I Need A Hero

fierce convictions

Regular readers of this blog know that my family and I have experienced a number of nightmarish church experiences over the last three and a half decades. Not too long ago, someone asked me why I didn't just exit the Church at one particularly miserable juncture twenty or so years ago and just keep walking.My short answer came from Simon Peter's words to Jesus: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) Though I don't believe that showing up in a church for … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 2

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...]

Q & A With Author Amy Simpson

anxious

When we worry, we fight the constraints of the way we and our world were created. We try to enter a place we can't go. We try to control what we have not power over.  -- Amy SimpsonI play a little game with myself called "Worst Case Scenario". It requires me to apply equal measures of worry plus creativity to any given anxiety-producing situation in my life. It turns every stressor into an instant Y2K. My imagination goes into 7th gear trying to prepare for every possible unhappy ending to … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 1

Sam Surv

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...]

Kvelling In The Valley Of The Shadow

A couple of years ago, I joined a group of 4-8 women gathered on Monday mornings in an empty conference room in a suburban church to pray for their twenty-something adult children. The first morning we met, we introduced ourselves, briefly shared a bit about what each of our kids was doing post-college, and whether our offspring were still actively following the Jesus we'd each endeavored to share with them during their growing-up years. I jokingly dubbed us Moms In Touch 2.0 after the prayer … [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...]

Instagram Filters and The Eyes Of Faith

original image Balyeat's Coffee Shop, Van Wert, OH

After a lifetime of taking almost uniformly terrible pictures, modern technology in the form of camera on my phone plus the special effects magic of Instagram filters has allowed me to improve my game a bit:   While there is almost nothing a person with a good command of Photoshop can't do to an image to make it better, worse, older, younger, or different, my experiments with Instagram have given me a way at last to show what my heart sees … [Read more...]


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