Before Someone Drops a House on You

I've long had a theory about Fred Phelps: He didn't really hate gay people.Well, ok, he probably did. But not to the degree that his antics would lead one to believe. He was probably homophobic in the same way that a lot of people are homophobic...in a passive way that is mildly accepted by much of popular culture (which is a whole 'nother post) but you don't see all of those mainstream haters pounding the pavement with these ugly signs, and forming an abusive cult around their ideology. W … [Read more...]

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

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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...]

Drink it Up, Drink it In: The Lost Art of Celebration

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The Sunday before Valentine's day, I was doing my usual Sunday afternoon thing--staring at the wall, trying to recover from the mental and physical strain of preaching.  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 800 of these (ok, it was probably 7, but still) I got nervous."Hey," I said to my spouse..."Does H- h … [Read more...]

The Right Kind of Prayer

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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

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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

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“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...]

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

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"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...]

Snake in the Grass

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Fair warning for my mother, and others with intense reptile aversions--there be snakes in this post. Talk of snakes, the idea of snakes, links to articles containing pictures of snakes, possible scriptural allusions to snakes. If you want to skip this and come back tomorrow, there will be an entirely serpent free post.So this guy... in Kentucky... I'm guessing you know where I'm headed with this... He died from a snake bite. In a worship service.Where he was the pastor.I'm not one t … [Read more...]

Singing for Our Lives

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I’m not sure how it started, or when. But at least since I was a young’n, and probably a good many moons before that… each year, several hundred high school students would gather at the Hyatt Regency in Louisville for Kentucky All State Choir. (Yeah, that’s how we rolled, y’all. A glimpse of my wild and crazy youth right here).That hotel is about 20 stories high, with a large open-air atrium for a lobby. You can look up from the ground floor and literally see the door to every guest room, sur … [Read more...]


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