My duty to the Bible’s living interpretive tradition

I had a good discussion yesterday with my pastor covenant group about our discernment process as a church in the wake of the Frank Schaefer trial and controversy. I know that I got a little hot-headed in the debate online so I wanted to offer more circumspect reflections. I believe that each disciple of Jesus Christ not only has the right but actually the duty to contribute to the ongoing living interpretive tradition of our faith. Some Christians think that the Bible doesn't require any … [Read more...]

Rick Joyner, Larry Huch, and false prophecy

There's one thing that makes me madder at God than anything else. It's actually not when inexplicable tragedies happen or when people who prayed their hearts out lose their loved ones to diseases. Those things suck and are horrible. But what really threatens my faith more than anything is when well-meaning Christians who have devoted themselves to years of fasting and prayer end up making prophetic declarations that are monstrously at odds with the character of the God I have come to know. How … [Read more...]

It just doesn’t work: concern trolling and public shaming

I got concern-trolled on my Jesus juke blog post yesterday by an anonymous commenter who called him/herself a "concerned parishioner." I think the intent was to make me think it was someone from my church, but people from my church know that I solicit and actually treasure their constructive criticism. I can sometimes be a pretty sarcastic, cynical person, but this person's sarcasm was dripping like a Niagara Falls of vinegar. And what made me sad was to think of how ineffective this "concerned" … [Read more...]

#WildGoose13: Why my impossible music genre doesn’t work

I'm not trying to throw a pity party, but yesterday was a tough day for me. When I arrived at the venue where I was playing, the sound guy said there was a problem and he wasn't sure what to do because NPR was interviewing someone next door at the same time as my set so they would have to turn me way down. Then when I got up on stage, there was a problem with the sound that took fifteen minutes to resolve. Because of the delayed start, the stage manager walked around while I was in the middle of … [Read more...]

How in charge is God when tragedy strikes?

I knew it was coming: the Piper tweet, this time quoting Job in response to the Oklahoma tornado. As the dean of the neo-Calvinist movement, John Piper likes to push the envelope with his commentary on God's role in natural disasters. He did it about a year ago when tornadoes hit the midwest. In 2007 after the Minneapolis bridge collapsed, he wrote that he and his daughter discussed how God must have done it so the people of Minneapolis would fear Him because our sin against God is "an outrage … [Read more...]

Scandal vs. Pentecost

I preached this past weekend on two songs that seem to be vying for the attention of American Christians: the song of scandal that dominates our 24 hour news cycle, and the song of Pentecost through which the Holy Spirit uses God's people to testify to His deeds of power. The reason that we can't hear the song of Pentecost is because we're so thoroughly immersed in the song of scandal. Think about where your mind was this past week and what you watched and shared on social media. Were you … [Read more...]

Jesus inside the beltway: love creates the space for truth

Yesterday, the young clergy leadership forum heard from Bill Mefford, the GBCS point person for immigration reform and other controversial causes. Bill shared with us that he actually spent most of his career as a local pastor to people in the rural midwest and Texas who would disagree with most of the things he's advocating now. He said the most solid foundation for being able to speak prophetic Biblical truths in your congregation is for people to know that you love them. They can't get that … [Read more...]

Jesus inside the beltway: “Why are you here?”

I am attending the young clergy leadership forum (#yclf on twitter) with the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) in Washington, DC. This is the agency that lobbies the federal government on behalf of the United Methodist Church according to the agenda set forth every four years by our General Conference. I decided I would blog about my experience in a series called "Jesus inside the beltway." The first question it seems important to ask is why they exist. … [Read more...]

Why you need to listen to Brian Zahnd

I'm about to leave on a youth retreat so I don't have time for a full post on this, but Brian Zahnd's Friday night and Sunday sermons from last weekend blew my mind. He is the pastor of non-denominational Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, MO and a leader in the exciting movement among evangelical churches to embrace the sacramental and spiritual practices of the ancient church. In his Friday sermon "Ring them bells," he talks about the way that church bells used to serve as the city's call to … [Read more...]

Prophecy and pastoral application

Last week, I had some very strange encounters with God that I interpreted with too much confidence too quickly, since it was the first time I had received experiences of this kind. I wrote a really long strange blog post that was initially intended to be a low-key meditation on the way that American Christians often confuse the fear of the Lord with the fear that has to do with punishment. I will be sharing bite-sized pieces from that strange outpouring in the future. I also wrote some strange, … [Read more...]


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