How does the word Christian modify the word Leader?

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Nearly every pastor or ministry leader I’ve ever met operates under the same underlying assumption that their main job is to make their church or ministry grow. This assumption is typically not a conscious thought, although it is in many cases. The assumption is highly operative, and uncritically accepted, even though if you asked them about [Read More...]

Why the “Big Drop in Share of Americans Calling Themselves Christian” Isn’t Our Problem


The New York Times reported earlier this week on the sharp decline in the number of Americans who self-identify as Christians. I’m guessing Christians will likely blame this on shifting cultural values or some other outside phenomenon. As for my take, I think the church should probably be able to manage faithfulness with or without cultural approval. [Read More...]

Monday Morning Confessional: Frederick Buechner, and Listening to Your Life


I confess that a friend of mine just picked up Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner, and sent me a pic that reminded me of this great little devotional book. I’m grateful for the reminder. There were a couple of years in the late 90s, while I was traveling with Satellite Soul, that this [Read More...]

Nazarene Controversy Highlighted in The Daily Beast: Here’s My Take…


I’m just going to give you my take on this, then link back to the article… Karl W. Giberson is serious scholar, and a former faculty member at Eastern Nazarene College. Giberson says Oord is the victim of a fundamentalists witch hunt. He says, “The controversy at NNU is one battle in the long war [Read More...]

Earthday: Why Christians are so Bad on the Environment

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Do you know what scientists commonly call ecological studies? Dissipation studies: Terrestrial field dissipation studies, soil dissipation studies, habitat dissipation studies, natural resource dissipation studies, petroleum, forest, reef, fisheries dissipation studies… The Catholic theologian Ronald Rolheiser says that to be human is to live with an excess of desire. “Desire is always stronger than satisfaction,” [Read More...]

New Shrink Video Releases Today: A Creative Introduction

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Author readings are all over, but I’ve never seen an author take any care with the medium–make any kind of creative investment in them. I have long thought author reading videos could have value beyond their use as a promotional tool. They could exist as a creative way to experience the author’s voice first [Read More...]

Everyday Sundays: Frederick Buechner on Why the Subdued Sundays of Eastertide are So Important


In his sermon “The Secret in the Dark,” Frederick Buechner wonders at why in the four gospels, when they get to the most important part of the story (resurrection), the gospel writers tell it in whispers–no choir of angels, no explosion of light, not a soul was there to witness it. “It was the most [Read More...]

3 Myths About Calling: Why RELEVANT’s Take Falls Short


Let me start by confessing a pet peeve: I believe that the combined Jewish and Christian traditions express the most profound wisdom ever contemplated by human beings. This stuff is deep, and you really shouldn’t handle it with marketing in mind. So when someone—usually a pastor-slash-writer-slash-musician with an appealing headshot and a self-composed bio—attempts to [Read More...]

Walter Brueggemann’s Blurb for my book Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture


It was great to finally meet one of my heroes face to face yesterday. Walter Brueggemann’s work has meant a great deal to me over the years. His book The Prophetic Imagination continues to be a source of guidance and inspiration for my life and ministry. When I was working on Shrink, I relied heavily [Read More...]

Walter Brueggemann at Faith & Culture Conference 2015 – Lecture 01 Detailed Notes


The Redemption Church staff & friends are in St. Joseph, MO today, listening to Walter Brueggemann talk about The Prophetic Imagination. Here’s a set of my notes from the first lecture he gave. CONTEXT We live in in the midst/under the rule of Empire Totalism: totally contained socio economic political educational social system outside of [Read More...]