Review: Fully Alive

What would it look like if we were free to live beyond gender stereotypes?Western culture, circa 2013, offers a dizzying array of responses to that question. At one end of the spectrum: people like the Swedish parents who decided to keep their child's gender a secret until the child settled on his or her own gender identity, or this UK pair, who have pursued a similar path for their child. These activists are bent on deconstructing social norms in a quest to create a gender-free zone around … [Read more...]

What Whistle-Blowing Might Cost You

A few days ago, an old friend suggested that it may be incumbent on some of those in dysfunctional churches to advocate for change, suggesting that a confrontation or three may slow the growth of evil in these cancer-ridden organizations. (My paraphrase, not his words.)I pushed back. "Those who've been victimized by corrupt leaders may not have the strength (or calling) to [challenge corrupt leaders] - particularly when they've been 'warned' by the example of shunning and gossip that have … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / Survey Final

A few weeks ago, I wondered if it was just me having the same conversation with multiple friends who'd confessed to rethinking their relationship with their local church - or if there were others over 40 years of age floating  on the same little pontoon. I put together a little online survey, and quickly discovered that this wasn't a little pontoon, but great big ship.The ship is so big, in fact, that I recognize my survey is a tiny first step in both measuring the tip of the iceberg and in … [Read more...]

He kissed the secret of his childhood sexual abuse goodbye

Earlier this week, Pastor Josh Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, disclosed that he'd been a victim of sexual abuse when he was a child. The timing and context for this confession has something to tell us about the long-lasting effects of abuse in a victim's life.Harris' church was "mother ship" of the network of 80 or so churches churches of Sovereign Grace Ministries, though the congregation left the SGM family a few months ago. SGM was recently the focus of a l … [Read more...]

40+ And The Church / The Connected Have Their Say

I've received more than 400 responses to date from those over 40 when I queried them about their relationship with the local church, I saw a trend among respondents away from the same level of involvement they’d had a decade earlier. I've reported on what I was hearing from people who took the survey here, here and here.However, 28% are just as involved and 25% are more involved in their local church than they were a decade ago. Here’s what a few in this slight majority had to say about why t … [Read more...]

Jet lag and gratitude

I've been awake since 3 a.m., watching CNN's coverage of the Moore, OK tornado. (Jet lag or midlife? Today, I'm pretty sure it's the former.) My prayers are with the resilient people of the area, with those who are serving them today and beyond - and most of all, with those who've lost cherished loved ones.This world can be simultaneously dangerous and beautiful. The paradox is palpable for me every time we visit Israel, a land with a history that simultaneously illustrates both realities. … [Read more...]

Shavuot in Jerusalem

Last night as the sun set, Jerusalem silenced herself in the same way she does each Friday night. It is Shavuot (Pentecost), a day set apart to thank God for giving the Law to his pilgrim people at Mt. Sinai after he freed them from slavery in Egypt. Jesus' disciples headed to Jerusalem as he told them to do just before he ascended to his Father. They would have wanted to be in Jerusalem anyway, as Shavuot is one of three yearly festivals where the Jewish people would have flocked to the Temple b … [Read more...]