I Need A Hero

fierce convictions

Regular readers of this blog know that my family and I have experienced a number of nightmarish church experiences over the last three and a half decades. Not too long ago, someone asked me why I didn't just exit the Church at one particularly miserable juncture twenty or so years ago and just keep walking.My short answer came from Simon Peter's words to Jesus: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) Though I don't believe that showing up in a church for … [Read more...]

Transforming The Literal Into *POOF* The Spiritual

One of my favorite podcasts is Phil Vischer's rollicking foray into pop culture and the state of affairs in the Evangelical church. Regular cohosts actress Christian Taylor and pastor/author Skye Jethani are joined (and sometimes replaced) by a variety of interesting guests. This week's guest, Dr. Gary Burge, tackled the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which can be summed up in the question, "Whose land is it anyway?".I was tempted to skip this week's podcast, as I am familiar with Burge's p … [Read more...]

The Grinch @ Seminary

grinchheart

This quarter at Northern Seminary, I took a class for which I had low enthusiasm before I walked in the door back in September. In fact, the words "low enthusiasm" might be overstating it a bit. If it hadn't been required to complete my degree, I would have probably found a way to avoid taking this course altogether.However, you can't opt out of core theology courses when you are enrolled in seminary.I'm not anti-theology. I noted in my first paper for my Theology I course this quarter … [Read more...]

“Done” At Midlife

Childhood

The conversation around the relationship between those at midlife and the local church clicked into a higher gear last week with these two blog posts:At Thom Schultz's Holy Soup: The Rise Of The Dones. "After sitting through countless sermons and Bible studies, they feel they’ve heard it all...The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn. Will the Dones return? Not likely, according to th … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage – Part 3

"How are you doing?" There's a lot of different ways in which those words can be voiced ranging from a casual aside with no desire for an answer to the way the pastor of the church we'd attended for a year and a half asked it of me. It sounded as though he really wanted to know because he really cared about the state of my soul.I hesitated for a moment. Could I trust him? I'd worked hard with the help of the Holy Spirit using the gfits and training of an excellent counselor to unpack some of … [Read more...]

The Paradox Of Retreat

1 siena sign

In military terms, a retreat is the decision for an army to withdraw because they're losing a battle. In Evangelical church circles, a retreat is a weekend packed to the rafters with activity, teaching and relationship-building.Jesus often retreated from the go-go-go of his ministry to seek his Father in solitude. Solitude was the life-giving marrow of his ministry as the Spirit shaping his communion with the Father. His withdrawl into retreat was an advance for him. Solitude was not about … [Read more...]

Q & A With Amy Julia Becker

small talk

 "For a long time, I thought my children were a distraction from the work God was doing in my life and in the world around me. I am starting to realize they are the work God is doing in my life. They are the invitation to give, to receive, to be humbled, to grow. They are the vehicles of grace." - Amy Julia Becker A few years ago, my friend Amy Julia Becker wrote a frank and shimmering memoir of her journey as the parent of a daughter with Down Syndrome called A Good And Perfect Gift (my review … [Read more...]


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