Why Do American Christians Trust the 2nd Amendment More Than the Sermon on the Mount?

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” (Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, 1964.) “You have heard that it was said,” Jesus once remarked, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I… Read more

The Troubling Theology of Donald Trump

Peter Wehner is a lifelong Republican who served in the Reagan White House and that of George H.W. Bush. In George W. Bush’s White House Wehner was deputy director of speech writing and later head of the office of strategic initiatives. He writes largely for The Weekly Standard and National Review. It’s safe to say the man’s conservative Republican bonafides are unimpeachable. This matters because Wehner scorched Donald Trump on theological grounds in an editorial in The New York Times yesterday, arguing that Trump’s guiding philosophy… Read more

10 Ways to Impact Culture that Don’t Involve Presidential Politics

Trump v. Clinton Got You Down? Here are 10 things you could do right now to have a significant impact on the culture around you, and none of them involve presidential politics. 1. Have your neighbors over for dinner If there is any hope that our global society will learn to live together in mutual respect and love, it will start at the neighborhood level. Learning that more unites us than divides us takes intentionality and time. So, sponsor a… Read more

Dr. Stuart Brown’s Seven Properties of Play

Summer break is here and it’s time to play, but do you really know how? Many adults, it seems, have distanced themselves from any kind of meaningful play. In his book Play, Dr. Stuart Brown says that when we lose are connection to play, we pay a high price. In fact, Brown says, “The opposite of play is not work—the opposite of play is depression.” (p.126) Brown lists what he calls the seven properties of play. When play is happening, all or… Read more

On the Importance of Disappointing Your Congregation: Now up at HuffPo

  A version of the recent post “On the Importance of Disappointing Your Congregation” is now up at The Huffington Post. I have been grateful as I watch the numbers grow on the original post here at Paperback Theology. I think the appetite for the ideas presented in this article should be seen as a willingness on the part of everyone involved in a church to renegotiate the terms of pastoring and of membership. If you are interested in reading more about how this can… Read more

MNU Chapel Sermon on Doubt:

A few weeks back I had the chance to speak at the MNU Chapel service. This is the video of the talk. It’s an exploration of the importance of doubt for the Christian life, and the human experience. I hope you’ll have a chance to watch… feel free to give me notes! [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/167315080[/vimeo]       Read more

Wendell Berry on the Trinity

It’s Trinity Sunday today, so here’s a quick quote from Wendell Berry and his great novel Jayber Crow. Berry is not only an author and poet, but a fairly sophisticated theologian. This quote is of Jayber reflecting upon what he learned about the nature of God, and how it fits with what he knew of the farm and of nature… of the actual experience of God here in the world. Like everything Berry writes, it is beautiful and smart. “From my… Read more

On The Importance Of Disappointing Your Congregation…

Question: How are you doing? Answer: busy… how many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that? As a pastor, Eugene Peterson is the voice in the back of my head. When I experience challenges in my vocation, my sense of direction, or conflict in my understanding of my role as a pastor, I usually hunt around for what Peterson would say to my situation. He nearly always has the wisdom I’m looking for, and he never lets… Read more

Building Tiny Houses For Homeless Veterans

This is a great story from Frank Morris at KCUR – Kansas City Public Radio – involving a Redemption Church member named White Hawk. I hope you’ll take time to read it, or listen to it. The story is about the effort to try and help get more of KC’s homeless off the streets by building tiny houses. The past few years have seen a lot of help come the way of folks who make their homes off the grid. I’m… Read more

Is Church Membership Still Relevant?

In a world in which a premium is placed on having what we want, when we want it… In a society in which we our constantly told that every need can be met, and every problem can be solved… In a culture in which we are bombarded with images of false perfection and, static idealism… In a community in which everyone is expected to remain part of a mobile workforce willing to forgo the growing of deep roots for fear of… Read more

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