The Dangerous Pursuit of Pastoral Fame

As my chiropractor was working me over yesterday, she was asking about the reading I’m currently doing for a degree I’m working on. After I rattled off the titles and subjects of a number of leadership books, she said, “Wow, what are you going to do when you are finished with school—rule the world?”“Actually, I’m moving in the opposite direction,” I said.And I am trying to mean that. Genuinely.Over the last few years, I’ve thought long and hard about “my platform” as a pastor, a write … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is ...a church where beauty is cherished. Where people are given the space to express their creative nature and make beautiful things. A space where candles come in all different kinds of colors, containers and arrangements. Where banners are made to fit a space and a people. Where lanterns light up the shadows in the ceiling and remind us that we are part of that kingdom.The Kingdom of God is...a pool in the middle of summer where people aren’t obsessed about what they a … [Read more...]

I am topsoil + to topsoil I shall return*

There is something comforting to me in the idea that I am part of the earth and will always be part of the earth. Maybe it’s rooted in my rural upbringing, where I was familiar with the dirt, and played in it, and got my hands dirty often.There was a time in my adult life when I had a garden and lived in an old farmhouse that used to be a flower farm. I would come home from work some days and plunge my hands into the dirt—to soften it for planting, or to loosen it to pull up weeds.That wa … [Read more...]

Strange Christianity Made in America: Part I by Randy Woodley

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What has been particularly harmful about American Christianity has not necessarily been the beliefs professed by American Christians but rather the worldview that makes professions of belief more real than living them out. Within this schism of reality exists classic American dualism.With just a reference to our nation’s fondness for war, our crime statistics, our rising poverty rates and an apparent increasing lack of concern for the most disenfranchised of society, we simply do not measure … [Read more...]

Conversation As a Path to Transformation

Chris Smith

We're getting ready to celebrate in April our 8-year anniversary of meeting as the "Emerging Church Discussion Group" (a.k.a. the Charlotte Emergent cohort). The group has changed a lot over the years, but one thing remains the same: There is still a need for a safe(r) space for theological conversation, because most churches do not create space for it.This is still true here in Charlotte ("the city of 1,000 churches"), and I suspect it's true of the many cities where other Emergent cohorts … [Read more...]

the boy who broke the law and lost his father…

 if there is anything revolutionary within christianity, it is everything that lies outside of it. meaning, that christianity at its best must be receptive to the 'trauma of the secular', rather than resist it (as it has historically).the anarchic kernel within christianity resides not in the creeds, not even in the bible itself, but rather in freud and lacan (or psychoanalysis). who, as people, resisted christianity (aka, conversion), however, in the present future their ghosts are … [Read more...]


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