Selling short the Gospel

"These troubling economic times are an unprecedented opportunity for the Gospel."This sentiment bugs me. And I think I have figured out why.I have been hearing variations of these words for the last few months. It is true that as our culture's false gods of materialism, greed and pride are being exposed as modern-era golden calves, many people are asking different questions about God and life than they may have asked before. The recession (which appears likely to be headed into a full-scale … [Read more...]

A sweet little story

I'd been driving around with the box for the last few days. It was a gray shoebox, imprinted with wedding words on the cover, and decorated with a sheer white wire ribbon. "Can you be there at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and give this box to her?"I assured the focused young man that I was on mission. I'd be there.The drop point was a deserted dog park near the Lake Michigan shore. I was one link in a day-long scavenger hunt chain that would lead to his marriage proposal, stop number two on a journey … [Read more...]

Church 4 $ale

Once upon a time, a group of friends got together in a living room to pray, to sing, and to have a meal together. Their community was contagious. Others began to join them until the living room was packed to discomfort each time they gathered. Eventually, the friends realized they needed to rent a more public space for their gatherings.It was a Big Adventure with Jesus as they inhabit the auditorium, 3 classrooms and a hallway (for the nursery) at the local junior high school. The congregation … [Read more...]

Which kind(s) of skeptic are you?

A couple of years ago, I was contracted to write a book which would be a part of a series targeted at skeptics. My subject matter was the church; the book's title is The Church For Skeptics: A Conversation For Thinking People. The publishing biz is going through the same painful contractions the rest of the economy is experiencing. As a result, this book has had quite a journey on its way to being born.The wait continues as the book's story has taken a new, promising turn in recent weeks.The … [Read more...]

Wall fall down

Though I'm fighting a serious case of respiratory illness, I wanted to share one of the most profound images of our recent trip to Israel. Just a few hours after we landed in Israel, Bill and I had made our way to the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. We separated, as men and women have separate areas in which they're asked to come to the wall, and spent time in prayer and lots of observation. Orthodox Jews predominated the crowds, but there were a number of other gapers and seekers … [Read more...]

Making a mess of worship

"When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them."- Luke 7:37-38Her passion was her identity, wasn't it?She'd lived a "sinful life". The wild in those words is the passion of sadness, hunger and false, brief intimacies. Her identity … [Read more...]

Book review: Rex

Rex's life was marked by one tragic diagnosis after another: blind, autistic, a spectrum of other neurological/developmental problems. Left to raise her severely-disabled son after her husband left the family when Rex was still a baby, Cathleen Lewis became a ferocious advocate for her son. Her intense and complete commitment to caring for him allowed her to read the nuances of his limited communication. Her dedication and focus helped her discover a nearly-hidden entry ramp onto the single … [Read more...]