Rearranging the Chairs and other wastes of time: A response to Rachel Held Evans

Rachel Held Evans has written a thought provoking piece about why Millenials are leaving the church.  She writes about how frustrating it is for her to give talks on this subject.  She "points to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness" and then she "talks about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more t … [Read more...]

Just getting on with it…

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This week I'm in the stunningly green English countryside with friends from around the globe who gather every four years general conference of Torchbearers.  It's difficult to accurately portray the power of what happens when 200 leaders from 27 Bible centers around the world gather in one room to pray, worship, study the scriptures together, and do business as they seek, each on their own unique setting, to make God's good reign visible through the power of the resurrected Jesus.Every day … [Read more...]

Taking Light Seriously… Living Light Loudly

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We took an evening church history tour in Edinburgh Scotland this week.  It reminded me of the deplorable reputation the church has earned by its wars, lust for power, territorialism, and torture.  You don’t need to know all the details of the history to understand why one friend said, “All the ‘isms’ of our world have, on the whole, done more harm than good - and that’s why I’m not interested in Christianity”  Indeed, one can see a proportional relationship between the rise of Christianity's pow … [Read more...]

clothes are not bodies – church is not faith

I was given a fleece layer from "the master" of climbing

The most memorable gift I've ever received is a used fleece jacket previously owned by climbing legend Fred Becky.  Fred is to climbing the Cascade mountains what Babe Ruth is to hitting baseballs,  or LeBron James "is" (hahaha) to basketball - Fred's a legend, one who's mastered his craft utterly.  At ninety years old, he's still seen in the Patagonia store in Seattle, and roaming the Cascade mountains.  When I opened the gift and heard the name of the previous owner, the garment took on new mea … [Read more...]

Wood Cutting, and the Wisdom of Inefficiency

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Before enlightenment...chop wood.  After enlightenment...chop wood.  Zen ProverbI spent my free evening yesterday chopping wood, and it has me thinking a lot about the dangers of elevating efficiency as the highest good.  One neighbor saw me and said "rent a splitter; no sense killing yourself".  Another said "this is why I heat with propane".   Others drove by with the smile of sympathy, as if I'd been sentenced to hard labor.  But then, along comes my neighbor who has a reputation for gathe … [Read more...]

TMI – How Bible Reading can be Bad for your Spiritual Health

Reading about mountains is different than climbing them

Some of the most important truths in the Bible are found in obscure passages that never made the highlight reel of miracles, crosses, virgin births, and empty tombs.  Tucked away, for example, between Jesus healing of a sick man by a fountain, and his feeding multiple thousands with a few loaves of bread, I found one the most powerful, and least talked about statements Jesus ever made.  His miracles created quite a stir among people who had a stake in the religious status quo, and as a result, t … [Read more...]

If you fail at falling, you’ll fail at everything.

Eric Fromm, in his classic "The Art of Loving", writes that a healthy environment for growing up would include parents who, between them, would receive both an unconditional love and a very conditional and demanding love.  That sounds controversial of course, and probably is.  But I wonder if there isn't some merit in thinking about it a bit before dismissing it outright.  After all, Jesus, we're told, was full of grace and truth.  He told his followers that they needed to be perfect, and the roa … [Read more...]

Finding the best mentor in the world

I have a friend in Germany who works at one of the best Bible schools in the world.  I say "best" because of what I believe to be the goal of a Bible School.  The purpose of investing time in Bible School is, primarily and overwhelmingly to grow in one's relationship with Christ.  Arguments about the authorship of Genesis, the nuances of eschatology, and esoteric ethic discussions all have a certain values, but they are always entirely secondary to the dominant goal, which is to develop an re … [Read more...]


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