Breaking the Church’s Silence About Sex Addiction, Trafficking & Recovery

Breaking the SilenceLast weekend I sat among a group of 70 pastors listening intently as police Sgt Grant Snyder described his work setting up sting operations to arrest men and rescue victims of sex trafficking and forced prostitution in Minneapolis.Snyder's work, as part of the Crimes Against Children Unit of the Minneapolis Police Department, consists largely of working with detectives to plot the arrest of men in the Twin Cities who are purchasing sex from children, mostly from … [Read more...]

Now – A poem and painting reminding us to be present

This year I have been thinking about how to get the most out of life. What I landed upon was to be more present in each moment. But that is hard to do. I consider it a skill that is learned and practiced. So this year I have been meditating on what it means to experience the presence, to feel it, and to pay attention to it. I want to realize that "power of now" that so many spiritual masters speak of. This squares with my Christian spiritual practices because I believe we can be more open to … [Read more...]

What’s In Your “Oops Box”?

What's In Your "Oops Box"?I was recently reading about creative activities to do with my kids. One of the things that I came across was called an "Oops Box".What a great idea - an Oops Box is a box wherein you toss scraps of paper or fabric and other small trinkets and things to be repurposed into a craft with your kids...or, into a beautiful work of art. [photo by Mimi Schirber] Repurposed. I love that word, "repurposed". Another great idea. More scraps of things in my life need to … [Read more...]

Death, Grieving and the Christmas Story

Earlier in December my mother-in-law suddenly passed away. It was totally unexpected. You might say she was the picture of health and energy for a woman in her mid sixties. It took us all by surprise and initiated a season of grieving in the life of our large family. Since my mother-in-law died, many people have reached out to us. They've reached out to show their support, to offer their condolences and to help us feel that we were not alone in what we are experiencing. Many friends … [Read more...]

“Radical Gratitude: Hearing the Call” – a poem

    November is national gratitude month. With that in mind, I wanted to share a poem with you that I wrote about choosing gratitude, perhaps with grateful self-talk, even and especially, through the hard things.This poem is from the perspective of my "grateful-self" talking to my "needing-encouragement-self". I hope you enjoy it. Radical Gratitude: Hearing the Call By Riley O'Brien PowellCome hither dear and hear the call,Through the rustling … [Read more...]

Five Elements of Church Error (part 2 of 5) – Leaving Slavery & Segregation Behind

Do you believe in slavery? Would your church hire a pro-segregation minister? Would you be part of a spiritual community that banned attendees of a different race? Would you attend a church that refused to allow inter-racial marriages?  I'm guessing that not only would you answer "no" to these questions, but that most of you have a hard time imagining that there was a time when the Bible was used to justify and support such notions. Thankfully, almost all Bible teaching today comes from a place o … [Read more...]

Five Elements of Church Error – The Unexpected Jesus (Part 1of 4)

Part 1: Were We Wrong About Jesus Being Wrong About Eschatology?Early in my journey to a fulfilled eschatology perspective, I had the question, “How could the mainstream church have been so wrong for so long about eschatology?” I asked the question this way, because I held to the presupposition that God wouldn’t let the faith I grew up in be in error about something as significant as the timing and nature of the coming of Jesus for “most” of history.I had the perspective that the majority … [Read more...]

What is a Coming of God? Part 3/3

Part 3 of 3 In this series, we’ve been exploring the possibility that Jesus’ “coming on the clouds” was a symbolic way of speaking about the spiritual meaning of the one of the most significant events in the First Century CE: The Jerusalem civil war, and subsequent Roman attack, culminating in the destruction of the Hebrew Temple. But is this the only time Scripture describes God “coming on the clouds”? If there are other examples, do we see these “cloud comings” of God in history following a s … [Read more...]

Coming of God – part 2

Last month, we looked at what Jesus had to say about the timing of his own parousia, or “coming.”So where else does the ‘coming of God’ show up in Holy Writ? Was a ‘coming of God’ like the world-devourer Galactus‘ herald Silver Surfer, gliding in from the sky all bright and shiny? Or was it a demonstration of God’s power in spiritual, physical and the visible realms? Let’s delve into the internal language of Scripture to discover what this concept means to its original speakers.In the Heb … [Read more...]

What is a “Coming of God?” Part 1

There is much confusion in Christianity today surrounding the milieu of biblical eschatology. Specifically, there is widespread misunderstanding about the nature and timing of Jesus’ coming, arrival or presence (parousia in Greek). In popular preaching and imagination, it’s often called his “second coming” or “return.” Many life-long Jesus-followers are surprised to learn that these are not terms found in the Bible – and then to consider how these terms effect our thinking on just what this all m … [Read more...]


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