“Failure Is A Beautiful Gift Wrapped In An Ugly Package”

I remember seeing an announcement a few years ago for the first Epic Fail pastors gathering, and wondering if the idea was an Onion-inspired joke. No pastors I knew - and I knew a lot of them from my time working at Trinity International University and then serving a Chicago-area church networking ministry - wanted to apply the word "fail" to themselves or their efforts. The leaders gatherings and pastors conferences I've attended over the years were all about ministry success. In those … [Read more...]

Interview: Immigration (The Skeptic’s Guide Series)

Each Thursday, the mailman delivers a weekly shopper newspaper to us that includes a few local stories and a feature entitled "Sound Off". This space is devoted to printing the rants of commenters emboldened by the possibility of complete anonymity. (The paper instructs them to call their pearls of wisdom in to a phone number I suspect is connected to an answering machine in a broom closet.)As the numbers of unaccompanied minors from Central America who have made their way across this … [Read more...]

Sample: Teach Us To Want

We who follow Jesus are supposed to desire God, and in doing so, will ourselves brute-force-style out of desiring anything else this world has to offer. Our desires are wrong and carnal. At least, that's the message we think we're supposed to believe about the nature of our desire.My friend and fellow Her.meneutics contributor Jen Pollock Michel contends in her new book Teach Us To Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith (IVPress, 2014) that God has a different story to tell us about … [Read more...]

Interview: Love Letters From The Edge

I've been talking a lot about my book lately in this space. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share its message with you! However, this week, I'm looking forward to highlighting the writing of others.Today, I want to draw your attention to an excellent resource for those who've experienced trauma and/or loss. Love Letters From The Edge (free today only on Kindle!) is a beautifully-written series of letters that gives voice to experience of a trauma survivor - and the way in which God would … [Read more...]

Two Wildly Different, Strangely Similar Books Asking One Question: Who Am I?

It's complicated.No, that's not a Facebook update on my relationship status.* Recently, I wrote a short bit as part of a group post for the Her.meneutics blog about the need to embrace complexity in our understanding of maturing faith. There's complexity, then there's the borderlands just beyond complexity. Those lands have names like Chaos, Confusion, and "It's Complicated".Recently, I read two books that captured the complicated nature of being a Jewish person in an Evangelical … [Read more...]

Interview: Marlena Graves/A Beautiful Disaster

One of the first things that struck me about Marlena Graves' writing was how very grounded she was. She could provide great analysis about disturbing cultural trends while at the same time managing to point her readers in the direction of the Jesus she loved. We'd first connected several years ago via our contributions to Christianity Today's popular Her.meneutics blog. (Click here to have a peek at some of the topics Marlena has tackled for the site.) She has written about tough topics ranging … [Read more...]

Review: Broke

When I talk about money with others, the conversations tend to head in one of two directions: either toward Dave Ramsey-type personal finance issues or toward anxiety-tinged discussions of general economic trends, like dim job prospects for recent grads or the real estate meltdown.The conversation I wish I were having a little more frequently with others is the kind of conversation Caryn Rivadeneira is having with readers in her newest book, Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed About … [Read more...]