I’m always late to the party. I was watching a recent SNL featuring John Mulaney/Jack White, and they did a skit about Wild Wild Country. I hadn’t heard of the documentary, but I knew that for them to be satirizing it, there must be some buzz around it. I looked into it and discovered the six-episode documentary series on Netflix. I turned it on at about 9 p.m. on a Tuesday night and watched the first five hours. It completely sucked me in…. Read more

It’s time we shook off some of the myths that we’re regularly taught in the church. Don’t worry; I’m not talking about prominent doctrines. I’m just talking about the funny little fibs we’ve heard so often that we simply accept them as being scripturally accurate. 1. Jesus didn’t change Saul’s name to Paul As the legend goes, Saul—the maniacal persecutor of Christians—was on his way to Damascus when Jesus knocked him into the dirt. At that moment Saul was blinded,… Read more

For the 25 years that I’ve been a Christian,  the “God-shaped vacuum” is one of the most consistently used metaphors I’ve heard. This concept springs from Pensées, a collection of writings from French mathematician, Blaise Pascal: “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that… Read more

In October of 1968, Johnson called a halt to North Vietnamese bombings to fuel peace talks. The Soviets had promised that if the attacks stopped, Hanoi would come to the negotiating table. The end to a war that had already claimed 30,000 American lives was in sight. But in the eleventh hour, South Vietnam walked away from negotiations, and the U.S. stayed in the war for another five years. As we now know from recently released papers from H. R…. Read more

Years ago I led my small-group discussion on Christ’s troubling parable about Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19–30). It’s a harrowing story about a poor man named Lazarus who’s ignored every day by a very wealthy man. When they both die, they experience a biblical Freaky Friday. It’s the rich man who suffers torments while Lazarus is comforted. The message is clear. We can make sacrifices for others today, or have the choice made for us later. Imagine my disappointment when—instead of wrestling with… Read more

I have a lot of atheist friends, and I’m never defensive when they talk about their disbelief. I get it. There are a lot of days where I dance back and forth between struggling theist and part-time atheist myself. I don’t wrestle with the same questions that they do. After all, I have an incredible ability to live with ambiguity (but I’m not entirely sure if this is a superpower or a character deficiency). I’m comfortable with unresolved tension and flourish… Read more

Remember in the 90s when those cloth WWJD bracelets were all the rage? I worked in Christian retail at the time, and we couldn’t keep those little inspirational bacteria magnets in stock. The bracelet was supposed to be a constant reminder to ask yourself “what would Jesus do” before having premarital sex, smoking meth, or putting pineapple on pizza. The bracelets are long gone, but debates about social issues among Christians still seem to boil down to figuring out what… Read more

If you ever watch someone like Ray Comfort do street evangelism, you see a perfect picture of western salvation. His job is to prove to bystanders that they’re sinners in need of a savior, and he does this by quizzing them on the ten commandments. “Have you ever told a lie?” he asks them. Inevitably they admit that they have, and he informs them that they’re guilty of bearing false witness, guilty of breaking God’s commandments,  and need to accept Jesus… Read more

If you think about it, every one of us is trapped in our own mind and has constructed a unique story about the world and our place in it. This story defines how we think about ourselves, others, and the very nature of truth and reality. And while we tend to think about our stories as being either true or false, most of them fall on a sliding scale of accuracy. Our interpretation of some circumstances are more (or less) accurate than others,… Read more

There’s been a lot of discussions lately about who’s more susceptible to “fake news.” In a Slate article from November 2017,  John Ehrenreich pointed at the gullibility on the right and asked “Why Are Conservatives More Susceptible to Believing Lies?” And a February 2017 article in The Atlantic, “Why Fake News Targeted Trump Supporters,” wrestled with the reasons why conservative voters are more likely to fall for bogus news stories like Pizzagate or Obama’s secret Muslim identity. Both articles bring up good points, but I think they… Read more

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