OMG—My Brackets are SO BUSTED!

This blog post is SO late, but I decided to write it using March Madness—the NCAA Basketball tournament as a clever metaphor. Then two #2 seeded teams were beaten by two #15 seeded teams, something that has NEVER happened in the history of the tournament and I realized that the unexpected in a college basketball tournament is more than a clever metaphor—it is a laboratory of contemporary life. “March Madness” is an interesting distraction that has evolved into a significant American culture athl … [Read more...]

Mark Driscoll and Accountability

A number of years ago I was surprised by a phone call from someone high up in the Acts 29 network, the church planting organization started by Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill church in Seattle.The call was precipitated by some blogging I had done about Mark; the long and short of it was Mark had made some reckless and frankly crude comments in a public forum about an old friend and a goat. It was beyond the pale and he later apologized after inspiring the first of many internet uproars over his … [Read more...]

A Seat at The Table: Negative Space, Part II, The Art of Doing Nothing

I wrote last month about the value of 'negative space' in worship settings, but the same principle has similar effects in the life of the larger organization.  Of course most reasonable people would look at flat churches, offer an exasperated sigh, and say, "Organization?  What organization? I don't see any!"  And while it is true that there is a lack of top-down structure, even grassroots emergence churches will often naturally employ the use of negative space to get certain jobs done.At Co … [Read more...]

Why We Can’t Win In Afghanistan by Randy Woodley

Old Geronimo

(Note: I am interrupting my own series on Strange Religion: American Dualism because of the urgency of this situation. Life interrupts perceived reality. A recent ABC News - Washington Post poll ( shows that 60 percent of U.S. citizens believe the war in Afghanistan is not worth its costs. These cost are both monetary and counted in the loss of human life. Although the slaying of … [Read more...]


I wrote this poem in an attempt to explore the life of Bathsheba. I wondered what it might feel like to experience challenging events in her life. When my friend Kathy Smith read the poem at a gathering last week at my church, Solomon's Porch, she pointed out that when stories from the Bible are told from the perspective of women, the narrative sounds quite different.BathshebaI. Bathingnight air scented lavender and rose massage my neck rub my hands along my thighs my husband will not … [Read more...]

Atheists Promoting Bible Study?


You know we're living in an odd world when atheists encourage people to read scripture. 50,000 people a day sample science blogger PZ Myers' Pharyngula posts. "There's no surer way to make an atheist than to get someone to actually read the Bible," says Myers.Here is why: Genesis 6 and 7, for example, tell of God planning and executing the slaughter of billions of innocent animals and millions of children in Noah's flood. In the words of one distraught parent, "A few weeks ago I read my … [Read more...]

Facebook is Helping Me Grieve


By Jana RiessIn the news last week I read a story about a mother whose college-age daughter had died, but the mother kept her Facebook profile alive and active so that friends and family could continue to post their memories. Months passed, and then someone took it upon himself or herself to alert Facebook that this young woman was, in fact, dead -- a clear violation of Facebook's stated policies. Citing privacy concerns, Facebook "memorialized" the page, and the young woman's mother can no … [Read more...]

Disciplining Church Discipline


As people defend Mars Hill's policy on church discipline and consider those similar policies of other churches, there is a big assumption being made. The common refrain is often that Mars Hill and churches like them are simply being "biblical" in their approach. This seems to be the home base that they and their supporters tag every time there is a challenge to their methodology.The assumption that I propose, is that the very existence of not only Mars Hill but every other church that boasts … [Read more...]

Is Scientific Evidence Modern-Day Scripture?

The following is cross-posted from my HuffPost blog (where it has received 200+ comments). It is also posted on Connie's and my Metanexus blog, here.We are in the early stages of what I think historians will one day call religion's Evidential Reformation. Increasingly, most of us (the devout included) relate to scientific, historic and cross-cultural evidence as more authoritative than the dictates of an all-male ecclesiastical body or a literalist reading of Scripture.A good example of … [Read more...]

The Prayers of Lent

PATHEOS – March 2012Just a few days before Lent began this year and in anticipation of it, Doug Pagitt--who somehow always manages to pastor us all, thank God-- set a date for the two of us to engage in a Skyped conversation about Lent. But not about Lent in general, he said. Rather, he wanted us to talk about Lent from my perspective as a liturgical Christian. Since almost nobody ever asks me to speak as a liturgical, I was as much charmed as pleased. [In the South, those are two entirely d … [Read more...]