The Conservative Evangelical Project: An Unexpected Grief

I just took my first sabbatical. Turning 60 seemed like a good time to get off the road, quiet down, take stock, recharge. It was all I had hoped for. I rested. Walked. Rode my bike. Fished. Played my guitar. Finished a book. Stayed out of airports. Binge-watched a couple TV series with my wife. Worked with a coach and developed a set of priorities and plans for the decade ahead.But unexpectedly, near the end of my sabbatical, I was overtaken by an unexpected grief. If I were grieving the … [Read More...]

Q & R: Why Celebrate a Swing of the Pendulum?

Here's the question: A friend quoted you recently as saying a) that you see a shift in society from a view of God that's violent and judgmental to one of grace and acceptance, and b) that this shift is a good thing.Why should we celebrate another swing of the pendulum? Did Jesus call us to choose between a God of gracious acceptance and a God of judgment? For example, is it responsible to focus on the wonderful words of gracious acceptance in Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and … [Read More...]

In Praise of Political Correctness (A Poem)

I don’t know if they know what they mean When they mock it, but I sure know what I mean When I praise it.It’s like gun safety, people. You don’t point a loaded sentence At someone. You never walk through a crowd without clicking The safety on your mouth. Certain words are like triggers. One careless political speech or misfired paragraph And bullets fly, children die, and mothers cry. Print it on a billboard and read it every day: Speech kills.It’s like hiring a licensed electri … [Read More...]

Q&R: Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner?

Here's the Question: I am a Canadian who attends [a contemporary evangelical church] in Toronto. We practice a third way of accepting LGBT people into our family with love and non judgement but do not conduct Same Sex marriages. My father came out to me a few years ago and my wife and I have embraced his partner as part of the family.I feel a conflict, how can I practice faith in Jesus when I see brothers and sisters in America saying hate the sin but love the sinner. That is complete … [Read More...]

Announcing: “The Great Spiritual Migration”

From the publisher:The Christian story, from Genesis until now, is fundamentally about people on the move—outgrowing old, broken religious systems and embracing new, more redemptive ways of life.It’s time to move again.Brian McLaren, a leading voice in contemporary spirituality and religion, argues that— notwithstanding the dire headlines about the demise of faith and drop in church attendance—Christian faith is not dying. Rather, it is embarking on a once-in-an-era spiritual shif … [Read More...]

Q & R: Is There Any Part of Christianity That I Can Continue to Embrace?

Here's the Question: First, let me say that “A New Kind of Christianity” is one of the most important books I’ve ever read. Thanks for having the courage to write it. It completely unlocked a whole new world of ideas and gave me the freedom to explore questions that I would have never been able to in my standard PCA church context. I’m afraid there’s no turning back for me now. I write the following question as a lay person (non-scholar/pastor).In the book, you mention that the character of … [Read More...]

We Make the Road Church-Wide Curriculum…and Beyond

When I wrote We Make the Road By Walking, I hoped that churches could use it either for a season or a whole year ... as an "alternative lectionary" to frame sermons and worship, as a curriculum for small groups and youth groups, even as a framework for a kids ministry program. It has been deeply gratifying to see the book work in all these ways and more.If you'd like to consider using the book to give your group or congregation a season-long or year-long overview of the whole Biblical … [Read More...]

A Post-Easter Meditation

For many people, Holy Week is a time of triumphant faith. But for others, it raises all kinds of questions and doubts. Here is a meditation from Duane Clinker especially for the latter:http://loveandresist.blogspot.com/2016/03/an-apology-for-faith-in-love-by-duane.htmlQuotable: After his death, instead of being crushed as the empire expected, his followers actually grew and spread his words and actions throughout the empire. They spoke brutally of death, but also of a kind of … [Read More...]

Join “The Great Spiritual Migration” Book Tour!

“The Great Spiritual Migration” Book Tour with Brian McLaren September 20 - 30 November 1 - 7If you live in or near one of the cities below and would like to explore hosting a stop on Brian McLaren’s “Great Spiritual Migration” tour from September 20-30 and November 1-7, please contact us ASAP here. New York, NY Philadelphia, PA Washington DC Richmond, VA Charlotte, NC Atlanta, GA Nashville, TN Columbus OH Chicago, IL St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN Denver, CO Houston, TX Austin, TX … [Read More...]

The Most Important Question Pastors Can Ask Before this Easter Sunday

My old friend Bruce Johnson is a savvy business consultant, and in a recent article, he challenges businesses to learn their NPS - Net Promoter Score. The key insight - that some business customers or clients will leave a business so thrilled that they'll tell their friends - applies to churches as well.The article (and its predecessor, also worth reading) is important for pastors and other church leaders to consider leading up to Easter Sunday, when most churches experience a surge in … [Read More...]