Does God Talk To Us? (“What Do I Really Believe?” Series)

One of the benefits of being a member of an online community like Patheos is that it gives us a chance to exchange ideas about faith, culture and more. Though most of us write collegially, side-by-virtual-side, we have occasional opportunities to interact with one another and with the diverse readers who visit the site. Patheos blogger have been invited to share our responses to one or any of the questions on this month's "What Do I Really Believe?" landing page.My answer to the question … [Read more...]

When Your Church Has Been Rocked By Scandal – Stay Or Go?

Should you stay or should you go?Besides being a riff on the title of one of the great pop-punk songs of the early 1980's, it is a question with which congregants whose leaders have had moral failures by their leaders must grapple. Whether it is the stuff that grabs headlines (like the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit or the sexual misconduct charges filed against leaders Virginia's  Richmond Outreach Center) or the kinds of things that spur gossip in a local community (a pastor's affair w … [Read more...]

Pilgrim’s Road Trip #12 – When The Compass Points At A Golden Calf

We live as exiles. We’re called to be pilgrims.I am journeying through Scripture chronologically, stopping at a few oases along the way, in order to contemplate our exile experience. I’ll also offer some helpful thoughts about how Christ can reshape that identity and reorient our journey so we live as pilgrims. To read earlier posts in the series, click here. * * * * * * * If you've ever been thrust into a disorienting new reality after years of a fairly predictable existence, the words of … [Read more...]

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...]