Talking About Real Life and Faith: A Review of the Animate DVD Series for Small Groups

animate

Leaders in the progressive church-y world are always looking for ‘The Thing.’ You know, the perfect curriculum, book, or teaching tool for that one group, or this one season. What we often fine is that ‘the thing’ with the most engaging activities, the colorful promo materials, and the user-friendly leader guide—has terrible theology. No depth, lots of bloody Jesus language, and heavy on patriarchy and/or prosperity gospel.On the flip-side: ‘the thing’ with layers of meaning, challenging ques … [Read more...]

Sex, Death, and the Same Old Tree

japanese garden

I just keep thinking about that tree.You know the one. It stood in the center of the garden. Everything else seemed to grow out from its center, and lean in towards it at the same time. Drawn to its vibrant color, its fragrance, the life that seemed to hum from within. Everything else in the garden depended on that one tree for air and light.So the gardener told the tourists not to touch it. To please not pluck its leaves, or eat its fruit, or spray it with pesticide or put a fence … [Read more...]

#BecauseJesus

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While flipping through radio stations, I came upon a show where the morning hosts asked people to call in and 'tell me something good.' I thought, hey, people sharing good news. I like good news. So I stopped to listen and heard some nice stories about recovered health and restored relationships. The beauty of the day or a joy of a fresh start. Then a guy called in and said this:“Yeah, with all this stuff going on in the Middle East...I just think about how Jesus says in the Bible that when t … [Read more...]

Dig In: 10 Ways to Find Your Feet in a New Place

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Hey. I haven’t had much to say lately. I’m not sure why that is, other than that when you write and talk and write and talk, all day long, then go home and talk some more, you will at some point run out of words. They always come back, eventually—usually as an assault to the senses, like an alien, animal thing trying to escape you all at once; a rush of words that literally burns itself into your brain (maybe while you’re asleep) and MUST BE FREED AT DAWN OR ELSE YOU’LL RUN MAD.However—this p … [Read more...]

Life Out There: Celebrating 5 Years of Patheos

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As a writer, I live 'in here,' in my head much of the time. As a faith leader, I live ‘out’ in the world, and up in front of a big community much of the time. ‘In here’ and ‘out there’ are two scary places to be sometimes.  This is why I started blogging.It is easy to feel isolated with one’s own thoughts. Especially if some of those thoughts are doubts about faith, or critiques of the Church, and one is supposed to be a leader in said faith/Church. But doubts and critiques are exactly what m … [Read more...]

A Doctor, A Pastor, and a Car Salesman…

No, they're not walking into a bar. But perhaps they should...Here's what I know about TMJ: well, I know a lot, and guess/infer a lot more--this is some of each. For starters 1) it affects more women than men; 2) it is a whole-person issue, encompassing physical, dental, and psychological factors--which means that no type of insurance coverage-- even if you have benefits for all three of these areas--wants to cover treatment. Some come right out and say in the fine print 'we do not cover … [Read more...]

In New Skin, Again

rainbow

Yes, this is what I do when I should be working on sermon notes, or prayerfully reflecting on high holy days. I rhyme things. It's a sickness... My car and my office are both a big messAnd I’m a big pile of hot-wired stress--Even the preacher has to confesswhen It’s Holy Week again. Friday’s black (but not like for shopping)The dang Easter bunny comes hippity hoppingAnd I wish this headache would just start stoppingIt’s Holy Week again … [Read more...]

Broken and Othered

interfaith

This morning, I went to an interfaith Service of Unity and Hope at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. Last Sunday, 2 people were murdered there. Another victim was shot at a nearby retirement facility, also connected to the Jewish community.The man responsible for these heinous acts of violence—we won’t say his name, because I don’t believe in making celebrities out of killers—he had a history. Some long and awful history. He was involved with the KKK, and was even a Grand Dragon, … [Read more...]

Changing the Conversation: 7 Ways to End Violence While Keeping Your Guns

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I’m tired of hearing “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people!”I’m tired of conversations full of soundbites from everyone’s favorite pro/anti organization or polarizing media outlet.And I’m tired of saying “God is present with us in tragedy and loss of life… we grieve with the families of the victims… we hope for a day in which God’s peace may be known on the earth and blah blah blah…” For love of ALL THAT IS, I am tired of preaching that sermon.Is it true? That God is with us in … [Read more...]


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