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...]

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...]

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...]

Holiness, Blessedness: All Around

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Rev. Erika Marksbury preached this powerful sermon at SACC yesterday. I love how she reframes the beatitudes in terms of 'holiness' rather than 'happiness.' These texts are not prescriptive, she tells us. They don't give us instructions. They just tell us how it is...        Read and be blessed, on this cold Monday.These past few weeks we’ve been hanging out around the outskirts of Jesus’ community – we’ve seen him baptized, we’ve heard his cousin, and teacher, John the Baptist, tell the sto … [Read more...]

Jesus, Tebow, and Grandma God: The New Trinity

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Some days, I come across an article that restores my faith in humanity, and gives me hope for the future of the Christian story.This is not one of those days.Apparently--seriously, I just almost can't say this out loud without wanting to 1)laugh hysterically and/or 2)curl up in a dark corner somewhere--but I say, APPARENTLY, HALF OF AMERICANS think that God decides who wins the Super Bowl.Seriously.I almost don't have anything to say except, 'No.' No, no, no, people. I've been try … [Read more...]

Mailing, Failing, and Yard Sign Nailing

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DEAR CHURCH DOWN THE ROAD*:I wanted to thank you for your excellent marketing approach in reaching our neighbors with the good news of Christ. I enjoy your signs, mailings, web pages and strategically placed fliers. I wanted to commend you on a few especially powerful messages, and encourage you to keep up the good work.1. Keep reminding people that "going to church does not make them a Christian." That will certainly encourage them to carve time out of their busy, overwhelming, … [Read more...]


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