We Are Not All Bruce Lee, Part 1

My post-doc, Justin K.H. Tse, is guest posting for me this week, sharing his fascinating thoughts on Asian American religion which will be featured on these next several posts.I’d like to thank Jim Wellman for letting me guest post on his American Religion blog during this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Inaugurated in 1977 by Representatives Frank Horton (R-NY) and Norman Mineta (D-CA) and Senators Dan Inouye (D-HI) and Spark Matsunaga (D-HI) as Asian/Pacific Heritage Week, President … [Read more...]

Best Book on Youth Ministry

I wish I read Jeff Keuss’s brilliant book, Blur: A New Paradigm for Understanding Youth Culture, when I was a young youth minister. In many ways, I intuited many of his conclusions out of my own experience, but I felt alone. Like many I heard that youth ministry was about converting kids and making them disciples of Jesus Christ. Moreover, that one had to be certain in one’s faith and follow whatever the hippest method to come out of Youth Specialties. And, to be sure, some of this worked, but I … [Read more...]

Super Bowl, Civil Religion and Our Dirty Little Secret

I suppose I can be accused of being biased on the Super Bowl. I live in Seattle. I’m rooting for the Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl. So be it. I have, however, tried to think about this grand national pastime and wonder, on occasion, should I participate in it? Shouldn’t the violence, so typical of an NFL game, be a kind of rebuke to my enjoyment of this game? More to the point, why is an NFL football game so central, so absolutely necessary to so many Americans? What is the draw? Is thi … [Read more...]

Rob Bell is the Real Deal

I wrote a book on Rob Bell, and for many reasons, its been a blessing to me. But one of the unexpected blessings was that he became my friend. Now, with Rob’s new interview with Oprah, there may be a sense in which some might say, “He can’t be for real. He’s gone Hollywood. Now he’s really full of himself.”Well, let me tell you a story of a friend of mine. Some know that my wife passed away two weeks ago. I let my friend know that this had happened and how painful it was for my two daughters … [Read more...]

A Tribute to My Wife

"Oh... it's gonna to be hard to say goodbye." My wife quoted to me Dorothy's farewell to her comrades, just days before she passed. And there are no words to describe the hole I feel at her passing.  My extraordinary wife, partner and dear friend passed after a 22-month struggle with a rare tumor recently. The tributes that have come in have taught me again who she was in this life: A beacon of light to many, an in-spiriting source for women and men everywhere, a uniquely gifted mother to her … [Read more...]

Defeated: How Evangelicals Feel

It’s a fascinating time in American history, religion and politics. I recently wrote that it’s time for my liberal and moderate friends “to get hard.” I made the case that in fact, because of our inattention and our tendency to compromise that we have lost on nearly every social and political agenda of importance: increasing social inequality; larger military budgets; more weapons on the street; a stalled immigration reform; endless money in our politics, and now, with one piece of success, the A … [Read more...]