Please Skip That Independence Day Service At Church

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If your church is going to be holding an Independence Day celebration this year, I hope you’ll think this through and decide to skip it. Celebrating Independence Day at church is among what I believe to be the most offensive things we could do in a place that is supposed to be reserved for worshiping [Read More...]

3 Key Reasons Why Religious Right Leaders Are So Angry

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What’s worse from their perspective, is the situation is more than just the fact these “kids” aren’t interested in leading the next generation of the religious right, but that they’ve actually switched sides. While conservative leaders were stuck in the old culture wars, those of us in progressive/emergent Christianity happily welcomed these kids into our fold (and gave them a few books to read). Today, these “kids” now make up a core block of the opposition to the very movement they were once destined to lead. [Read more...]

What Jesus Talked About When He Talked About Hell

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The word Jesus uses in Greek is γέεννα (Gehenna), which actually means “The Valley of the Son of Hinnom”. An over simplified description of Gehenna would be that it was the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem; this was the place where both garbage and dead bodies would be discarded and consumed by a fire that was likely always burning. The location goes all the way back to the book of Joshua, and was a place where bad things happened– child sacrifice, bodies were cremated, etc. Basically, imagine a dump where garbage is burned add into that the vision of burning bodies and a historical connotation of child sacrifice, and you’ll see that it wasn’t a very desirable place. However, it was a very ​literal​ place and the original audience of Jesus would have understood it as such. They would not have heard the word Gahenna and thought of our concept of hell– they would have realized Jesus was talking about an actual place outside the city. [Read more...]

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and The First World Problem of “Religious Persecution”

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It seems that what has happened here is that persecution in America has become just another example of the way we view “problems” in a first world setting. Regardless of what actually is occurring elsewhere, we’re consumed with what we perceive is happening here, and behave on a practical level as if our “problem” is way worse. The way we’ve come to view persecution is no different than how we’ve come to view so many other issues. [Read more...]

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim arrested AGAIN in Sudan! This is what real persecution looks like.

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Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, the woman who was just freed from death row in Sudan, has been arrested AGAIN. Ibrahim had been previously arrested on death row and awaiting 100 lashes plus death by hanging once her baby, born in prison, was older and weaned. She was sentenced to the 100 lashes for adultery as the [Read More...]

Why Some Christians Are Universalists (Letting Go of Hell Series)

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Continuing the discussion on hell we started yesterday, I was asked to show the third option that exists beyond eternal conscious torment (the traditional hell), and annihilation. The third option that exists, of course, is universalism. Yes, there are Christian Universalists– and they’re not a new thing. Christian Universalists existed among the early church, contributed [Read More...]

Letting Go Of Hell (Without Letting Go Of The Bible)

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Affirming that scripture is inspired and true means one must also affirm the “eternal, conscious torment” of hell, correct? Nope– not at all, and today I’ll explain how it’s possible to let go of hell without letting go of the Bible. I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, and saw that Evangelical [Read More...]

Be Not Deceived: There’s No Such Thing As A “Christian Banker”

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The Bible calls bankers who lend money for interest an “abomination”. Why aren’t we putting them out of the church? [Read more...]

You’ll Never Understand The Bible Until You Understand Jesus

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True story: nearly loosing my eye 14 years ago taught me how to better read and interpret the Bible. I was just moving into my condo in Tumon, Guam. I was so excited to move in– it had a beautiful balcony overlooking the Philippine Sea, was just a short walk from the beaches, and I [Read More...]

What’s So Complicated About “Love Your Enemies”?

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If there’s one thing I don’t understand about modern Christianity in America, it’s this: The offensiveness of enemy love. If one takes a public stand against, say, any sin you can think of, one is considered “courageous” and a “defender of the faith”. Folks will quickly applaud you and tell you how much they admire [Read More...]


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