A Community of Simple Living [Economics of Church and Seminary #2]

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 We’re delighted to have a guest post today (the second in a series of three) by Justin Barringer, who was featured in David Wheeler’s article in The Atlantic about the effects of seminary debt.  *** You can find the previous posts in this series here… ***  As the church has been caught up in this nightmare, we have, perhaps oddly, insisted that clergy are somehow supposed to be uniquely able and expected to avoid the snares of upward mobility. As folks were suggesting in the comments on the Atlantic article, clergy are not supposed to be in it for the money. In fact, it was … [Read more...]

Hope for Iraq. For other conflict zones. And for the world.

Hope

By now you probably have heard about Jeremy Courtney who launched the hashtag #WeAreN, as a show of solidarity for persecuted Christians in Iraq.   Courtney founded the non-profit Preemptive Love, which works in Iraq, to "[eradicate] the backlog of Iraqi children waiting in line for lifesaving heart surgery" and pursuing "peace between communities at odds."Courtney recently did an interview with Huffington Post Religion editor Paul Rauschenbusch, which grabbed my attention.  Specifically, he said: We need a long-term plan, not just a short-term fix. There are agencies helping Christians, Y … [Read more...]

JPUSA: A Tragic History of Sexual Abuse

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Although I heard awhile back that that this documentary on the sexual abuse of minors at the Jesus People USA (JPUSA) Community in Chicago was in the works, I happened to see this article on the Christianity Today website this afternoon and saw that it was released today.  I knew that it would be one that I needed to watch, so I plunked down my ten bucks and downloaded the movie.  You see, I have been acquainted with JPUSA for over 20 years; I have visited their community a couple of times and have friends who are members or former members.  There was a block of 5 or 6 years -- before my wife a … [Read more...]

Why I Don’t Go To Church

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There has been a lot of buzz online in recent days about the value of church attendance.  Initiated by a pair of posts by Donald Miller, ( The initial post... and the followup.), who bravely confessed that he rarely goes to church, Miller's posts were followed up by this piece on Christianity Today's PARSE blog, which dug a little deeper but had more of the feel of an expose, and didn't get to the heart of what seems (to me anyway) to be the crucial issues about church.I appreciate Donald's honesty -- and Brian McLaren's as well, in response to the PARSE piece -- and I have no interest … [Read more...]

Phil Kenneson: A Philosophical Argument for Slow Church

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This week, I re-read this wonderful passage from Phil Kenneson's superb essay "There's no such thing as objective truth, and it's a good thing too" (in the volume Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World).  Phil will be one of our speakers for The Slow Church Conference, April 3-5.To summarize Phil's argument here, Christianity is better off without objective truth, because we are then driven deeper into our calling as good, vibrant (and I would add Slow) church communities.What do you think?  Do you buy Phil's argument here?  But I don’t want to stop at saying that C … [Read more...]

From Frankenstein’s Monster to The Body of Christ

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 I have had several conversations over the last week that reminded me how little regard we have for the church as the body of Christ.In reflecting on those conversations, I began to wonder if Dr. Frankenstein's monster might be a fitting image for how we typically think of the body of Christ: a collection of parts, thrown together (and easily interchangeable) and animated by some external, mystical force like a lightning bolt.Having been deeply formed by the individualism of Western Culture, we are trained to narrate our lives primarily as individuals and to think of … [Read more...]

A Conversational Way Forward: Responding to the Exodus of Millennials from our Churches

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Rachel Held Evans has written a wonderful piece for the CNN Belief blog on why Millennials are leaving our churches.It has been in heavy rotation on the social media circuits the last couple of days, but in case you haven't seen it yet, do stop and read it now.From my experience talking to millennials in churches and colleges, I think Rachel has hit the nail on the head.  However, I am a few years older than Rachel (squarely in the middle of Generation X), and I remember very similar pieces being written about why Gen-Xers were leaving churches in the early to mid-1990s. So, maybe … [Read more...]


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