June 15, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a United Methodist layperson. Somewhere along the way in his spiritual journey he was taught the interpretation of Romans 13 that he used to justify the new ICE policy that separates immigrant children from their parents and criminalizes all immigrants without visas, including refugees seeking political asylum who do everything by the book. Christians across the theological spectrum have recoiled from Sessions’ use of scripture, but his interpretation is entirely consistent with the law and… Read more

June 12, 2018

Carolyn Moore is probably my favorite conservative United Methodist leader. What I see in her is a genuine thirst for Christ that is absent of the scorn that I encounter too often on the other side (and probably exhibit too often myself). Carolyn put out a challenge for us to have a better, more Spirit-seeking conversation within United Methodism as part of discerning our way forward. She laid out a framework for how such a conversation could be shaped. Here… Read more

June 8, 2018

The Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church has a practice each annual conference of giving Wesley awards (gold-spray-painted John Wesley bobble-heads) to highlight innovative ministries in the conference. I think it’s a great practice because it keeps the morale high at our annual gathering in a time when United Methodism is in turmoil. Earlier this spring, I was very excited about a campaign against sexual violence at Tulane that members of NOLA Wesley had a leadership role in. I… Read more

June 1, 2018

Ivanka Trump posted this photo with her son on Twitter because she’s a mom and she loves her son. The response from the Internet has been vicious with people calling her “tone-deaf” and Samantha Bee saying that she was a “feckless c***” since one trending story recently has talked about immigrant mothers are being separated from their children. When Samantha Bee got in trouble for what she said, Twitter filled up with pictures of Donald Trump supporters wearing t-shirts calling… Read more

May 24, 2018

Today, the NFL announced that NFL teams will be fined if their players kneel for the National Anthem. It got me thinking about the way the National Anthem has become the most important religious ceremony in our culture. It’s definitely more important than communion. How many churchgoers this fall will start checking their watches during communion if it runs too long because they’ve got to get home to attend the event they actually feel religious about on Sundays? I’m pretty… Read more

May 23, 2018

I’ve just been informed that the Patheos Evangelical channel has closed down the blog of evangelical whistleblower Warren Throckmorton, who was most renowned for his exposes on the plagiarism and abusive leadership of Mark Driscoll at the former Mars Hill Bible Church. Recently, Patheos Evangelical started hosting a blog for Mark Driscoll. It’s very hard not to see these events as interrelated. According to Throckmorton, the communication he received said that his blog no longer fit the “strategic objectives” of… Read more

May 19, 2018

In his sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invites all of us to “imagine a world where love is the way.” So I thought I would take a minute to do that. I will say that my first instinct sadly is to dismiss it as an overly flimsy concept reserved for a shallow Beatles song, a fake, feel-good, liberal “revolution.” But a world where love is the way is actually… Read more

May 17, 2018

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

May 16, 2018

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

May 15, 2018

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

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