church reoccur, such as worship or preaching, we have also noticed that there has been an ongoing discussion about what it means to be a man.

By Graham Glover

This past weekend, I spent an evening with two of my closest friends from childhood. I’ve known these men since I was in sixth grade. One was my best friend and high school debate partner. The other is married to my wife’s best friend and is the father of our godchild (who is my daughter’s best friend). I was in both of their weddings and baptized all their children. I haven’t lived in the same town as these guys for nine and a half years, but every time we get together, it’s as though little has changed. Life has taken us in somewhat different directions—one is an insurance agent, another is a lawyer, and I am a clergyman—but there remains a bond of friendship between us that will never break.

By Paul Nelson

There is a comfort in settling in with a set of drinks that you know you and those around you like and enjoy. It takes a certain amount of pressure off. That’s where I’ve been settled for the past couple of months. Content. Preparing a rotation of a dozen or so drinks (when we’re hosting), and more often enjoying a subset of those with my wife when we’re making dinner together (mojitos, Manhattans, pisco sours, sazeracs, and Aperol spritzes). 

By Paul Koch

Last taco Tuesday, I sat next to my buddy Tim at our usual spot. Televisions surrounded us above the bar and throughout the whole cantina. Almost all of them had some sort of sports on display from the LA Dodgers to the beginning of NFL training camps to just about anything you might find amusement in (even the terrible game of soccer). But every once and a while, a particular TV will stream the daily news that exists outside of the sports world as a sort of reprieve from the rest of the familiar storylines.