How we failed to plant a successful church

Bec Cranford-Smith works at the Gateway Center in Atlanta. She is the site supervisor of  contextual education in partnership with Gateway Center and  Candler School of Theology. She is the pastor of Church of the Misfits.

 How We failed at Successful Church Planting  I sat with middle aged white men in a room decorated by someone infatuated with browns and oranges. The paintings seemed vaguely reminiscent of French vineyards and Italian streets, yet I was closer to crop dust, cotton and Crepe Myrtles in Macon, Georgia. The inquiry began after a couple of jokes and a word of prayer. I crafted my vision of the Church of The Misfits, sharing with conviction about contextualizing Christ to … [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...]

This Advent, Think Different. What Is GOD Waiting For?

be the change

It’s Advent again. This is the time, leading up to Christmas, when we reflect upon the thousand storylines of prophecy through the centuries that moved in solemn procession toward that One climactic event; the incarnation, the birth of Jesus. We reflect upon the convergence of those storylines culminating in this one Messianic babe. Every sacrifice, from Abel’s altar to the last Passover lamb before the Passion, paved the Messiah’s path. Often, during Advent we use this time to refle … [Read more...]

A Theology of Sin is a Distraction. It Doesn’t Exist. And Other Cultural Myths…

 The world is not an evil place to be. It's beautiful. Sure, what is beauty is strictly a subjective definition. For some, beauty is in a sunrise. For others, its in a poem. Or a kiss. Or a Tim Burton movie. Evil is itself also subjective. Yes, what this means is that certain things that have become evil are actually not evil. Homosexuality is not evil. Anger is not evil. Some acts of Abortion are not evil; my claim would be that, if its to escape responsibility, then one should ask … [Read more...]

Learning Action and Contemplation at Richard Rohr’s Living School

Mark Longhurst

Richard Rohr’s new Living School for Action and Contemplation has launched a new synthesis of Christian learning for which I believe the world is waiting. Nearly 1,500 people converged in New Mexico two weeks ago for Rohr’s second Conspire conference and Living School Symposium. Our vocations differed and our geographical homes stretched from Vancouver to Tokyo, but we all shared a common thirst to drink from the well of mystical Christianity. The all-star roster of teachers included Epi … [Read more...]

Give Me a Racist Over A Racist System Anyday by Randy Woodley

"Now brother Woodley, Rev. _______ will share his apology with you and then you can apologize to him." These are last words I needed to hear to understand the jist of  "platform reconciliation" about twelve years ago. "Why in hell would I want to apologize?," I asked myself. I then left the event and vowed never to enable this type of trite confession offering cheap reconciliation again. Over the years the movement has become more sophisticated but the core is still sick, missing key components … [Read more...]

What is Healing? Really?! – An alternative view.

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A Contradiction of Truths

photo (3) - Copy

I am learning in my life to let go of the apparent contradictions; this I believe is the result of my ability to let go of theological paradoxes, which has in turn created a space where I can let go of paradoxes in my own life. Allow me to develop this a little further.So much rational effort has been put into the creation of systematic theologies that have attempted to explain the apparent paradoxes in our human experience with God, the Biblical accounts that seem to contradict each other … [Read more...]

The Busy (c) 2003 Randy S. Woodley

The busy, dizzy bustle in this lonely, lonely world. Traffic moving forward. People moving back. More lights—the world’s a brighter place but look… Progressing dimness here in my soul. Hide the dimness—up the lights. Yell, at this world—yell at myself. Float my deepest feelings on national air waves Alone, I stay in the shallows.The busy, dizzy bustle in this growing, lonely world. Turn up the music—drown out the sound. Get louder the voices speaking from my soul. Sincere regrets br … [Read more...]