March 26, 2018

I grew up around charts. Big. Scary. Charts. Can you relate? And on these charts were several pictures accompanied by verse labels and a timeline. Oh, yeah, gotta have the timeline figured out. These always came with the acknowledgement that no one could truly know the day or the hour. Yet, there was a common vibe afloat–at least in my circles–that the second coming would happen within our lifetimes. First, the rapture. Then, the rise of the anti-Christ. Then, 7… Read more

March 19, 2018

Recently I had a unique opportunity. I was asked, by members of the Comparative Religion M.A. cohort at the University of Washington, to lead a conversation on being a pastor who is also an aspiring scholar. Most of them were not Christian in any sense of the word. And yet, they were interested. Why? I’m convinced that many folks are awakening to the fact that something is missing. The church and state divide often becomes a divide between faith and… Read more

March 8, 2018

​Today, I have something that may be a huge paradigm shift for you. ​You’ve heard the story: Saul became Paul. It is a powerful story. A Jewish man once hell-bent on the destruction of Christianity became convinced that his life was nothing without Christ. The name change from Saul (old identity) to Paul (suffering for Jesus / new identity) is a reminder for many people that our lives are never the same after we embrace Jesus as Messiah and Lord…. Read more

February 26, 2018

…many of those who cling more tightly to their weapons at times like this are Christians who would label themselves as conservatives. These people of course will defend their rights to “bear arms” as part of their heritage as Americans, as this seems promised under the Second Amendment. Of course, I have never actually met one who also claims to be part of a well-regulated state militia, which was the grounds for the Second Amendment in the first place. Beyond this however, I think we get a peek at the larger and deeper issue. What this reveals is an issue of trust, and what we trust is what we ultimately worship. Read more

February 8, 2018

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

January 29, 2018

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

January 11, 2018

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

January 4, 2018

  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

December 22, 2017

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

December 11, 2017

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

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