The almost-apologies of Gothard, Phillips, Mahaney, Driscoll

gothard

Even when the truth comes out about a spiritual leader's secret life, the kinds of lawyered-up semi-confessions that they and their team use to respond to their victims, congregants and the general public seem to be missing a key element: true regret. Leaders like Doug Phillips or Bill Gothard engineer almost-apologies. As I've followed these cases over the last year or so, it strikes me that those apologies are loaded with exit-clause "buts" as a way to leave wiggle room for their defense if … [Read more...]

“The Church is the New Israel”: Ideas Have Consequences

olive tree

Professor Diane Leclerc of Northwest Nazarene University has a piece up on the Christianity Today website called "The Good News About Bad Churches". In it, she asks, "How, then, do we explain the seeming contradiction between what we believe about the church and what we experience in the church? Is it wishful thinking to proclaim the church holy? Are pain and heartache just inevitable?"She goes on to express the tension that exists between that grateful, forgiven kingdom behavior that should … [Read more...]

President Obama’s Greatest Regret – And It Has Nothing To Do With Politics

IFONLY COVER

During his visit to Asia last week, a group of Malaysian school kids asked President Obama about his greatest regret. "I regret not having spent more time with my mother," Obama candidly told the students when asked about his life regrets. "Because she died early - she got cancer right around when she was my age, actually, she was just a year older than I am now - she died. It happened very fast, in about six months."Ann Dunham died from ovarian cancer in 1995 just 22 days shy of her 53rd … [Read more...]

Review: Found

found

One of my first experiences with a dark night of the soul period happened shortly after my second child was born. I didn't have post-partum depression. In many ways, I was energized by having two little ones under two. But I felt my spiritual life withering in the never-ending cycle of diapering, meal prep, and wrestling a baby and a toddler into burrito-like outfits all winter long just to go to the store to buy a gallon of milk. I'd been born again in an era of spiritual … [Read more...]

Bridging The Divide

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I used to cringe at the word "ecumenical". It smacked of engineered truces and kumbayah emotions. It conjured images for me of 1960's World Council of Churches meetings and "So a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar" jokes - only the jokes never seemed to have a good punchline since everyone involved in ecumenical dialogue seemed to take themselves as seriously as a heart attack.I much preferred conversations about unity to ecumenism talk because it took me right to Jesus' final prayer for … [Read more...]

The Festival of Faith and Writing 2014

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"If you find the right word, it paints a thousand pictures." - Richard Foster, from his session entitled "The Humiliation of the Word in our Day" at Calvin College's Festival of Faith and Writing.I heard dozens of "right words" during the last few days. Some of them came from speakers like Anne Lamott, Richard Foster, Luci Shaw, Bret Lott, Neil Plantinga, Edward Gilbreath, Marlena Graves, Al Hsu and Helen Lee. Even that one session - and there's always one that hits an off-note at an event … [Read more...]

Me ‘n N.T. (Wright)

PFG

Part of the delight of my seminary experience so far (I've completed two classes and am enrolled in a church history course this quarter) has been gaining new thinking partners. The promise that seminary would introduce me to new thinking partners was alluring bait for me when I first spoke with an admissions officer at the school last summer. So far, the classroom has indeed fulfilled that promise.Some of those new thinking partners have been other students. It's a rush to be in a room full … [Read more...]


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