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Greater than Jesus

I have been thinking a lot lately about why I call myself a progressive Christian. It could be that I’m getting close to ordination in a progressive denomination, or that I’ve spent the past two years hosting a “post-evangelical” podcast, or maybe it’s this election and the distance that I feel from the conservative church […]

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An Open Letter to Evangelicals Who Voted for Trump

Dear Evangelical Brothers and Sisters, Your neighbors are grieving in the aftermath of the election. … hold on, let me back up. I am a post-Evangelical, a progressive Christian. Folks like me ventured away from the Evie camp for matters of conscience and theology. While we may have journeyed to the Left, we do not hold […]

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That Time You Accidentally Go Vegetarian

I read a ton of books last year. It was my New Year’s resolution to devour as many as I could. Read one and done. Move on, keep going. That was the plan and it went smoothly, until I slammed into the wall called The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. At first glance […]

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Allen reviews The Openness of God, though review is a strong word

This was a fascinating read. The authors attempt to make a clear distinction between a biblical portrayal of God’s relationship with the world and the influence of Greek philosophy upon Christian theology, specifically in regard to God’s experience of things like time, change, emotion, and knowledge.

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A Prayer for Nepal

A Prayer for Nepal – Merciful and loving God, we pray for all those affected by the earthquake in Nepal. We know you to be a God whose love knows no bounds. Although tragedies like this make it harder for us to affirm that, we thank You for being patient enough to allow us to cry out. At times to even cry out against You with questions and accusations. In the end, however, we have hope that You fill all those who suffer with Your comfort and peace, through the hands of those acting from a place of love.

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What If Shopping Malls Are Really Sanctuaries?

The mall in my town looks more like a religious sanctuary than I ever realized. 

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When I See Pictures of Victims

To be sure, a cityscape is not made of flesh. Still, sheared-off buildings are almost as eloquent as bodies in the street. -Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others A photograph of refugees streaming out of war-torn Yarmouk introduces an online article. A humanitarian advertisement displays a malnourished dog, mostly skin and bones, on the brink of death. […]

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Guest Post: Our Christmas Hope – An Advent Reflection

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Jesus’ birthday during the winter? Have you ever wondered why we celebrate his birthday at all? It is not as if we know Jesus’ actual date of birth. All we know is what the gospels reveal. We know that at the first Christmas, “there were shepherds living out […]

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My Life With Night Terrors, Demons, And “Alice In Wonderland Syndrome”

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” -Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland My Childhood Demons Peering […]

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Why We Love The Rapture

“I know you all want answers, and believe me, so do I.“ – Captain Rayford Steele, Left Behind 2014. I was a child of the late 90’s and an evangelical Christian so, naturally, I read the wildly popular Left Behind novels (and I loved them). Even though I eventually moved on from the unique theology that made […]

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The Cure For “Racial Tensions?”

Answers in Genesis emailed me ten days ago. They claimed to have found the cure for “racial tensions” (and yes, they used quotation marks). “Racial tensions” manifested by the likes of street demonstrations in Ferguson, use-of-force inquires, the shooting of unarmed black men, and the less than equitable media coverage of these events.

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The Spirit Doesn’t Protect You From Stupidity

If there is one thing the book of Judges teaches, it’s this:  God’s Spirit doesn’t prevent you from doing something stupid. Which turns out to be really good news. But we’ll get to that.

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The Christian community validates Jesus’ legitimacy (or at least it should)

This is the transcription of a sermon that I preached at Elk Grove Congregational Church on 6/29/14. It is, in fact, the first transcript I’ve ever shared and the form is different from what I normally post on an irenicon. [Lectionary: Jer 28:5-9   |  Mat 10:40-42] Good morning, friends. Thank you, James, for this opportunity to speak […]

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Let’s Make A New Testament Law Code!

Out with the Old and in with the New, let’s figure this stuff out; those who are in, those who are out. Preachers and theologians routinely tell me that Paul argued for a post-Law community of Christians united not by the outward markers of faithfulness, but by an inclusive ministry of the Spirit that moved past […]

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Leaving Behind Left Behind Theology

Nicolas Cage is slated to one-up Kirk Cameron in the latest Left Behind movie this October. The movie is based on a novel based on a theology based on Darby’s method for reading prophecy in the Bible. I myself read all 16 of the Left Behind books in high school and college. Voraciously. With pleasure.

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Call it Complementarianism all you want, but this is what it looks like.

  despot[Complementarian]ism: a form of government in which a single entity, individual or group rules with absolute power.

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Remembering Differently: Memorial Day

If my Facebook newsfeed is any indication, Americans do not approach Memorial Day in a uniform way. Some Americans barbecue, party, and celebrate their day off work while others lament the national disconnect with “what the holiday is all about.” So there’s these two sides of the conversation:

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“God Isn’t A Man, But He’s Male?”

Someone at the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood recently read an article that Rachel Held Evans wrote back in 2012. In it, Evans referred to God as “She.”

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Purity Culture, Jesus, and the Markan Narrative

The evangelical obsession with purity. Reminds me of ritual purity law. Especially when it determines who is inside the circle. And who is not. The Gospel of Mark is full of little devices I like to call “Markan sandwiches,” though more reasonable people use the term interpolations. The author of Mark creates these textual sandwiches by […]

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A Rule For Every Preacher

Whenever you preach, preachers, for the love of God – Represent the opposition fairly. Standing in front of an assembled congregation and making claims about God, the world, and what God has to say to this world will inevitably place certain ideas, practices, and people on the opposite side from your propositions.  Depending upon

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Jesus Denies Having Wife, Says Foreknowledge of Followers’ Sexual Repression Assured His Perpetual Bachelorhood

In response to the verification of the ancient papyrus popularly dubbed Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, the Lord himself issued a statement denying that he ever married: “I know that Dan Brown and a fourth century scribe have suggested that I tied the knot during my life on earth, but I want to say very clearly that the […]

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The Definitive List of 2014’s Attacks on Christianity Which, Um, Aren’t That at All.

1. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. Surely Aronofsky’s adaptation of Israel’s adaptation of Babylon’s adaptation of a great flood story is an affront to God.

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90’s Chain-Email-Turned-Movie Convinces Atheists They Are “Just Angry At God”

A philosophy professor lifts up a piece of chalk, eyes his students, then dares God to prevent it from breaking.  The class watches as he opens his hand and the chalk breaks on the ground, falsifying the God-hypothesis. An elementary school teacher tells her students that she’s never seen God and explains that, scientifically speaking, […]

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Mark Driscoll’s Publishing Tactics Trigger A Golden Age For Christian Publishing

First he published the book that inspired Christian sex everywhere, now Mark Dirscoll’s methods are inspiring what some have called “a golden age for Christian publishing… and for the Gospel.” It turns out that

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5 Ways Creationism Is Bad For Christianity

Sure creationism makes us look silly, but it does so much more than that. I fancy myself a creationist in the sense that I believe God is the initial cause of the universe, but I am not a “creationist,” because I do not believe Genesis 1-3 reflects scientific history. You can read why here, here, […]

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Vatican Discovers Pope Is Actually An “Everyday Variety Christian” Posing As Church Leader

The story has all the elements of a Dan Brown novel:  secret meetings, falsified information, and a magisterial cover-up  sure to shock faithful people around the globe. It all started when Nathan Paduka, a mid-level Vatican Aide II, questioned the installment of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis back in March 2013 and was met […]

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What If The Guy Who Shot The Mid-Movie Texter Wasn’t Crazy?

This past week a retired police officer gunned down a man in a theater for texting during a movie. He was texting his three-year-old daughter’s day care center. Immediate reactions, including my own, supposed that the shooter was somehow mentally ill, or stressed out from a grueling career, or maybe fed up with systemic disrespect […]

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Talking About War: American Mass Media and Christian Theology

This project centers on mass media portrayals of military and warfare in the United States and seeks to reflect upon them through the application of practical theology.  Elements of the Christian theological tradition will serve the current project as a norming influence[1] and ground subsequent proposed responses to the proliferation of speech, warfare depiction, and entertainment […]

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What If I Told You There Was No “Inn”

Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came […]

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We Need A Better Term For Male Feminists

You could call me a feminist, if indeed you agree with certain proponents of feminist ideology, but labeling men “feminists” might be the worst kind of misnomer, as many others have pointed out. A basic premise of feminism considers women’s experiences to be both valid and authoritative. Theological feminism, specifically, refers to the unique perspectives that the […]

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Strange Dispensations

  Have an opinion? There’s a conference for that ™

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Come Down, Dear John. The “Strange Fire” Thing Isn’t Worth It.

You and I met in 2008.  I had watched you speak and read what you wrote for some time, I even received your scholarship. But in 2008 I graduated from your college with a B.A. in Bible and I got a chance to shake your hand as I walked across the stage.  I made a […]

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3 Reasons Why We Don’t Study Kingdom-ology

“The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Jesus “Thy kingdom come.”- Everyone Else It was a decent question. He had just reviewed 1st century Greek terms like pneuma and theos, then wondered aloud to the class, “if we have theology (study of God), pneumatology (study of the Spirit), and ecclesiology (study of the church), […]

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Malala Yousafzai Is Great And All, But She Isn’t A Christian?

I just can’t do it. I was going to write this satirically, but I will not. I won’t write it because Malala Yousafzai’s remarkable story is filled with strength, hope, and love… the very characteristics of the God that us Christians worship… and too many of my brothers and sisters come armed with Hebrews 11:6.

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Government Shuts Down, Church Realizes God Isn’t American

The nation’s press erupted on Tuesday in the aftermath of a U.S. government shutdown. Commentary on possible ramifications quickly surfaced and speculation about everything from the future of the economy to the fate of the beloved San Diego Zoo Panda Cam filled the air. Many feared the loss of benefits for veterans and the inevitable boredom […]

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Christians Abandon The Gospel Coalition In Droves After Positive Breaking Bad Review, Citing Show’s Brief Nudity As “Unwholesome”

The Gospel Coalition, a once-bastion of all things conservative and Evangelical, is facing an image problem.   It all started when TGC published an article entitled “Badly Broken”, in which Chris McNerney and Daniel Lee review AMC’s show Breaking Bad. They offer a spiritual analyses of the show’s main character, Walter White, and his devolution […]

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Praying Like You Aren’t Perfect

This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections. -Augustine I guess it’s a bold thing to pray as an imperfect person, for imperfect people.  I understand this so well, in fact, that I often find myself cleaning up my act before I hold conference with the Almighty. I know […]

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Love for the Bible Led Me to Evolution [Part 4: Consequences]

This is the final post in a four part series on evolution and Christianity. Part 1: Fundamentals Part 2: Scripture  Part 3: Science Part 4: Consequences Consequences. Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men. -Thomas Huxley (English biologist 1825 – 1895) The last three posts have hopefully demonstrated how loving […]

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This One’s for All the Good Christian Kids

I was a good Christian kid. Maybe even that good Christian kid. And sometimes it was terrible. Terrible?  Really?  Am I serious?  The fact that I need to explain myself constitutes part of the problem.  I know many of the challenges that people have faced make mine look laughable, but that’s a portion of what made being a […]

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Equal Education, Unequal Pay: Gender Wage Gap Infographic

The good people over at Learn Stuff saw the article I wrote about a certain historical, theological perspective on gender.  They wanted to add something to the conversation and asked me to pass along this fantastic infographic on the gender wage gap.  Take a look at it and tell us what you think. Then share.

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Love for the Bible Led Me to Evolution [Part 3: Science]

This is the third in a four part series on evolution and Christianity. Part 1: Fundamentals Part 2: Scripture  Part 3: Science Part 4: Consequences Science. I don’t have ”faith in science.” I have made a conscious, intellectual decision to accept the overwhelming consensus of demonstrably knowledgeable and trained scientists across the world and for several […]

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When your faith is up and down like a roller coaster, but trying harder doesn’t cut it

“I’ve been struggling with doubt.  Maybe not doubt, but I just don’t feel God’s presence like I did before.” You might have said these words.  And if you haven’t said them, at least you’ve heard them.  And if you haven’t heard them, dear Christian, open the door, go outside, and talk to someone about faith. The […]

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Love for the Bible Led Me to Evolution [Part 2: Scripture]

This is the second in a four part series on evolution and Christianity. Part 1: Fundamentals Part 2: Scripture  Part 3: Science Part 4: Consequences Scripture. The lover affirms the reality and the otherness of the beloved. Love does not seek to collapse the beloved into terms of itself… when applied to reading texts, this […]

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Love for the Bible Led Me to Evolution [Part 1: Fundamentals]

This is the first in a four part series on evolution and Christianity. Part 1: Fundamentals Part 2: Scripture Part 3: Science Part 4: Consequences Fundamentals. The lover affirms the reality and the otherness of the beloved. Love does not seek to collapse the beloved into terms of itself… when applied to reading texts, this […]

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Speaking of God

A word is dead when it’s been said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day. -Emily Dickinson In nearly every instance, speaking of God requires the use of metaphor.  We don’t have a whole lot of experience with transcendent beings, so we’re left with comparing God to what we do know and […]

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Church Sign Offers Churchy Medical Advice

Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. -Banksy I took the following […]

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Portrait Of A Christian Punk/Rock/Ska Adolescence

You’ve probably heard of Switchfoot, P.O.D., and maybe even MxPx‘s “Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo”… but if you recognize any of these bands, there’s a good chance that you had a Christian punk/rock/ska adolescence of your own.

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Sometimes It’s Hard To See The Execution For All The Pomp

Christian worship is somewhat morbid.  At least it used to be.  I have smoothed over the story of Jesus’ death so often that it has lost some of its texture, some of its content.  I regularly sing songs at the foot of a torture device and share meals with my church in remembrance of a […]

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A Huge God Small Enough For A Grave

All we are is dust in the wind, dude… dust, wind, dude. – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure   An early Christian went to ancient Athens and told a story. The Greeks in Athens were well known for their philosophers and their habits of thinking, talking, thinking some more, and then talking some more, so […]

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RE: “Distracted” – Satan Didn’t Post That Picture, I Did.

DEAR CAITLIN, Your post blew up today. Christians on Facebook and Twitter have been reposting your article like crazy, which I’m sure has pleasantly surprised you. You are probably both a kind and intelligent person, but your article is neither of those things.

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5 “Reasons” Why Atheism Should Be Illegal Instead of Gay Marriage

Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate. -Rick Warren 1. […]

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A Little Birthday Theology Pun

For my birthday, my family showed me that it’s sometimes ok to be a dispensationalist.

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And God Blessed The World With The Babel Incident

…from there the LORD dispersed them over all the earth. -Genesis 11:8 The Tower of Babel is not about human pride and divine judgment.* Crazy, I know. But before we get there, read the 11 verse story again

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3 [Untrue] Christian Stories – Know A Parable When You See One

There’s nothing wrong with stretching the Truth. We stretch taffy, and that just makes it more delicious. – Stephen Colbert You’ve seen the stories; the one about the little girl whose atheist parents kill each other while she hides behind the couch with Jesus, or the atheistic professor bested by one of his religious pupils, or the […]

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John 9 and the Sassy Blind Man

It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for. In this episode, Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath and upsets the religious authorities.  They’re upset because Jesus, a veritable “nobody,” is being called a prophet and appears to be stomping all over their turf in the temple complex.

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The “Divine Coin Flip”: A Perfect God Using Less-Than-Perfect Means

Work smart, not hard. -Anonymous It is entirely uncontroversial in Christian circles to suggest that God communicates through culture; we believe that God speaks through written books and human mouths. Suggest for a moment that these tools of communication aren’t perfect or perfected by God, on the other hand, and you might find yourself tied […]

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The Art of Listening and Giving Damns

The average person receives very little high-quality listening from other people, probably less than five or ten minutes a week. –William Miller and Kathleen Jackson Listening is high art. Sure, all of us are compulsive hearers – what with all of the televisions, talking heads, and fancy record players – but few of us listen […]

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God Uses Means: Or, How to Avoid Complete Cynicism

There was a moment in worship at Winter Camp last week when all I could think about was change. I was thinking about how I could change myself, how I would change the camp experience if I could, how the Christian Church itself should change…

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When Someone Called Me “Pastor” for the First Time

Found at E’vry Day I’m Pastorin’…

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“St. Jerome” by Caravaggio

Jerome was responsible for completing the Vulgate – the first Latin translation of the Hebrew biblical text.  Latin translations before Jerome were based off of a Greek translation (Septuagint) of the Hebrew, making them essentially third hand. Jerome lived in the 4th century, Caravaggio painted him in the 17th, I uploaded a digital copy in […]

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Halloween: An Epic Christian Holiday

Thanks to a long history of apprehension toward Halloween, calling it a “Christian holiday” might sound rather absurd- and understandably so.  What is more anti-Christian than celebrating terror, death, and the demonic? Nothing… but that could be the reason Halloween came into existence in the first place.

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Petition Donald Trump: Give the $5 Million Regardless

Donald Trump launched his “bomb” yesterday; if Barack Obama would release his college transcripts and passport application, Trump would donate $5 million to a charity of Obama’s choice. You can see the video at the bottom of this article if you haven’t watched it yet. He said that this was a “check I want to […]

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Not Good?

The topic was unity. It was World Communion Sunday this last weekend and we celebrated Jesus’ final meal by eating and drinking together, thinking about the Christians from all the different tribes of the world that were eating and drinking too. We reminded ourselves of Jesus’ life and death. We let Paul speak to us […]

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Ah Jesus, I See What You Did There

The youth group has been talking about things Jesus left us. We’ve been exploring the meaning behind symbols that Jesus created for his followers- symbols he meant to continually shape the identity of the Christian community. We discussed the beauty of baptism in its metaphoric death and rebirth.  Then we came together to remember the body […]

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Beauty and Thanks

The crappy things in this world can hardly stamp out its beauty. Even the crappy things beautify, although sometimes only by comparison. And I’m thankful for that- for the persistence of beauty. For my little brother who helped me fix up the rickety old van I’ll desperately need this quarter in school. For the guy […]

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Israel Part 4 [of 4]: Contemporary Israel

This is the final post in a series featuring pictures from my travels in Israel with the Fuller Seminary crew. Part 1: click here for sites from the Old testament Part 2: click here for “Intertestamental” and New Testament Part 3: click here for Early/Medieval Church Part 4 (this one): Contemporary Israel Modern day Israel is a complex […]

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Israel Part 3 [of 4]: Early and Medieval Church

This is the 3rd in a 4 post series of a few pictures I took in Israel while traveling with Fuller Seminary’s ANE department. Part 1: Sites from the Old testament Part 2: “Intertestamental” and New Testament Part 3: (this one) Early/Medieval Church Part 4: Contemporary Israel It is probably best to take a second […]

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Israel Part 2 [of 4]: “Intertestamental” and New Testament Sites

This is # 2 in a 4 post series featuring a few pictures from my travels in Israel with the Fuller Seminary crew. Part 1: Sites from the Old testament Part 2 (this one):  “Intertestamental” and New Testament Part 3: Early/Medieval Church Part 4: Contemporary Israel Under each picture will be a quick description. Enjoy. Banias

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Israel Part 1 [of 4]: Some Old Testament Sites

I traveled to Israel with Fuller Theological Seminary’s ANE department last quarter.  We visited sites of biblical and archaeological significance, discussing their remains and proposed interpretations. I never understood the Old and New Testaments quite like I do now.  So I decided to share some pictures with you all. I’ll post them in 4 parts; this one […]

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Astronauts, Spacewalking, and a Universe Too Big For Our Gods

The euphoric visions experienced by some space-walking astronauts might speak profoundly of the panentheism which I wrote about earlier– that all things exist within God.

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What the Gospel Is Not, In Seven Words or Less

Inspired by Nick Ahern’s contribution, “The Gospel In Seven Words Or Less“, to the previous Christian Century post, I’m christening a contest of my own.  In the original post, people come up with a sentence (no more than seven words long) that boils down the message of the Christian Gospel.  One of his examples was […]

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All Things In God, A Christian Panentheistic Vision

“In him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28 In the beginning, God opened up a space within God’s self and created the universe. Then people, in an attempt to revere God as transcendent (something greater than themselves), confined their relationship with God to sacred pockets within that universe.  They expected God […]

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“Corpor-a-munion”

  ————————- Related Articles Some words for Christians on both sides of the Chick-fil-A war (Rachel Held Evans) 5 Reasons Why the Church Failed Yesterday (Matthew Paul Turner) Royal Confusions about the Support of Chick-fil-A (J.P. Moreland) Why I’m Not Eating At Chick-Fil-A Today (The American Jesus)

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Go Into All The World[s]: Evaluating Christian Presence in the Online Gaming Community

“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’” Mark 16:15 INTRODUCTION The online gaming community is one quickly growing “unreached” subgroup of society and, as with any social phenomena, the Christian church has responded in a number of different ways.

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My Childhood Fresco

My parents sold our house from my childhood recently.  Vicky and I had visited a few weeks beforehand to gather our left-over things, reminisce, and enjoy it one last time. It was an odd thing to walk away from something so attached to the life of my mind.  The spaces and smells which gave context […]

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The God of Place and Time

As we approached the western face of the Temple Mount, the atmosphere struck me as an odd mixture of relaxed piety and harried activity.  Birds were flying gently overhead and roosting in the higher strata of rock while the rabbis recited prayer below.  Some of these rabbis loudly announced their prayers, milling about the crowd […]

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11 People Who Shaped Me

These eleven people never knew me, but shaped me in irreversible ways (see if you can name any of them).

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10 Things My Mom Taught Me

Last year I wrote about my father.  I wanted to write something this year about my mother, but none of my stories could demonstrate some of the important ways she has been my mom, so I made a list of these important things instead. My mom taught me that…

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A Visual Guide for Graduate Students

The illustrated guide to a Ph.D… was originally created by Matt Might and can be found here.   Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:

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The Avengers and Incarnational Churchiosity

The Avengers hulk-smashed the box office last week with its mixture of intense action and slap-stick humor. Movie-goers everywhere left their theaters ecstatic and well pleased with the film,  I walked away both happy and stunned by the deft (and in some cases not so slick) plugs appealing to different sections of our society.

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When “God’s Will” Becomes A Rubber Stamp

I sometimes stop talking about things that are central to what I believe. I avoid them and cringe when I hear someone invoking them- not because I don’t believe they are important or true, but because I’ve seen them used in terrible ways.  I’ve seen good ideas leave massive consequences in their wake. Two of […]

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Dan Savage’s Bible-Speech is Wrong, and Kind of Right.

A short video of several highshcool journalists walking out of a lecture by Dan Savage is going viral and it’s eliciting intense responses; I believe Savage’s main point is correct, but his approach and the presmises which lead him there are completely mistaken. Savage is Probably Wrong to Say That the Bible “Got Slavery Wrong.” […]

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How to Become a Popular Christian Blogger

by a less-than-popular Christian Blogger 1. Upload a picture of yourself drinking a cup of coffee.

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The Cave – Looking at the Philosophy Behind One of Mumford and Sons’ Best Songs

Some of you listen to songs and analyze their different parts, I let them wash over me in an uncritical bliss.  On the occasion that I enjoy a song enough to think about it, I’ll listen to the lyrics.  I’ll listen for the words, but I normally return to my pre-analytic, and slightly childish, joy […]

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“Cessationism”

————————- Related Articles “Cessationism” (Wikipedia) Cessationism versus Continuationism (Wikipedia) Are Prophets Foundational to the Church? (Sam Storms- WordPress)

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Contracting MTD

MTD stands for Moralistic Therapeutic Deism – a technical diagnosis of Christianity that has devolved into a much more palatable religion, featuring a God that teaches people to be nice, might save them from trouble, is patently uninvolved in the world, and doesn’t really impact people’s lives.[1]

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“Donated By”

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Vulnerability and the Ritz Cracker People

I only wanted one thing in first grade.  Our teacher would play a memory game with the class where she walked around the room, touching several objects; desk, chair, light switch, aquarium, blackboard.  She would finish her circuit and call up a kid to try and reproduce the exact order.  I can’t tell you how […]

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Repost this or Burn in Hell

Thank God you found this article.  Whoever you are, I love you deeply and care for the destination of your soul.  That’s why I’m glad that you’ve stumbled across my blog and have heard TRUTH.  You now have the awesome opportunity of sharing this article with all of your friends and family so that other […]

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The Baby-Makin’, Prone-to-Evil, “Other” Gender: Woman.

When I set out to write this I didn’t think that it would be relevant for some of you.  I had thought that unless you grew up in the type of town, place, and community as I did, or went to my church or attended my school… that these things I’m thinking through would look […]

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Rose Parade Jesus

We went to the Rose Parade this year.  It was fascinating. Thousands of people camp out over night (some of them for several nights) on the sidewalks and medians of Colorado Blvd in anticipation of this internationally known parade.  As you can imagine, things get pretty crazy. When that many people pile into such a […]

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Keeping Christ in Christmas

I chuckle when my friends lament the steady advance of Christmas music onto the turf of the “regular” year.  I chuckle because my feathers get ruffled during the holidays too, but it isn’t the sounds of carols in November that grate on my ears; it’s the inevitable tune played by an institution I like to […]

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The Narcissistic Pastor

Let’s be honest. When Christian communities bequeath massive amounts of responsibility to their pastors and effectively cut off all chances at healthy/accountable relationships, pastoral ministry tends to attract the narcissists like sharks to blood and moths to flame. Pulpits make fantastic narcissism incubators.

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A Light Rain and An Ancient Prayer For Studying

It’s cold and cloudy this morning; beautiful weather for doing theology.  Such weather and theology are sublimely furnished by an 800 year old pre-study prayer–

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“Spam?” Try “The Most Love I’ve Ever Recieved.”

I get spam comments on my blog all the time– comments attempting to link myself and the people who happen to click into the wonderful world of “an irenicon” to things like Free-TV websites, online credit schemes, and other virus infested fun pages.  The nifty software installed on my blog has blocked all of this […]

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The First Step Of Christian Ethics Is Out Of Your Shoes

My politics and ethics tend to side with the poor, the outcast, the convict, the disenfranchised, and the oppressed because I believe God has sided with me, an outcast.  Such an understanding is at the heart of Christian ethics. Christian ethics must begin with seeing through the eyes of the marginalized for two major reasons; […]

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Mark Driscoll and Lisa Frank Walk Into A Church…

You remember them, those dazzling neon colors of bold-faced creativity brightening the 90’s like they were going out of style.  Those multicolored pandas and teddy bears were hugging dolphins on every elementary school binder, dancing around the cylinder of every pencil, doing the imaginative bidding of their creator, Lisa Frank. Lisa Frank has inspired young, […]

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It Isn’t Barbarism When We’re Giving Kudos

This week’s GOP presidential debate showcased an eruption of applause for Governor Rick Perry and his state’s track record of 234 more inmate executions than any other state, “more than any other governor in modern times.”  Barbaric? According to Perry, absolutely not.  Americans simply “understand justice.” Fun Fact: Between 1973 and 1995, the Senate Judiciary […]

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Create Your Own Caption: Nifty Gifty U.S. Military Crosses

The irony here is strong.  In order to explore the depths of meaning behind these souvenirs recently discovered at a shop in Gorman, California, we’re having a caption contest.  Create a caption for this picture and leave it in the comments.  Good luck and in hoc signo vinces! UPDATE/DISCLAIMER:  There is no disrespect intended by […]

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Facing God

The intro to John’s gospel is a beautiful comparison of Moses and Jesus.  Moses was the man that met with God on Mount Sinai when Israel was wandering in the desert and the one to receive the instructions, including the famous Ten Commandments, for God’s people.  On one particular occasion, Moses asked God to show […]

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Ripping the Rug Out: How I’ve Come To Understand the Bible and the Atom

Sixth grade was bulky desks, black tops, and best friends, cool teachers, commanding yard duties, and cheeky principals.  Sixth grade was the year we figured out homework actually sucked and parents weren’t cool.  Our ideas about reality began to change and everything was magical. Sixth grade was discovering atoms.  Do you remember the first time […]

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Addressing Our Heart Warming Practice of Self-Interest in 300 Words or Less

We respond to a discussion starter in 300 words or less each week in our Christian Ethics class. This week’s topic was particularly beautiful, so I thought I’d share it:

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Boogity Boogity Boogity, Jesus.

I’m not a Nascar fan.  I’m sure many people have many great reasons to love the (sport?), so I’m glad this pastor did his Nascar invocation-thang for the crowd last week, even though it’s one of the most awkward prayers I’ve ever heard.

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Pin the Tail on the Death Penalty

“Justice is blind,” or so the saying goes.  If justice were blind in the United States of America, why are blacks who kill whites twenty-two times more likely to face execution than blacks who kill blacks?[1]  Why does the jury selection process often succeed in selecting all white panels in areas where the majority of […]

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UnEducated UnBelievers

I don’t know how to put this tactfully, so I’m just going to say it.  At its most innocuous my Christian undergrad perpetuated a highly critical spirit of non-Christian scholarship among students and distastefully discounted “outsiders” (possibly even hindering some from considering Christ) at its worst.  I’m suggesting that we, the Christian community, openly admit […]

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Trickle on Down, Oh Lord, Trickle on Down

Who are the poor? According to the 1996 United Nations report “On Human Development,” we live in a world where the top 358 billionaires are wealthier than the combined annual income of countries that contain 45 percent of the world’s population. (Miguel De La Torre, Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins, 2010) I want to […]

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The Ten Most Ironic Things in the American Patriot’s Bible

The American Patriot’s Bible. For some of you, this title is irony enough.  The vivid colors and Declaration-esque typeset on the cover fall in and out of your vision when you scan the book shelves at your local store, but you don’t give it another thought. Not me, I like shiny things.  So I picked […]

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Scary Abortion Movie a Microcosm of American Christianity

I’ve spoken of theology and culture as an entertaining intersection before, but sometimes we cringe in the aftermath of a particularly ugly collision.  This is one of those times.

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Sad Blogsy, Happy Beard

A friend recently told me that my blog is depressing.  I guess my frustration with the world comes through, considering all the criticism I have to offer.  I hold it near to my heart, like someone might a puppy. The truth is I am sad much of the time… but that isn’t why I write.  […]

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The Infantilization of Women and a Theology of Aging (Getting Age Wrong Part 2)

Click here to see part 1: “Growing Up Way Too Fast.” THE INFANTILIZATION OF WOMEN If you’ve never heard of the “infantilization” of women, allow me to introduce you; it is an incredible phenomenon by which our society systemically equates femininity with things like vulnerability, submission, uncertainty, and childhood.  To be womanly today is to […]

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Growing Up Way Too Fast (Getting Age Wrong Part 1)

This is Part 1.  Click here for Part 2: “The Infantilization and a Theology of Aging.” We are making men and women out of babies.  I know that’s eventually the point, but we’re doing it entirely too fast.  What is worse, our society rushes us out of childhood only to spend the rest of our […]

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The Stuff My Dad Didn’t Do

There is a home video of an Easter egg hunt in my grandparents backyard when I was a child.  I was probably four or five years old, judging by my uncle’s neon shorts and dapper mullet. That year my leg had broken in a car accident, during which our van rolled into a field.  My […]

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For God so Loved… America?

Vicky and I visited a well-known Christian bookstore recently. After purchasing the things we needed, our unofficial (but usual) game of “who-can-find-the-Christian-thing-that-will-make-us-laugh-and-weep-simultaneously” began.  I found a book I was fairly confident would win, but when I heard Vicky whisper my name, I knew the game was over.  She stood next to a display case of […]

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Five Unconventional Things To Love About Youth Ministry

All the great reasons for getting involved in youth ministry (you know– students drawing near to God, talking about Jesus, playing games involving fish) aren’t the only things that we love about it.  Here are five unconventional things that make it so endearing: 1.  Brutal Honesty. Youth ministry lacks the certain “sugar-coating” of social sensitivity […]

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Christian Nightmares

My wife and I started watching the fantastic show Kitchen Nightmares.  The famous British “Chef Ramsay” goes into a restaurant and offers brutal criticism.  Amidst a decent peppering of bleeped-out explicatives, he systematically picks apart the people and relationships behind each establishment.  He spends no time on pleasantries and minces no words.

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When Faith, Patriotism, and Ignorance Meet Fur Coats

A group of Americans/Christians/Concerned Individuals gathered at the White House to protest a scheduled Sharia Law Rally last March.  Well, the Sharia people were a no-show, so the crowd took interest in a single Muslim praying in their vicinity.  What ensued was videotaped. **There is so much in this video, but see if you can […]

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Our Beliefs About The End Times Might Be Poisoning Us

Popular Christian belief about the future might be preventing us from obeying Jesus.  Even if you haven’t heard of premillennialism, chances are your church subscribes to some form of it (for Evangelicals, anyway). This particular brand of end times theology teaches of a tribulation to come, a veritable hell on earth, ushered in by discernible […]

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Failure And The Image Of Christianity

There is good coming of the Harold-Camping-Judgment-Day fiasco.  Sure there were families destroyed, life savings squandered, and endless public embarrassment, but… The Church is taking stock of its image. Our society has openly mocked the idiocy of Camping’s followers in a veritable flood of tweets, news articles, and status updates. Which makes sense; nothing is […]

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Theological Glass Ceiling

One month before college graduation I realized that my theological training had been futile.  I confided in one of my professors, telling him that I didn’t see what there was left to do in the field; all of the proper theology had been explored and verified, all that remained was to repackage and sell ideas […]

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The End Is Near

The world as we know it ends this Saturday; May 21, 2011… according to Harold Camping, Family Radio, and thousands of his followers.  They are selling all earthly possessions and spreading the word that Judgment Day is around the corner. My favorite of their advertisements reads “Save the Date” in some ironic attempt to get […]

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Real Religion

[I wrote this article for my church’s publication, The Messenger.  I am grateful for their support and tireless patience] We settle for far too little far too often in our lives, perhaps most often with religion.  Hearing a message on Sunday satisfies our curiosity for God, several hymns a week fulfill our need to worship, […]

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Selling God Out… One Pearl At A Time

Christian phrases are everywhere these days.  You can find them on cars, clothing, jewelry, and a myriad of other places.  You might even sport a sticker yourself, as they are often provocative, prophetic, and most certainly pervasive (at least in the United States).  My own background is filled with “Trust in God” sweatshirts, “Not of […]

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Corners

[I wrote this article for my church’s publication, The Messenger. ] One experience common to all humankind is interaction with the poor.  Every society has its destitute, impoverished, homeless ones.  There may be a myriad of explanations for this plight and a number of solutions to fix this collective problem, but the fact that poverty […]

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Anguished Coptics and Loving Muslims

[I wrote this article for my church’s publication, The Messenger.] The shooting in Arizona this past week placed two things solidly in my mind; the fragility of life, and the veritable blessing it is to live in a place free from widespread violence.  For many of our brothers and sisters in different communities around the […]

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Renewal

[I wrote this article for my church’s publication, The Messenger.] From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh… if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. [2 Corinthians 5:16-17] Spiritual renewal can be a difficult process, especially for an […]

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Wise Men, Cute Baby, and the Stench of Dung

Our family’s manger fascinated me as a child.  The familiar scene of wise men huddled around a father, mother, and baby effortlessly augmented the decorative Christmas landscape in our living room; multicolored light strings, an ornate tree, piles of firewood, garland strands, and baby blond-haired Jesus clutching at a little sheep.  Flakes of soft wood […]

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How to Successfully Ruin the Image of Christ in America

Few issues divide our culture more than the topic of gay marriage.  On one side of the divide people see increasing acceptance as an attack on marital institution and evidence of a degrading society, while the other believes itself to champion the latest step in the civil rights movement, and both claim persecution.  In the […]

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Match Tips, Cortizone, and Human Nature

Last Tuesday I woke up slowly.  It was one of those mornings that begin with a prolonged, thoughtless inspection of my ceiling.  As the fog of the night’s dream cleared from my mind, I realized that a strange noise had roused me from sleep.  I crawled to the edge of my bed, peered over, and […]

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Hope!

[I wrote this article for my church’s publication, The Messenger.] For the creation was subjected to futility… in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together […]

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125 Million Things

In the past eighteen days, five million “25 things” were sent out on Facebook.  They are a testament to, in my opinion, the all-pervasive self infatuation that defines our culture (for those of you that fill these out, please do not take offense to what I have to say- for no self survey is necessarily […]

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Burdensome Christianity

MY FRUSTRATION It used to be that the single greatest frustration in my life was my own lack of…. of so many things. My lack of diligence, commitment to what I love, faith, gentleness, selflessness, pure relationship with God and with others. This still bothers me to a large degree, but another issue has almost, […]

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