I am not a fan of President Donald Trump. I was annoyed when he was just another blowhard trying to stay in the news by playing politics. I was worried when he became a viable candidate. I’m deeply troubled by him as president. I’m obviously not alone. Every week, there’s a new scandal. He possibly colluded with Russia. He paid a porn star to keep an affair quiet. His administration is ripping children from their parents’ arms at the border…. Read more

When my wife was pregnant with our son, people looked at my busy schedule and told me it would soon all change. At the time, I was working a full-time job and doing film reviews on the side each week. “Enjoy all those movies now,” they said. “Once that baby arrives, you’re going nowhere.” It’s the half-in-jest, half-serious warning that comes whenever someone has a kid. Get ready to give up your dreams, they say. It’s all worth it, because… Read more

I write a lot about my beliefs, to the point where I sometimes cringe at how assured and confident I seem when I look in old posts. But the truth is that the writer of these words doesn’t always feel as solid as he sounds, and mountain-moving faith is quickly replaced by that which aspires to being mustard seed-sized. I’ve called myself an “Occasional Atheist” for how quickly my faith can turn to doubt and unbelief. Doubt has been a… Read more

When I walked out of the theater after seeing “Saved!” 14 years ago, I was conflicted. I’d laughed quite a bit during Brian Dannelly’s satire of evangelical life, but it was often uncomfortable. Was Dannelly a Christian laughing at the extremes of his faith? Or were his attempts to find humor in American religion cynical and mean-spirited? As a rabidly Reformed twentysomething, could I be onboard with a movie that preached loving others without the disclaimer, “but, you know, sin… Read more

You will never be perfect. Stop clinging to that goal, because it’s not going to happen. Stop waiting for the perfect time, because it will never arrive. Stop beating yourself up for every mistake, thinking you’re above them, because you’re not. Perfection is unattainable. It will always slip through your fingers. When you meet one goal, another lies beyond it. The more light that shines on you, the more you’ll be aware how much you still need a bath. You… Read more

I’ve had people remark that I’m hard on Christians. Whether on this blog, on social media or in conversation, my harshest words are often for professing believers, while I tend to go easy on those who don’t share my beliefs. I’m not going to deny this — and no, I’m not going to use the excuse that “Jesus’ strongest rebukes were for the religious teachers of the day.” I’m not Jesus, and that statement both ignores Christ’s repeated calls to… Read more

Communion is sacred. It’s one of two ordinances that Jesus explicitly commanded his followers to observe, the other being baptism. It’s a time for the Body to corporately remember Christ’s sacrifice, consuming the bread and wine (or, if you’re Baptist, grape juice), and thinking on his body and blood, broken and spilled out on the cross. It’s a time of fellowship, reflection and prayer. It’s a hallmark of Christian life. I’ve participated in communion almost every month since I was… Read more

I am a product of Christian camp. When I was a kid, one of the highlights of my summer was loading up my stuff in the church van and visiting Michigan’s Lake Ann Baptist Camp (I believe it’s now just called Lake Ann Camp because “Baptist” raise eyebrows). Like most summer camps, it provided an excuse for a week of bog walks, campfires, early crushes and launches from The Blob. Because it was a Christian camp, it also means my… Read more

When it was alleged that Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, had counseled women to stay with their abusive husbands and forgive their rapists without going to the police, some were shocked that such teaching could come from Christian circles. When he was asked to resign from his position but still granted an honorary emeritus title, some were stunned that the church could be so tone deaf. (Update: As of May 30, Patterson has been fired and stripped of… Read more

Since its release 10 years ago, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” has been a punchline. The term “nuke the fridge” replaced “jump the shark” in the vernacular and jokes about a geriatric Indy abounded. It seemed director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford had lost their magic, turning a beloved franchise into a hodgepodge of bad CGI and Shia LaBeouf Tarzan swings. But here’s the thing: A decade ago, it was a different story. The film… Read more

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