God, No! Thoughts About Magic and Christianity

A recent article in Religion News Service got me thinking about magic and Christianity. “Magicians say their craft makes them see faith as just hocus-pocus” begins by noting the recently published book by famed magician, Penn Jillette. In God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, Jillette uses his platform [Read More…]

A Presbyterian Church Makes the New York Times and There’s No Scandal!

I was surprised and pleased to see that a Presbyterian Church made it into the New York Times today. No, there is no scandal. Nothing about declining membership or divisive church politics. None of that. The headline I read in the morning was “Millenials in Church – Up Close.” The online edition is called “A [Read More…]

What Makes a Great Place to Work?

A recent article in USA Today asks and then answers the question: What makes a place to work a great place to work? The answer to this question comes from aptly named institute, The Great Place to Work Institute.This institute has identified three crucial factors that make a workplace great: Firms that rank high on [Read More…]

I Used to Own One of Chevrolet’s Biggest Flops!

A recent article in USA Today celebrates the 100-year birthday of Chevrolet. It contains a few surprises. For example, did you know that the first Chevy Suburban was sold in 1935? That makes Suburban the “longest-lived automotive nameplate in continual use.” What I found most ironic, however, was the list of Chevy’s biggest losers. According [Read More…]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 4

Part 9 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 4 In yesterday’s post, I explained that the earliest Christian usage of the word ekklesia, which is normally translated as “church” in English Bibles, referred to an actual gathering of believers in Jesus. The ekklesia in Thessalonica didn’t exist, [Read More…]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 3

Part 8 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 3 In my last two posts, I suggested that the Greek word ekklesia, which is usually translated as “church” in our English New Testaments, did not have the religious overtones we naturally hear when “church” is spoken. Because of [Read More…]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 2

Part 7 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 2 In my last post, I argued something fairly commonplace: that the word “church,” understood theologically, does not refer to a building but to the congregation who uses it. This is not news, though it deserves to be repeated. [Read More…]

Here’s an Experiment: Frame Your Day With God’s Love and Faithfulness

Here’s an Experiment: Frame Your Day With God’s Love and Faithfulness Psalm 92:1-15 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, Psalm 92:2 I wonder what would happen if you were to take Psalm 92:2 very literally. What difference might it make in your life if the [Read More…]

“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!

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?

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

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?

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…]


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