How Do You Spend Your Social Capital At Church?

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How do you spend your social capital in your church? Have you ever stopped to take stock of your relationships and influence? I've found few with positional or social authority in a church ever consider what they possess. Instead, we count what we lack. I've known pastors who believe they're outsiders in their own church. I've known members of cliques in a congregation who are tone-deaf to the way in which their closed circle excludes others. Too many of us measure our network of relationships a … [Read more...]

How’s Your Soul? Check Your Facebook Feed.

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It's the day after a holiday weekend, and I check in on Facebook. I scroll through my newsfeed and see pictures of a gathering of some of my old friends at a beach house, baby pictures from a former coworker, blurry shots of smiling faces at a family reunion, and a few random selfies of people I barely know atttending a concert. Journalist H.L. Mencken once defined Puritanism as the suspicion that someone, somewhere is having a good time.Neither Puritans nor the rest of us need wonder if … [Read more...]

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

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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...]

#1, #2, Me, You

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When my husband came to faith in Jesus, he got the idea that really good Christians didn't poop. Or pee.You have to know he was 18 at the time. He was a member in good standing of his high school's audio-visual team, student council and chess club. I say this to highlight the fact that he was (and is) a very bright guy. He attended a Unitarian church for a while during his childhood, but had no first-hand experience with evangelicals to that point in his life. In fact, no one ever shared … [Read more...]

Burying My Alleluia?

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At church the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday, the Rector told us that this would be the last time we’d be saying the word “Alleluia” in any form as a congregation until Easter. He explained that this was another form of Lenten fasting. I did a little research, as this custom was unfamiliar to me. I learned many liturgical traditions “buried the alleluia” in some form during Lent.Jamie Martin-Currie offered a concise explanation of this practice: The omission of alleluia during Lent goes back … [Read more...]

When Renee Walks Away: On “De-conversion” Stories

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The latest "I once was 'found', then I headed for the exit door" tale making the rounds among the Christian internet world is that of George Perdikis, one of the founder of Christian pop band, the Newsboys. Whether it's stories like that of Bob Dylan, Frank Schaeffer, Katy Perry, or countless others over the last 2,000 years who have elected to walk away from orthodox Christianity, we who stay may have one or both of these responses: (1) We may chalk it up either apostasy or a belief that the le … [Read more...]

When The Heart Waits: Chapter 1

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How can the church better nurture spiritual growth for those in the second half of their lives? I contend that the way we answer that question may well change the way we disciple all of our members.Certainly cultivating the spiritual disciplines is part of that answer, but it's important to remember that those practices are not the goal. Christlike maturity is the goal - not just for individuals, but for all of us, corporately. Because we've often defaulted to talking about spiritual growth … [Read more...]


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