What Kind Of Evangelical Am I?


(This post is part of the Patheos "Why I Am Still An Evangelical" conversation.)My four decades in the Evangelical world has been a pilgrim's road trip. I came to faith in 1974 in the waning days of the Jesus Movement, and have since swum laps in a variety of different streams within Evangelicalism: fundamentalist, second- and third-wave Charismatic, conservative and progressive non-denominational congregations, house churches, Messianic Jewish congregations*, and local churches with a … [Read more...]

How Do You Spend Your Social Capital At Church?


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...]

Bread, Circuses, and Skits


When it comes to event planning, I am a person who loves a themed event. Think a pirate party for a five year-old boy, complete with pirate-themed games, a cake that looks like a ship, and eye patches for all the mateys.My love of themed-events played well when I was planning and producing church services. If you gave me a sermon series topic, I'd look for songs, videos, readings and other service elements that supported the theme. Since the sermon is the main course in most Evangelical … [Read more...]

When The Heart Waits: Chapter 5


Sue Monk Kidd tackled midlife transition in her 1990 classic When The Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions. I'm blogging my way through the book. (Click here to read previous installments in this series.) Monk Kidd's gentle observations have been helpful to many facing their own emotional and spiritual changes at this life stage.Chapter 5 is entitled "Letting Go"*. She notes most of us enter transition with a good measure of ambivalence, citing the process of … [Read more...]

How’s Your Soul? Check Your Facebook Feed.


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...]

Review: The Road To Character

road to character

My general belief is that we’ve accidentally left this moral tradition behind. Over the last several decades, we’ve lost this language, this way of organizing life. We’re not bad. But we are morally inarticulate. We’re not more selfish or venal than people in other times, but we’ve lost the understanding of how character is built. – David Brooks If I could shove one book into the hands of most everyone I know and demand they read it, it would be NY Times columnist and pundit David Brooks' The Ro … [Read more...]

Blogging Truth To Power

My husband and I once belonged to a congregation where leaders took their cues from theShepherding Movement. Emphasizing allegiance and church unity, they expected members to submit to their authority in all matters. One of their favorite mantras came from 1 Corinthians, using the King James Version for extra emphasis: Touch not God’s anointed. I was taught that to question a leader was to defy God himself. I was a naive sheep in this flock until I stumbled upon the elaborate efforts to keep hi … [Read more...]