Finding Good Without God

This weekend after watching one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies with me, my daughter turned to me and asked, “How does that compass work, anyway? I mean, what does it DO?” I explained to her that it works by leading you, not in a cardinal direction, but by showing you the way to whatever [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…]

Are Human Beings Fundamentally Wicked?

This morning I saw a man on his morning jog stopping to pick up a broken beer bottle off the side of the street along with several other tiny pieces of glass that had broken off. It wasn’t even in his own yard, but he interrupted his run anyway in order to grab the sharp [Read More…]

I Drew the Line at Canaan

I’d like to tell you about the last time I was able to stomach going to church. First, you have to realize that this was the culmination of years of struggle and tension for me. Back when I was still a teenager, I had only been a devoted Christian for two or three years before I [Read More…]

Does the Christian Faith Make People More Loving?

I grew up Christian and I still live in a culture that is Jesus-soaked—or perhaps as Flannery O’Connor once called it, Christ-haunted.  It’s not so much that the Christians I know really make a habit of doing the things Jesus talked about doing. It’s more that the spectre of a Christian vocabulary lingers in everything [Read More…]

Character Versus Belief

I have this recurring problem, and I wonder if any of you can relate.  I interact with people “in real life” every day and the feedback I get is usually quite positive.  I mean people generally seem to like me, you know?  I’m a fairly articulate guy, plenty well-groomed, and I dress professionally (most of the [Read More…]

Father Abraham Had Many Psychoses

It’s funny how you can read a story or watch a movie at two different times in your life and see it in two completely different lights each time.  The second time around, you notice things you never would have caught before.  I recently watched a favorite Bond movie and found myself saying, “Were his [Read More…]

I Draw the Line at Canaan

I’d like to tell you about the last time I was able to stomach going to church. First you must realize that this was the culmination of years of struggle and tension for me. Back when I was still a teenager, I had only been a devoted Christian for two or three years before I [Read More…]