About Mark Sandlin

Mark is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from the South. He is a co-founder of The Christian Left. His blog, The God Article, was recently named as one of the “Top Ten Christian Blogs.” Mark received The Associated Church Press' Award of Excellence in 2012. His work has been published on "The Huffington Post," "Sojourners," "Time," "World Church Services," and even the "Richard Dawkins Foundation." He's been featured on PBS's "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly" and NPR's "The Story with Dick Gordon." He’s married to an amazing Baptist minister and has two fabulous teenagers. More than anything (other than peace and justice), Mark wants to have a beverage in one hand and a book in the other as he and his wife look across the shores of Ocracoke, NC.

Following Jesus Means Being Political and Advocating for “The Least of These”

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Why did Jesus die on a cross?To save us from our sins?Regardless of your personal belief, you have to recognize that within theological circles, the idea that Jesus had to die to atone for our sins is debatable.What isn't debatable is why he was crucified.Jesus was crucified because the Roman authorities of the day saw him as a real threat to the state, a threat to political order and (most importantly), a threat to those in power.Jesus didn't end up hanging from a tree for … [Read more...]

The Cure for the Unbearable Inadequateness of Being

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“I just feel like something is missing.”While that is an exact quote from a young adult I was once counseling early in my ministerial career, it's a theme that would be repeated in many counseling sessions by a rather large variety of people.Even the most well-adjusted people seem to have at least a tiny sense that there should be something more to life – and, if not to life itself, at least to their lives.This feeling of “something is missing” is a common theme in people's lives. I’ … [Read more...]

Love Wins in the PC(USA)! … Or Does It?

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I love that, as a PC(USA) minister, our constitution will soon reflect my ability to perform marriages for any two folks who want to get married, regardless of their sexual orientation.The thought actually makes me ever-so slightly teary eyed.So, hear me say clearly that PC(USA) ministers’ ability to perform same-sex marriages is something I deeply celebrate. For that matter, I've been one of the denomination’s loudest same-sex marriage advocates for quite some time.But, also, hear m … [Read more...]

Why the Fundie Freakout About LGBT Equality is a GOOD Thing

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It seems like we are seeing more and more Fundamentalist Christians losing their minds because of homosexuality.A few of the “sky-is-falling” statements flying through cyberspace lately include: homosexuality is worse than genocide!; all gays must be put to death!; and, wait for it . . . if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage, we will all be facing the WRATH OF THE ANTI-CHRIST by the end of the year!!!Good times.No, really.I love this.Here's the th … [Read more...]

Best Pope Ever!… But My #popecrush is Fading

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Pope Francis is easily my favorite Pope in modern times.A recent Pew Research Center survey says that his popularity in the U.S. is continuing to grow and that he is as popular as John Paul II was among Catholics.The list of things I love about him seems nearly endless: from auctioning off his Harley Davidson and donating the money to a hostel and soup kitchen in Rome (yes, he owned a Harley!) to saying that God is not a “magician with a magic wand” when he reminded people that Catholic … [Read more...]

Reading the Bible Like Conservatives Read the Qur’an

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There's an unfortunately popular meme going around conservative social media depicting some horrific doctrines of “radical Islam and ISIS.”In at least one case, from the Conservative Post, the meme’s accompanied by a message suggesting all American Muslims should have to deny the doctrine listed or “leave our country” [my emphasis].The list includes things like: enslaving for sex, approval of beating slaves, and killing non-Muslims.This is an example of a hermeneutic (which is a fa … [Read more...]

New Poll Shows a GOP Desire For a “Christian” Nation and a Disdain For Reality

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Fifty-seven percent of Republicans would be more than happy to see legislation making Christianity America’s national religion, according to a recent poll from Public Policy Polling.Additionally, the poll highlighted something else just as concerning: the majority of Republican respondents either have the inability to comprehend, a disdain for, or a willful ignorance about science and rationality in general.Let me explain why I say that. The same poll told us: 1) Sixty-six percent of R … [Read more...]

Dear Fellow Christians: We Don’t Own Heaven

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Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo  I know this may come as a shocker to some; and, I can only imagine the number of Bible verses that will be quoted in comments as “proof” to refute this post, but I'm here to tell you something that not only won't sit well with some, it has a fairly profound implication:Christians don't own heaven.God does.Now at first you might say, “Duh. Of course,” but there’s something else I need to tell you:Christians don't own God.You only need … [Read more...]

How ISIS is Exposing the Hypocrisy of Many Christians

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ISIS is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad rebel group that claims to be associated with Islam but is no more Muslim than the KKK is Christian. ISIS members do absolutely horrific things including human rights abuses, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.This group’s actions are an abomination.(Now please, let's not have anyone saying I'm defending ISIS by the end of this post. Inevitably some will, but please know I will simply refer them back to the first three sentences of this p … [Read more...]

Why This Minister Hates These “Favorite” Christian Quote Verses, Part 3 – James 1:2-3 & Luke 11:9

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“Jesus Did It. Come And Get It.”That, my friends, is a real bumper sticker I recently saw on a car driving around town.In many ways, it points to the problems I have with the last two verses in my “Why This Minister Hates These 'Favorite' Christian Quote Verses” series. (Follow the links to read Part 1 and Part 2).Let's waste no time and get straight to it. I covered two verses in each of the first two parts, so let’s have a look at verses 5 and 6.5) “Consider it pure joy, my bro … [Read more...]


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