Peace is not pragmatic. It’s not a strategy or procedure put into effect in order to engineer a desired outcome. Peace is the outcome. I’m slow-reading Stanley Hauerwas’ book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer called Performing the Faith. The introduction begins with this long quote from Bonhoeffer. He was writing these notes and lectures in Germany during the rise to power of the National Socialists. The NS party members were subverting norms, scapegoating minorities, and pushing the boundaries of German culture to… Read more

I confess that I’ve been a terrible blogger lately. I confess that I have started and then not finished at least three dozen blog posts in the past few months. Usually  I write to explore my own thoughts. Lately, however, I don’t seem to finish articles the way I used to. I confess that the reason I don’t finish many articles, is that I’m afraid to post what I’m thinking. I’m afraid it will hurt people close to me. I’m… Read more

I was nineteen years old when I showed up to work for a summer at Kanakuk camp outside of Branson, MO. I had my dates wrong, and was a full day early. So one of my supervisors, Doug Goodwin, let me tag along with him on his 24 hour break. Before we left he was clearing off his desk and searching for an envelope containing $150 in petty cash. He needed the money to buy supplies for an upcoming camp… Read more

I took my oldest son to buy his first suit last night. His eighth grade graduation is coming up, and his school does a few dressy events. He rejects any kind of clothes shopping as a matter or course, but he was a pretty good sport. As I stood behind him at the mirror, decked out in his entire outfit, now nearly as tall as me, strong and kind, full of life and changing–changing so very fast–I had to choke… Read more

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

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