I was wrong about you, Beth Moore

Beth Moore, you surprised me.When I worked at a seminary bookstore, various women's ministry leaders from the local church community would call or come in to order curriculum for their study groups. It seemed as though about 90% of them ordered Beth Moore's materials. The Moore-orderers tended to be older, conservative women from churches that sponsored women's events titled with words like "tea", "spa", "scrapbook" and "chocolate" (sometimes in especially-trying-too-hard combinations like " … [Read more...]

Buh-buy, Siloed Spirituality

Though the suburban Chicago landscape is cluttered with far more strip malls than silos, it was the image of those tall, self-contained round storage units that seemed the best image to describe the problem. Get out of the city, drive through this region's farmland, and you'll see one or two silos marking most every agricultural property. Each self-contained silo holds similar contents, but none have any visual connection with the others around them.The Evangelical churches in our area were … [Read more...]

Praying for our friends

Bill and I were supposed to be in Jerusalem this week for a Caspari board meeting, but finances kept us here in the U.S. (He Skyped in to the meeting instead.)The headlines coming out of that region are stunning and sobering. The opining unending.The only thing I can do is pray. The words of my prayer feel like fragments, ephemeral mortar tucked with thousands of other last-ditch pleas between ancient stones. But standing in Jerusalem, it is easy to feel that the stones themselves, witnesses … [Read more...]

Review: Silence And Other Surprising Invitations Of Advent

I have yet to meet anyone who likes to wait. I usually stink at it, to tell you the truth.But within the rhythm of the Christian year, Advent is the block of time leading up to Christmas given over to waiting. The practice is as countercultural as it comes. December's secular Festivus frenzy, with its shoppingholidaypartiescookieexchangesconcertsdecoratingwrapping is an exhausting runup to December 25. Though some count down through their December with Santa-themed "Advent" calendars, a nod to … [Read more...]

Leavin’…on a Sunday mornin’

"I want to leave my church, but I feel as though I've committed to them for life," my friend K. said to me recently.She went on to explain that her congregational leaders taught that membership was a covenant between the member and the church. There was no exit clause unless a person moved out of the area. "That isn't to say that people don't leave the church anyway. But when they do, everyone acts as though there's been a bad divorce in the family."When a church invokes words like covenant … [Read more...]

A Response To “An Open Letter To Everyone Over 40 Who Has Left The Church”

Author Margaret Feinberg has penned a kind and genuine expression of concern for those who have left the institutional church at midlife. (Click here to read it.) She affirms the types of issues that typically push some empty-nesters out of the spiritual roost, then pleads with leavers to return in order to nurture the next generation. "Your own children may be out of the house, but your spiritual children are still inside–waiting for you to come in and offer your wisdom, your guidance and your f … [Read more...]

My 2012 writing life: shock absorbers and flat tires

I am preaching the message below to myself. I wrote the words below four years ago, and need to revisit them again today: One of our former pastors (that’s a depressing phrase, but I digress…) had a catchy little way of summarizing spiritual growth. He would tell the congregation that as they followed the Lord, the bumps in the road wouldn’t get smaller, but their shock absorbers would get bigger. It was a folksy metaphor to explain how our growing faith and maturity are increasingly able to abso … [Read more...]


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