The Bible has this grand story it tells, a grand narrative that proclaims a Creator God that loves creation. Humans, whom this God deems as bearing the image of the Divine, are the pinnacle of God’s creative process. They are designed to be God’s representatives on the earth. This is facilitated through four relationships: to God, to others, to all creation, and to the self. This web of relationships is what many theologians call “shalom.” Shalom is a Hebrew word… Read more

As a pastor, I encounter wonderful people on a regular basis. Many of these folks, often interested in God or committed followers of Jesus, have inherited harmful narratives about Jesus. Because of this, shame often gets the final word when it comes to part of their identity. Whether we like it or not, our world, culture, organization, and families all influence how we imagine God–often giving us false images of God. One of the greatest idols of American Christianity is… Read more

As I often do, I find myself circling back to a subject that has been a matter of deconstruction in the past: HELL Yep, H-E-Double-Hockey… it is an an issue that many of us continue to wrestle with. Now, there are two approaches to deconstructing hell. 2 Approaches to Deconstructing Damnation First, you might find yourself saying: “I can’t believe in a God like that, who would send billions of people to hell for eternity.” If this is you, I… Read more

  It is a new year. That is neat. 2018: we made it. And of course, “newness” is a Christian theme that runs through the entire biblical story. Sometimes, in the Bible (and life), things happen that are so brand new that we are tempted to forget the road that led to that moment. The resurrection of Jesus was brand new, but it was also the extension of something that God had already been up to. God had already chosen… Read more

Mary. There’s something about her, so they say. Protestants haven’t known what to do with her. I’ve seen two basic trends. 1) Protestants who ignore Mary’s subversive joy. 2) Protestants who run from Mary’s miracle. Both of these trends are troubling. Many “traditionalists” ignore Mary (for the most part) because of the “Catholic” thing (insert eye roll here). In their ignorance, beyond the images in Christmas cards and in attempting to prove Jesus was God due to the miraculous virgin conception,… Read more

ust like Luther, and the later reformers 500 years ago, the message of Jesus upset the gatekeepers of religious boundaries. Whenever this happens, the gatekeepers must decide if they are going to tear down the arbitrary gates and redefine who is “in.” Or will they resist as though the movement of God is limited by human boundaries? Read more

To claim one values human life, such a claim must include all human life. Read more

You will never correctly predict something that isn’t actually in the scriptures. Read more

Did you know that churches haven’t always had indoor plumbing? (Yes, of course you knew this.) In fact, it wasn’t until the 1880s that church building (and regular buildings and homes) started to get toilets installed on a mass scale. And if you have ever been part of a congregation where the color of the carpet takes 24 monthly committee meetings, 8 quarterly council meetings, and 2 annual business meetings, to be decided upon… you will understand where I’m going… Read more

For most of my life the goal of reading Scripture was information in, transformation out. It was almost as if the Bible was an archive of knowledge that could be mastered by the most devoted disciple. And often I still notice this trend playing itself out in one way or another. In other words, Christian character is often measured by how many verses someone can whip out in a freestyle theological debate. But 2 Chonicles 2.7 says…. and then Revelation… Read more

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