Giving Thanks From The Valley Of The Shadow

If you have suffered a loss or have a fractured family, holidays like Thanksgiving can be more endurance test than blessing. Memories of happier times in the past and the nagging sense that most everyone you know and all those people you don't know but with whom you're connected on social media are experiencing #blissed #blessed #family #togetherness on the holiday. A few years ago in this piece for the Christianity Today Her.meneutics blog, I talked about the effect social media was having on t … [Read more...]

Making Space To Grieve 11/13

Pope Francis stated we may already be in a "piecemeal World War III" after last Friday's synchronized attacks in Paris. Certainly, ISIS and its spiritual confederates have declared war on all infidels in their sights - their own neighbors, both Muslim and not, as well as the the entire West. One commentator after another has emphasized that there's no foolproof way to prevent these attacks - not when a person is willing to strap on a suicide vest for the Cause.As initial shock and awe over … [Read more...]

The Jesus Movement’s Unintended Consequences: Those Campfire Praise Songs

When a renewal movement hits the church, things are bound to get messy. Some of the mess is the work of the Holy Spirit as he reanimates dry bones. Some of the mess comes when a bunch of broken human beings try to touch, help, hinder, or profit from the beautiful chaos. We're a generation removed from the Jesus Movement of the late 1960's. Poll after poll tells us that Evangelicalism, the primary beneficiary of this Movement, is having an identity crisis. Our children aren't sticking around in … [Read more...]

Regret and Re-Formation

I've been blogging for almost ten years, and I've shared pieces of my own good, bad (and occasionally excruciating) experiences with the church. I've wrestled with God over these experiences, and continue to journey on with him with a limp. One of the most gratifying things about writing online is I hear from fellow wrestlers. Some continue to gimp with Jesus as I do. Others have chosen to run in the opposite direction. I recently heard from someone who fled the fundamentalism of his childhood. … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Reformation

Martin Luther had some serious chutzpah.Though his well-documented anti-Semitism sowed some noxious weed-seed in both his theology and throughout the Protestant church culture that emerged from the Reformation, I've always admired the stories of Luther's battles with unhealthy church culture. Luther was a monk, a Catholic church insider. He had every reason to support the status quo of the church at the time, which had grown into a bloated, powerful bureaucracy designed to benefit people in … [Read more...]

I Didn’t Think I Had A Book In Me, But I Did

Ten years ago, I imagined I had maybe 75% of a book in me. I'd written a few plays, lots of articles, and some curriculum. But a book was an entirely different animal, and I honestly didn't think I was quite ready to tackle 50,000 words on a specific theme at that point in my life.We'd relocated back "home" to the Chicago area in 2004 after nearly a decade living in Wisconsin. I'd taken a part-time job at a seminary bookstore and was using the rest of my work time doing what free-lance … [Read more...]

Fear Of Missing Out Isn’t Just A Season

We humans have always been prone to wonder: What if I’m left behind? What if I’m forgotten? What if I blew my only chance at success? Why is everyone else having such a great life? Now we have an easy descriptor for this below-the-surface panic that shapes our behavior, thoughts, and prayers. It’s Fear Of Missing Out, or FOMO. Now in my 50s, I’m more inclined than in earlier years to experience the rear-view-mirror corollary, which I’ve dubbed Fear Of Having Missed Out (FOMHO). We learn FOMO/FO … [Read more...]


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