The first time I walked a prayer labyrinth was at the Richmond Hill retreat center in Richmond, Virginia about 7 years ago, but walking and talking to God has been part of my spiritual life since the beginning. There’s something important about establishing specific physical places that are saturated with prayer over time, and there’s something mysterious and captivating about prayer labyrinths in particular. A labyrinth is the kind of invitation to the kingdom of God I’d like to offer…. Read more

It’s a question that’s been haunting me throughout my campus ministry career. What do I need to teach my students so that when they share their testimony, they can quote an adequate number of scriptures and check enough doctrinal boxes to prove that my ministry is sufficiently “biblical”? As a Christian pastor who cannot stop being evangelical, that’s my ingrained rubric for determining whether I’ve taught my students anything. And when my students talk in ways that don’t sound sufficiently… Read more

The recent massacre of dozens of Gaza protesters by Israeli snipers is a tremendous tragedy, just like the massacre of Israeli citizens by Palestinian suicide bombers during the second Intifada 17 years ago. For this massacre to take place literally at the same time that Christian fundamentalist end-times pastors John Hagee and Robert Jeffress were naming the US Embassy relocation to Jerusalem as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy is a hideous blasphemy against God and a confirmation of the failure… Read more

Today’s daily office epistle reading is part of the beautifully mystical letter to the Ephesians. In it, Paul talks about the “rich variety” of God’s wisdom. Here’s the passage in context: Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so… Read more

There are a number of verses in the Bible that summarize Christian salvation. Each of them frames it a little bit differently in terms of what is being accomplished and how. Today’s daily lectionary reading includes Hebrews 2:10: “It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” There’s something really beautiful about this salvation summary: bringing many children to glory…. Read more

An article came across my social media feed from the Durham Independent Weekly that two employees of the on-campus Joe Van Gogh cafe were fired without warning because Duke vice-president for student affairs Larry Moneta called up the owner of Joe Van Gogh to complain about a rap song that was being played when he entered the cafe. Moneta’s complaint was that the rap song had the N-word and the F-word. When he complained to the employees about it, they… Read more

Dear Wesleyan Covenant Association and other like-minded United Methodists, I made a fool out of myself this past weekend by comparing some of your leaders to Paige Patterson on Twitter, so I thought I would try writing an open letter instead (like I did once before). I often think I understand you because I grew up Southern Baptist and was an on-fire evangelical in college who proselytized fellow University of Virginia students with homemade salvation tracts on the sidewalk. Some… Read more

For those of you who have been following the drama around fundamentalist seminary president Paige Patterson’s counsel to women to stay in abusive marriages rather than divorce, I’m about to say something shocking. Paige Patterson is right. The Bible condemns divorce except in cases of adultery and a very specific form of abandonment; it does not give an out for domestic violence. In response to the Paige Patterson drama, nice guy fundamentalist Russell Moore tried his best to make the Bible allow… Read more

I have the pleasure of sharing a great conversation I had with my good friend David Finnegan-Hosey about mental health, faith, and his new book Christ on the Psych Ward. Definitely check out his book! He’s got a powerful story. MG: Maybe start off by telling me what happened in your life that allowed you to meet Jesus on the psych ward. DH: Sure. Well, in the summer of 2011, I had just finished my first year of seminary. It… Read more

Tim Keller wrote two books Prodigal God and Generous Justice that really shaped me and which I quoted extensively in my own book. Like me, he takes risks on Twitter to try to provoke people. Unlike me, he doesn’t get mostly ignored since he has a huge platform. His recent tweet about hell justified a clever response and since nobody retweeted me as usual, I figured I would make a blog post, so at least some people would see my clever… Read more

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