It’s Ash Wednesday which means it’s time for that new practice that makes the liturgical purists cringe. I call it sidewalk ashes. Some people call it ashes to go, which is terribly corny marketing. I’ve seen some strong critiques of sidewalk ashes this year. I understand the rationale. We need to do liturgy as a community. We need to stop bending over backwards to make things so easy for people. I get it. And yet, the fact that sidewalk ashes… Read more

If you have not yet seen the interview with Iranian-American blogger Hoda Katebi on Chicago’s WGN that’s been making rounds on social media, you need to take a few minutes to check it out. It’s incredible. I’ve never heard anybody unpack complex sociopolitical analysis so quickly and graciously in a hostile interview environment. Apparently, WGN had invited her onto the air to try to co-opt her fashion talk for islamophobic propaganda, but she wasn’t having any of it. Basically, what… Read more

Ten years ago, in one of the earliest viral Youtube videos, comedian and vlogger Chris Crocker told the world to “leave Britney Spears alone!” I wish Chris Crocker would make another video for Jen Hatmaker, the target of choice for neo-Calvinist think-pieces. In the latest version, the Gospel Coalition deconstructs what it calls Jen Hatmaker’s “Deconversion Story” (you can google it since I’m not going to give them free clicks). Now I imagine the guy who wrote it is not… Read more

It’s taken me some time to respond to the latest attack on women in the ministry from John Piper. As a husband of the best pastor I know, it’s hard not to fantasize about enacting some form of physical violence on anyone who attacks her call. But that kind of chivalric bravado is part of the patriarchy that needs to be put to death on Jesus’ cross. I haven’t known exactly how to frame what I want to say. I… Read more

For the past several decades, it has been taboo for white people to make disparaging generalizations about people of other races. We call it racism when somebody does that. Because of this taboo, we have developed an elaborate system of innuendo and coded language to get around it. But the Trump age has shattered white taboo. The most recent example of this was the widespread defense of Trump’s categorization of African countries as shitholes. It was in this context that American… Read more

In the 1999 film Magnolia, Tom Cruise plays professional misogynist self-help guru Frank “T.J.” Mackie who makes retreats and videos under the brand “Seduce and Destroy” for men who need help getting laid. His presentations include titles like “How to Fake Like You are Nice and Caring.” I think it’s the best role Tom Cruise has ever played, and it’s a dark satirical commentary on the player culture he’s helped create as a male celebrity. Players are guys who know how to… Read more

This Sunday I will preach the kickoff sermon of the spring semester at my campus ministry. After meeting with our worship and spiritual formation student leaders, we determined that forgiveness was going to be the message topic. So I’ve started wrestling with how to talk about forgiveness And all I can think about is the 20 minute standing ovation that Memphis evangelical megachurch pastor Andy Savage received after admitting to a “sexual incident” (forced oral sex) with a youth when he was a… Read more

The folks at Desiring God decided to go edgy with a recent blog post where the author said among other things that “doubt” is “slander against God.” The author provided a set of proof-texts which “prove” that the more we mature in our Christian journey, the more “steadfast” and “confident” we’re supposed to be in our faith. He said it’s okay to have some doubts early on in your Christian journey as long as you grow out of them by… Read more

Donald Trump has a bigger nuclear button than Kim Jong Un. And our global politics continue to resemble an elementary school playground. I think I get what Trump is trying to do. He’s trying to convince the Chinese that he’s crazy enough to destroy the world so they’ll clamp down on North Korea as hard as he thinks they could when pushed into a corner. I’ll admit that his strategy might actually work. Even if it does, it’s not the… Read more

Well it’s time again to share the top blog posts over the past year. I’m going to leave out the ones that viralized because they were trashy click-bait. Before you read further, I need to give one last plug for our ministry fundraiser that ends tonight. I’ve said before that this blog is only possible because of my ministry context in an inclusive campus ministry where I am free to be completely myself. If my campus ministry runs out of… Read more

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