The Grinch @ Seminary

grinchheart

This quarter at Northern Seminary, I took a class for which I had low enthusiasm before I walked in the door back in September. In fact, the words "low enthusiasm" might be overstating it a bit. If it hadn't been required to complete my degree, I would have probably found a way to avoid taking this course altogether.However, you can't opt out of core theology courses when you are enrolled in seminary.I'm not anti-theology. I noted in my first paper for my Theology I course this quarter … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage – Part 3

chair luggage

"How are you doing?" There's a lot of different ways in which those words can be voiced ranging from a casual aside with no desire for an answer to the way the pastor of the church we'd attended for a year and a half asked it of me. It sounded as though he really wanted to know because he really cared about the state of my soul.I hesitated for a moment. Could I trust him? I'd worked hard with the help of the Holy Spirit using the gfits and training of an excellent counselor to unpack some of … [Read more...]

The Paradox Of Retreat

1 siena sign

In military terms, a retreat is the decision for an army to withdraw because they're losing a battle. In Evangelical church circles, a retreat is a weekend packed to the rafters with activity, teaching and relationship-building.Jesus often retreated from the go-go-go of his ministry to seek his Father in solitude. Solitude was the life-giving marrow of his ministry as the Spirit shaping his communion with the Father. His withdrawl into retreat was an advance for him. Solitude was not about … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 2

louis v

If you attended a church service this weekend, you may have been sitting in a roomful of suitcases. There's no way to tell what percentage of people in a given congregation are schlepping baggage from a previous negative church experience, but I suspect the numbers would startle even veteran church leaders. Bad baggage is often eagerly recycled by leaders. This may serve the needs of the organization. It may even be called good pastoral care by some leaders, who rationalize that putting hurting … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 1

$_57

I've heard via the always-reliable Interwebz that as many as 7,000 people have left Mars Hill Church in Seattle in recent months. The implosion in a church doesn't have to be as painfully dramatic and public as the one in Seattle for a person to leave a broken congregation with a lovely parting gift: at least one piece of new baggage.What's inside that baggage? Hurt, anger, sadness, disillusionment, grief, damaged trust, traumatized faith, and fractured relationships. And you know what? … [Read more...]

Is God A Mafia Boss Or Is God Good? (Part 3)

Finger of God

Dr. Ingrid Faro has sparked some great discussion here at Pilgrim's Road Trip with her recent posts exploring the character of God in light of the evil that seems to be flourishing all around us. I am grateful for her carefully-crafted thoughts on this topic, as well as the great questions asked by many commenters who've weighed in on her previous two posts. (Click here to read Part 1; click here to read Part 2.)These posts are by no means an exhaustive exploration of the subject, but both … [Read more...]

To Have and to Hold, In Hardship and Unhappiness

Nearly 35 years into my marriage to Bill, our shared commitment to the Lord has given us a life together that has been formed by Scripture. But our story at this point is more about the existential ache found in the book of Ecclesiastes than the youthful passion in the Song of Solomon. The Bible's instructions to husbands and wives about obeying, serving and submitting to one another do not come with an iron-clad guarantee of happiness, though I daresay a number of people leading Christian … [Read more...]


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