Maybe Fighting God Isn’t the Point

Not every development in human evolution serves to perpetuate the species. Not every variation benefits us in more ways than it harms us. There ultimately is no rhyme or reason to what happens from moment to moment—there is only order in what remains over the long haul because only those things beneficial to the preservation and [Read More…]

Note From a Pastor: Finding Meaning in Our Myths

This past weekend I got an email from a Presbyterian pastor (PCUSA) asking some really good questions, and I’d like to share them with you here in abbreviated form (with permission, of course). I think they’re good appetizers for a better-than-usual discussion about how faith and religion function in the world, and about the consequences [Read More…]

Losing Your Religion and Finding Yourself Again

I’m gonna level with you. I’ve been struggling lately. Most days I do my best to look at the big picture, to take the high road, and to find the longest view of religion I can manage despite the baggage I’ve accumulated from my years within the walls of the church (plus the years that [Read More…]

How Do You Measure the Worth of a Man?

How do you measure the worth of a man? I know you’re supposed to say that all human life is valuable, and I’m not disputing that. Human life, indeed all life from where I sit, is inherently valuable because life is fleeting and therefore precious. In fact, life itself is a “natural miracle” in the [Read More…]

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

If you follow this blog you’ve undoubtedly noticed a break in the content, first slowing from a run to a walk over the course of the last year, then finally to an almost complete standstill over the last couple of months. If the struggles I’ve been working through weren’t so personal and intimate, I would [Read More…]

How Christianity Stunted My Relational Growth

I used to think I was a relationship expert. Boy, was I wrong. I was married for 16 years, 14 of which were pretty good years. By “pretty good” I mean that we felt like we were a pretty good team, and others seemed to agree with us. We never fought, never raised our voices [Read More…]

The Bible’s Attitude Toward the Life of the Mind

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” —Ecclesiastes Secularists like me became legitimately concerned when we first learned that our new president-elect selected billionaire right-wing megadonor Betsy DeVos to [Read More…]

Interview: Ten Questions for Atheists About Christianity

My friend and Patheos colleague, Amber Barnhill, was approached by a student from a local Bible college for an interview. She had a list of questions to ask her for a project she is working on, and Amber decided to pass them along for the rest of us to chew on. The interviewer explained: “It’s all aimed at [Read More…]

Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Common Ground

“If Jesus had a ‘sh*t list,’ you wouldn’t find people on it. You’d find attitudes and actions. Not wrong people but wrong ideas, behaviors, and ways of being in the world…He could see the humanity even in the soldiers who were carrying out his execution.” Tom Krattenmaker, Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower, page 28-29 [Read More…]

Why Doesn’t “Sodomy” Refer to a Lack of Hospitality?

Last week I wrote a piece about the traces of nascent humanism in the teachings of Jesus, and toward the end of that post I indicated that I view those socially progressive threads in light of a larger prophetic tradition within the Jewish faith, a tradition in which Jesus himself may rightly belong: [PDF version [Read More…]