When You Say The Church Has Replaced Israel…

When I used to hear Christian speakers glibly toss out statements like, "The Church has replaced Israel" as if they were chucking an empty fast food bag into the trash, I would inwardly cringe, but didn't always have the opportunity to challenge the speaker. The last time I checked,  leaping onto a chair in the middle of a church service,  calling a foul and diving into a theological debate was not socially acceptable. I'm glad to know that Jesus himself challenged a bad idea or two during his m … [Read more...]

Out To The Margins: Mona Boelens

MTV's Teen Mom ran for four seasons, was known for hyped-for-the-camera drama, occasional off-camera tabloid headlines featuring some of the program's stars, and for giving some of the show's viewers a wake-up call salacious glimpse at what young women and men (and their babies) face when they become parents too soon. The reality show was not a public service announcement, however. The key piece of reality is that the show was created as entertainment, sold to advertisers and consumed by … [Read more...]

Exodus International And The Opportunity to Look Ourselves In The Mirror

"Heterosexuality will not get you into heaven." – Pastor Tim Keller (HT Katelyn Beaty) Yesterday's apology from Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, followed by the announcement that the organization would shut down, has sparked emotional reaction from many quarters. Google the story if you're looking for a sampling of what people are saying today.I don't want to add lots more words to this conversation, but I do want to make a few quick observations for those of us " … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / Regret

Though the surfacing of regret is certainly not limited to one particular age group, it is a mile marker that often signals that we’ve passed a spiritual halfway point in our life’s one-way journey and, to hijack a familiar metaphor, there really are no U-turns allowed.Those who follow Christ trust that his life, death and resurrection saves us from our sins—the ultimate U-turn, if you will—but he often uses the consequences of those sins as refining tools in our lives. A life lived under tho … [Read more...]

Don’t Let Women’s Ministry Turn People Into Projects

When it comes to guidance for mentoring relationships among Christian women, it seems there's only one place to go: Titus 2.I wonder if the Apostle Paul imagined his instructions on transmitting faith to the next generation would become a checklist for church mentorship in the 21st-century, as women try to teach others "to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word … [Read more...]

Does God Talk To Us? (“What Do I Really Believe?” Series)

One of the benefits of being a member of an online community like Patheos is that it gives us a chance to exchange ideas about faith, culture and more. Though most of us write collegially, side-by-virtual-side, we have occasional opportunities to interact with one another and with the diverse readers who visit the site. Patheos blogger have been invited to share our responses to one or any of the questions on this month's "What Do I Really Believe?" landing page.My answer to the question … [Read more...]

When Your Church Has Been Rocked By Scandal – Stay Or Go?

Should you stay or should you go?Besides being a riff on the title of one of the great pop-punk songs of the early 1980's, it is a question with which congregants whose leaders have had moral failures by their leaders must grapple. Whether it is the stuff that grabs headlines (like the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit or the sexual misconduct charges filed against leaders Virginia's  Richmond Outreach Center) or the kinds of things that spur gossip in a local community (a pastor's affair w … [Read more...]