You know it’s gonna be a bad sermon when…

I’ve written about my sermon fatigue before. Honestly, I’d rather just have the preacher hand out copies of the text of his or her message and let me just read (or skim) them. I’m a terrible auditory learner, and retain only a small portion of what I hear – just like most of the rest of you. I attend church primarily to connect and worship with others, and usually do my best to hang in there and focus through the sermons…. Read more

For God’s eyes only

I’ve spent much of the last 2-1/2 months sequestered in the house due to illness and recovery from my recent shoulder surgery. I’m now feeling well enough to do something besides drive myself to physical therapy, so yesterday I treated myself to a quick trip north to St. Francis, WI. My long-time prayer partner and dear friend Meg was slated to sing to the residents of the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care. I simply wanted to tuck myself into… Read more

Spiritual “branding”?

What do these Christians have in common?A certain super-sized home schooling brood of the ATI variety who are the subject of a TV show on basic cable regularly emphasizes that family is the central calling for life.A certain mega-church pastor writes and speaks extensively on leadership. He is convinced that strong, courageous leadership is the single greatest need facing not only the church, but society. A certain nationally-known apologetics expert has a ministry dedicated to “equipping the saints to give an… Read more

Review: The Sacred Journey

Charles Foster tells us one of his purposes in penning The Sacred Journey, part of the Ancient Practices series  (Thomas Nelson, 2010), is to offer readers a theology of pilgrimage. He does so with verve and a delightfully unpredictable take on a topic begging for a thoughtful, modern exploration from a low church/evangelical perspective. But he does much more than that in this 230-page addition to the series. Foster invites challenges, provokes, prods, woos, refutes, affirms and, in each one… Read more

It’s not a small world after all

I almost always experience an awkward moment or two when a roomful of people is asked to break into small groups. Do I follow the person sitting next to me into a group? Do I intentionally drag my chair across the room to join a too-small circle? Last night I attended a prayer meeting where we were asked to do the self-selection dance. I didn’t know many people there, so I headed toward the nearest, largest group. I didn’t have… Read more

Review: One.Life

“Every time the single-moment act of accepting Christ becomes the goal instead of the portal, we get superficial Christians. And every time personal practices of piety wiggle away from the big picture Jesus sketches before his followers, it becomes legalism.”In his newest book, Dr. Scot McKnight wants to help us move away from these shallow ideas of what it means to follow Jesus. One.life: Jesus calls, we follow (Zondervan, 2010) could easily be called, “Your idea of discipleship is too… Read more

Of Sarah and shoddy semantics

I rarely post anything of a political nature, but I couldn’t let this pass without exercising my First Amendment rights: In the wake of Jared Loughner’s evil attack on Arizona Congresswoman Giffords and the crowd who’d gathered for a Saturday morning meet `n greet at a grocery store, Sarah Palin and her media team produced a statement designed to redirect attention onto the event and away from the charges that overheated conservative hyperbole somehow contributed to the tragedy. Unfortunately, ex-govenor… Read more

Review | The Gospel of John: When Loves Comes To Town

When I worked at Trinity International University’s bookstore, we stocked shelves and shelves of Bible commentaries. At the beginning of each new semester, a few gung-ho young seminarians would come in to the store and browse the commentaries in order to debate the the academic and theological street cred of various authors. Most seminarians couldn’t afford to buy many commentaries, but they sure did like to window shop! I browsed my fair share of commentaries as well, and borrowed armloads… Read more

Ted dreamed a dream…

Three days ago, Ted Williams was a homeless guy panhandling along a freeway. Now he’s the latest media sensation in a you tube genre first clicked into life by viral viewings of the never-been-kissed middle-aged Susan Boyle. When Ted opened his mouth and a velvety FM baritone came out, the world stopped for a moment to listen – and then forwarded Ted’s feel-good story on to their friends. Everyone loves a happy ending, and as the offers and media appearances… Read more

Update from Pillow Mountain

Hello, 2011! Though recovery from shoulder surgery is no fun, I am happy to be typing with two hands today thanks to my new friend Mr. Vicodin and a big pillow propping my right forearm. Many people have been praying for me, and that prayer support has translated into a different kind of big pillow during the last few days. Here’s a brief photo update:Years ago, I had a friend who worked at a trophy factory. She made me this… Read more

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