“The Perverse Monstrosity of Our Beautiful Work”

The title grabbed my attention: “The Perverse Monstrosity of Our Beautiful Work.” So did author L.L. Barkat’s first sentence: “It was the suckiest letter I ever received.” Any article that combines perversity, monstrosity, beauty, and suckiness just has to be read. Barkat’s “suckiest letter” was in response to something she had written. Someone didn’t like [Read More...]

Baseball, Beards, and Spitting! Yikes!

One of the most impressive beards in baseball belongs to Brian Wilson, relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Most of the beards in the World Series were nicely trimmed. If Wilson wants to help his team into the series, he should get a beard trimmer.

In the last couple of days, I watched more baseball than I have in a couple of years. In the end, it was not much fun for someone from Texas, though I’ve got to give tons of credit to the St. Louis Cardinals. They proved to have great fortitude in addition to great talent. But [Read More...]

You Lost Me: An Interview Not to Be Missed


I am in the middle of reading a book that should be read by every church leader: pastor, elder, deacon, director, lay leader, etc. The book is You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman. In this book, Kinnaman explores in detail why Christians in their late teens and [Read More...]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 1


Part 6 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 1 When I was young, I learned the little rhyme that goes like this: Here is the church, Here is the steeple, Open the doors, See all the people. Of course it didn’t dawn on me at the time [Read More...]

Faith, Politics, and Mini Cupcakes


What do faith, politics, and mini cupcakes have in common? Not much, except that they have recently been featured in newspaper columns. Five Rules for Faith and Politics Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rev. Oliver Thomas, a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors suggest five rules [Read More...]

Trust in Government at All-Time Low. Will This Hurt the Church?

You Lost Me, by David Kinnaman

Today’s New York Times has bad news for the government. Trust in government is at an all-time low: With Election Day just over a year away, a deep sense of economic anxiety and doubt about the future hangs over the nation, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, with Americans’ distrust of government [Read More...]

Where Do People Get Their Ideas of Church? Part 3

Hoag Presbyterian Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach, California

Part 5 of series: What is a Church? Where Do People Get Their Ideas of Church? Part 3 In my last two posts I began exploring various sources from which people get their ideas of what a church should be. These included: 1. Past experience of church 2. Pop culture 3. The news 4. A [Read More...]

Who are the Unreasonable People?

Daniel Epstein

A recent article in the New York Times highlighted people who are proudly unreasonable. No, not the Tea Partiers or the Wall Street Occupiers. These unreasonable folk are “entrepreneurs who want to change the world.” Why call them unreasonable? Because they are participants in the Unreasonable Institute of Boulder, Colorado. Co-founded by Daniel Epstein, this [Read More...]

Are You Satisfied? Really? Inspiration from The High Calling

Are You Satisfied? Really? Psalm 90:1-17 Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Psalm 90:14 If you’re like the average American, you are less satisfied today than you were a few years ago. In a Gallup poll taken earlier this year, people [Read More...]

Occupy Wall Street Protests Don’t Have a Song

Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City.

James C. McKinley, Jr. recently wrote a thought-provoking piece in the New York Times. In “At the Protests, the Message Lacks a Melody,” McKinley contrasts the current Occupy Wall Street protests with their ancestors. His article begins: “Every successful movement has a soundtrack,” the songwriter Tom Morello told reporters after he had tried to fire [Read More...]

Permission to Wake Up Your Soul

A man engaged with his art project at Laity Lodge

Bradley L. Moore is a Senior Vice President in a large, multinational corporation. He is also a fine writer whose work has been published in a variety of media, including The Chicago Sun Times and Christianity Today. Bradley is an editor and featured writer for The High Calling, a website devoted to Everyday Conversations About [Read More...]

Does Sex Ed Undermine Parental Rights?

From a newspaper ad in 1904

A fascinating, challenging op-ed piece in the New York Times. Here’s how the authors, Robert P. George and Melissa Moschella, both of Princeton University, begin: IMAGINE you have a 10- or 11-year-old child, just entering a public middle school. How would you feel if, as part of a class ostensibly about the risk of sexually [Read More...]

Where Do People Get Their Ideas of Church? Part 2

Part 4 of series: What is a Church? Where Do People Get Their Ideas of Church? Part 2 Yesterday I began considering the sources of people’s ideas about church. To review, here are my first two points: 1. People get their ideas of church from their past experience of church. 2. People get their ideas [Read More...]

Where Do People Get Their Ideas of Church? Part 1

Da Vinci Code Cover

Part 3 of series: What is a Church? Where Do People Get Their Ideas of Church? Part 1 People today have a wide variety of ideas about what a church should be. If you ask a dozen people you’d probably get a dozen different answers. One of my favorite answers to the “What is a [Read More...]

Why Write This Series on “What is a Church?”?

Part 2 of series: What is a Church? Why Write This Series on “What is a Church?”? This is the second post in a series I’m calling: What is a Church? Biblical Basics for Christian Community. Yesterday, I explained that I’m planning to answer this question from a biblical point of view, though without denying [Read More...]

Informative Review of Three Recent Books About the Brain


The brain is getting plenty of attention these days. Based on scientific study of the brain, all sorts of people are weighing in on how the brain thinks and the implications for individuals, relationships, and culture. If you’re not a specialist, and if you don’t have time to read extensively in the “brain” literature, it’s [Read More...]