Black History – White Woman

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Thank you. I’m sorry. I need to say both. Thank you to everyone who has written, sung, or spoken the difficult truths of racism, discrimination, oppression and privilege. Thank you to my friends who have taken the time to tell me their stories so that I might understand my own history better, so that I might understand myself better. I’m sorry that you have these painful stories to tell. I regret that I didn’t already know them. I realize now that I’ve been callous about your … [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...]

For those who know: a modern parable

It may have occurred to you as strange my friend when the ravenous vultures began to circle and their constant heckle seemed to contradict their once ominous cry. Even then they cried with the same retched tone, without ever saying anything of substance, which could have provided an explanation for their dogma. I suppose if our great teacher had figured it all out as theirs did, we all would be one big happy family. However, when our teacher came he created instability through his nonsensical … [Read more...]

Jesus and American Exceptionalism by Randy Woodley

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It seems the concept of American Exceptionalism has made a comeback. This is especially notable if you listen for even just a few minutes to the Republican Primary debates. The term is kind of new, but the concept began many years ago. Basically, it translates to mean God favors America more than God favors (at least most) other nations. The early Puritans had a similar spiritual vision to build a "city upon a hill" as a sign for God’s will for all. They wanted to create a “New … [Read more...]

An Evangelical Pentecostal Naturalist?

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I'm often described in the mainstream media as an 'Evangelical minister' or ‘Pentecostal preacher', even though I speak far more often in moderate and liberal churches (and in secular settings) than I do in Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Emerging Church venues. Not surprisingly, I've been asked on a number of occasions, by both religious liberals and conservatives, "In what sense do you consider yourself a Pentecostal Evangelical? And how does that mesh with you being an outspoken religious … [Read more...]

my broken family (Church vs. Art)

J. M. W. Turner Rain, Steam and Speed c.1844

I love art. I teach it. I try to preach it to others. My faith is truly alive due to artists - both old and new. They imbue hope, life, and peace. Rembrandt and Michelangelo, Goya and Picasso, and more recently Wooster. These are my commentaries upon the Scriptures. As a Christian this often lands me in two worlds simultaneously. One foot in church related things and the other in creative arts. I've found the bridge is most often me. I enjoy mixing it up in both worlds, but it would be truly … [Read more...]

I Like the Bible but I’m Not Sure I Know All the Words by Randy Woodley

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I had been learning to play bass guitar for two years when I was finally asked to be in a real band. The fact that I had a new Fender Jazz bass and an Acoustic 360 watt amp that I had worked and saved for the summer prior didn’t hurt my chances of being asked to be in the band. At 15 years old, I was anxious to show all the stuff that I knew, and as a singer I could remember an incredible number of words of various songs. There I was, for the first time with the band, in one of the member’s … [Read more...]

burning the church…

consciousness has been the topic of conversation for philosophers for centuries. as in, what does it mean to be conscious, aware or enlightened? that last word, for some, conjures up pictures of bald buddhist monks lavished in red and yellow robes contemplating in a temple somewhere, not to mention most likely Asian in descent. this description of enlightenment which is based on our cultural assumptions and experience limits our experience ultimately, not to mention that it does not … [Read more...]

Loving Jesus, Hating Religion: A Well-Meaning False Dichotomy

The last two weeks has seen a new viral sensation take over our computer screens. A spoken word artist named Jefferson Bethke, who goes by the handle "Bball1989," released a video on Youtube that has, in less than two weeks, received more than fifteen million hits called "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus." So regardless of what any of us personally thinks about what he's saying, it's incumbent on us to listen up. For starters, there's some really good stuff in his message. He … [Read more...]

Agree or Die. [Improvisational Christianity #4]

Improv is play – simple pretending. Think of what works best when kids are at play. Here are three examples of how little children tend to play together: Example 1: Girl: I’m a Princess! Boy: No, you’re a Wizard! Girl: No, I’m a Princess. You’re a Prince. Boy: You’re ugly and stupid! Girl leaves weeping. Example 2: Girl: I’m a Princess! Boy: Ok, I’m A Wizard. Girl: No. You’re a Prince. You have blonde hair and green eyes and you live in a … [Read more...]