Archives for February 2012

Moving Church Past Contracts

Many of you have likely read Seth Godin's most recent manifesto, "Stop Stealing Dreams" where he tackles the question of education in his typical blog-thought style. The whole 33,000 words are free for download if you want to give it a read.In section 26, Godin talks about the contract of adhesion. Here's how he describes it: Friedrich Kessler, writing in 1943 in the Columbia Law Review, articulated a new kind of contract, one for the industrial age. Rather than being … [Read more...]

Phantom Deity Disorder

The other day while having dinner with friends I subconsciously reached my hand toward the attractive woman seated next to me. It was an effort to steal a private moment of affection with my wife by a brief grasp of her hand. Everything was perfect except for the fact that the woman sitting next to me was not my wife nor was she of any romantic interest at all. To her, my flaccid and foreign gesture would have seemed like an invitation to bow our heads and say grace.  Fortunately, just as I was … [Read more...]

Conversation with John Shelby Spong on Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

Here is my conversation with Bishop John Shelby Spong on his book "Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World" from my Radio Show.In the conversation I ask John why people are not hearing from him the point he is trying to make, that the Bible is important to our lives and we should fully engage with it, and rather they hear him and others saying they want to get rid of the Bible?In the second video I ask him what we should do as an alternative to a simplistic literal reading of … [Read more...]

Wisdom From Kierkegaard

This Quote by Kierkegaard is rocking my world the last few weeks. The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we as Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my life will be ruined. How would I ever … [Read more...]

Aids, homosexuality…confronting the terminal illness of judgement

Last night, working in the emergency department we had a woman maybe in her seventy's come in with her forty year old son. To look at him you would never guess he was forty. He looked older than his mother, he was thin, gaunt and literally wasting away. He didn't have to say a word, you could see pain, suffering, shame and guilt written all over him. He was in the end stages of AIDS. Ravaged by the disease, he was severly dehydrated and dying of malnutrition...and his mom wasn't coping with it … [Read more...]

A Tapestry of Belief and Experience

Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity after Religion explores the tension between spirituality and religion, and experience andbelief.  Her work is more descriptivethan constructive, but it sets the agenda for Christians who wish to addresstwenty-first century spiritual challenges and not the issues of a bygone era.  Bass notes that belief has oftenbeen a deterrent to taking Christianity seriously among the self-described “nones”and “spiritual but not religious.”  She reflects on her experience of a … [Read more...]

Evangelical 2.0: The Deception of Mark Driscoll’s Acts 29 Network

I've written quite a bit about churches like Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill and the concerns I have about a lack of accountability, given that they're not part of a denomination or other larger body of oversight. Churches led my ministers like Driscoll and John Piper seem to be independent, yet pressing a surprisingly consistent agenda in many ways, when you consider they're not connected.Well, maybe a little bit connected, it turns out.I have to give evangelicals due credit in one way at … [Read more...]

Physicality of Lent

In the third installment of my conversation with Phyllis Tickle about Lent we talk about the physical nature of spirituality.You can follow the entire lent conversation on the Lent Blog here.You can watch all the videos in our conversation here. … [Read more...]

Kickstarting the Emergent Conversation

For a long time, the emergent conversation has been labeled and criticized (to some degree, rightly) as a mostly white male phenomenon. Thankfully, that is not the reality on the ground any longer. Over the years, the conversation has become much more diverse — racially, ethnically, socio-politically, as well as theologically. But that story hasn't really been told, and so the movement (heck, let's call it a movement) still is seen by some as not relevant to them or not relevant at all … [Read more...]

Is Lent Holding Us Back? Phyllis Tickle and Doug Pagitt Discussion is hosting a lent conversation and Phyllis Tickle and I offered the first few postings. Here is the second.I asked Phyllis if there is something about the yearly pattern of Lent where we are pulled back into the church story, given church language that doesn't sit well with many of us who don't want the theology of the church from the time of the invent of these practices.(In spite of the thumbnail of the video, Phyllis is not yelling at me).  … [Read more...]