Singing in Dimly Lit Places: Is Religious Freedom Under Threat?

Here is the question that will be on Patheos Public Square  next week: While the principle of religious freedom is inscribed in the Constitution and forms a core idea of American democracy, it has also become an increasingly embattled issue amid broader cultural tensions over individual rights, the power of government, and the separation of church and state. Is religious freedom under threat, as many advocates claim? What does it mean to defend religious freedom in a diverse, modern society … [Read more...]

Green With Cultural Envy: Why We’re Over the Top for Every Possible Holiday

The Sunday before Valentine's day, I was doing my usual Sunday afternoon thing--staring at the wall, trying to recover from preaching (which sometimes feels precisely like recovering from a bear-chase situation).  As I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook, I noticed a trend. Several consecutive pics in my newsfeed of friends displaying the Valentine cards, treats, and mail boxes they were making with their kids. After scrolling through approximately 800 of these, I got nervous."Hey," I said t … [Read more...]

The Right Kind of Prayer

A few weeks ago, Saint Andrew Christian Church hosted a "Welcoming Church" event, in partnership with a sister congregation and the GLAD Alliance. The goal was to generate conversation around what it means to be an open and affirming congregation, and what difference it makes to identity and mission when you 'say out loud' that you welcome everyone. Because, if we're being honest, most of our congregations still chant the mantra. You know the one: "We welcome everybody. Why do we have to talk abo … [Read more...]

If My Wings Should Fail Me

I'm back among the living after a week down with the flu. Not a 24 hour flu bug type thing: actual influenza. Think sharp knives stabbing your chest every time you cough (which is, let's just say, often) chills, all-over body aches and general awfulness. And then my husband and one of the kids got it, and well... all downhill from there.But like I said--I'm back among the living today, newly aware of the fragile state of life embodied.  It doesn't take much to lay us flat. And at all … [Read more...]

“Jesus Feminist:” A Gospel of Empowerment

“Jesus Feminist: Exploring God’s Radical Notion that Women are People, Too.”My initial reaction to that title was “Well yeah… Like we been sayin.” Because in most mainline protestant circles, we have been HELLA sayin. For like, 100 years. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to see this book—an apologetic for empowering women leaders in the church—emerge in the evangelical circle, because, you know, ‘those people’ sure need to read it. But I didn’t really expect to find anything in it that would sp … [Read more...]

Marked

Yesterday, I found myself decidedly NOT at church, imposing ashes. Instead I was at home, trying to rest myself back from the flu I've been battling, and being clung-to by my littlest one, who woke up with it yesterday. Though I never left my house, I spent the holy day keeping a different kind of watch...one that every parent knows too well, and one that bears its own kind of liturgy. So I wrote a thing.       From dust you were born. To dust you will return.And we, the keepers … [Read more...]

Your Brother on Game Day

Our guest post today is from Victor Adeyanju, Victor was defensive end for the St. Louis Rams from '06-'10, and then for a season with the Cincinnati Bengals. I asked (though I sort of knew) what he thought about all the drama circling around the very IDEA of  gay athletes in the NFL. Maybe you know, or maybe you don't, that after Michael Sam came out, some lobbyists scrambled to initiate this movement to ban openly gay players from the draft. Plenty of voices are weighing from various quarters, … [Read more...]

The Rebirth of Moderation

Have we had enough?My brain hurts. My heart hurts. Here are just a few of the demoralizing, backward, and crazy-making things happening in the news this week:Arizona wants to deport all the gays. (Pretty much.)And so does the NFL. No, wait. Some POLITICIANS want the NFL to ban gay players. Cause pro ball is covered in the consitution?Michael Dunn (of the 'Loud Music Trial') was not convicted of murder for killing a black teenager; and yet, prison phone calls reveal him saying t … [Read more...]

We Who Are Alive (or, 10 Reasons the Church Ain’t Dead Yet)

"The mainline church is in decline.""Religious leaders no longer carry any authority in the community.""Most churches spend more on building expenses than they do on mission."" [arbitrary number of your choice] people leave the Christian faith every [another arbitrary #] minutes.""And where, oh where, ARE THE MILLENIALS? We gots to get us some millenials!"We get it. Times are tough. We've all heard/seen/lived the truth of these despairing stats over the past 5, 10, or 25 … [Read more...]