If I could require every Christian to read one book about the gospel, the church and what it means to be a Christian, it would be Resident Aliens. This spiritual classic by Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon has become one of the central texts for my life as a disciple and as a pastor. I teach adjunct at a local seminary and usually try to find a way to assign this as a text for pretty much any class I… Read more

“My message to lawmakers in Congress is: Please! Take action. Ideas are great. Ideas are wonderful, and they help you get re-elected and everything. But what’s more important is actual action, and pertinent action that results in saving thousands of children’s lives … We can say, yes, we’re going to do all these things… thoughts and prayers. What we need more than that is action. Please! This is the eighteenth one [school shooting] this year. That’s unacceptable! We’re children. You… Read more

“Each of us aches for significance, meaning, uniqueness, preciousness, immortality, and great love and great beauty in our lives. This yearning is congenital and incurable. We are as Plato said, fired into life with this divine restlessness in us. But our madness comes… when the pressure for a cure for our mortality and insignificance gets too great and we fabricate the vital lie. We try, through our own efforts, to create significance, uniqueness, and immortality for ourselves. In the Protestant… Read more

I grew up among Southern Baptists who taught me that the main thing prophets did was predict the future. It took Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination to teach me how the scriptures view the prophets. Brueggemann taught me that the prophet’s main job is not to tell fortunes. The prophet’s first task is to tell the truth about the way things are right now. They are supposed to accurately portray the events of the day, and point out the obvious fact that if… Read more

For five or six years now we’ve been working this metaphor at my church. We’re trying to shape an imagination for Advent as opposed to American Christmas. It’s the Advent Decrescendo. I hope you’ll take a moment and watch this short video. It’s the best way I know to explain what we’re trying to do during the season of Advent. Plus there’s some beauty to it. Here’s how we do it. Read more

From now on, the mere mention the names Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Al Franken, Glen Thrush, and Charlie Rose will summon thoughts of seedy sexual misconduct. Not that we needed more evidence that human sexuality is broken in heart-wrenching ways, but the last few weeks have been eye-opening to say the least. It feels like things have changed. We’re told that police brutality has always existed, it’s just now we’re able to see smart phone… Read more

I’ve been using Stanley Hauerwas’ Prayers Plainly Spoken to guide me every morning for the past few weeks. This one seems appropriate today. Sovereign LORD, foolish we are, believing that we can rule ourselves by selecting this or that person to rule over us. We are at it again. Help us not to think it more significant than it is, but also give us and those we elect enough wisdom to acknowledge our follies. Help us laugh at ourselves, for… Read more

A good biography is a great way to study history. I’ve almost always got a biography either in my hands or in the upcoming stack. I thought I’d publish a list of my 25 favorites from the past few years. The list draws from a wide range of types of people and time periods. I tried to just make a few comments about each of the books, and a bit about what I remember learning. One confession: As I look… Read more

One of the things I loved about Rich Mullins was the way he refused to buy into his own hype. Rich was really clear about the fact that he was an entertainer and a musician (not a pastor or missionary). I think he had to make the distinction for his own integrity’s sake. His job was to write and play music for the entertainment of anyone who wanted to listen. If he could trick them into loving and worshipping God in the process that… Read more

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