Selling Vacuums, Giving Away Parting Gifts, and Pantomiming The Gospel

vacuum

A book by a Catholic priest who journeyed to Tanzania to bring the gospel to the Masai gave me a new way to think about evangelism that goes beyond the models I've seen in action. These models have borne a passing resemblance to either 1950's door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales, game shows featuring lovely parting gifts, or encoded Christian mime performances.Father Vincent J. Donavan journeyed to Tanzania to during the 1960's and 1970's bring the gospel to the Masai people. Encamped in the … [Read more...]

Christian Seders?

seder table

Should Christians participate in church-run Seders?After all, this command to retell and relive via ritual meal celebrating God's deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt was given to the Jewish people (click here, here, and here). Yet it has become popular in both liturgical and low-church circles to incorporate a Christian version of the Seder meal into Holy Week observance. Many other congregations will invite ministries involved in doing Jewish outreach to come and do a "seder … [Read more...]

The Upside Of Nepotism?

parent child

So much of my Christian journey has been marked by the way those in power have used their social privilege to either protect themselves or promote those in their families or their inner circles. I've written about nepotism in this space before. Others (click here and here) have raised lots of important questions about nepotism and related forms of cronyism in the church. These practices live directly at the intersection of a leaders' joy in seeing his or her children/pals following the Lord and t … [Read more...]

ATI Regrets And The Need For Holy Anger

Study of Study

When you're a parent terrified by the fact that your newborn didn't come complete with an owner's manual, you may be easy prey for a door-to-door salesman who magically appears at your house one day with one just for you. When you sign on the dotted line, desperate for a quick fix, it may take years to discover you've sold your family into spiritual slavery. That book of answers you bought are really some bloviator's opinions packaged as facts. Only your holy anger can set you free.When your … [Read more...]

Transforming The Literal Into *POOF* The Spiritual

One of my favorite podcasts is Phil Vischer's rollicking foray into pop culture and the state of affairs in the Evangelical church. Regular cohosts actress Christian Taylor and pastor/author Skye Jethani are joined (and sometimes replaced) by a variety of interesting guests. This week's guest, Dr. Gary Burge, tackled the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which can be summed up in the question, "Whose land is it anyway?".I was tempted to skip this week's podcast, as I am familiar with Burge's p … [Read more...]

Practicing Privilege In The Local Church

My friend B. had been a pastor for years before he stepped into the leadership of a parachurch ministry. During his work week, he worked and prayed with dozens of pastors and church leaders interested in transforming their congregations and communities. But on Sundays, he and his wife were invisible members of their own home church."It's not because I'm burned out from my work," he explained. "If anything, the work has energized me. I've offered to serve the pastoral staff in whatever way … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / Listening To Millennials And Visa Versa

I've written a lot about the relationship between those at or beyond midlife with the local church. (Click here, here, here and here.) We Boomers and older Gen X'ers have shaped modern evangelical church culture. And many of us have grown increasingly disenfranchised from the very subculture we helped to create. While some have found fresh meaning and energy to serve in their second adulthood, nearly half of those who responded to an informal survey I ran on this blog a little over a year ago … [Read more...]


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