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. I appreciate the fact that we're currently hearing someone actually … [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 a corner in the back of the room and listen … [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 … [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 … [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 time to look around at the others in the group before we began … [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. Jesus calls, we follow (Zondervan, 2010) could easily be called, "Your idea of discipleship is too small. … [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, … [Read more...]