Unanswered prayers, God’s silence and the demand for the instantly miraculous

We demand in our prayers instant healing, instant riches, instant love, instant solutions to all our problems. We insist God intervene consistently with miraculous answers to all human dilemmas. A few weeks ago, I attempted to answer this question: What good is prayer, in a practical sense?  When I try to pray for the nation [Read More…]

What if Adam had beaten up the serpent? Questions Children Ask

What would have happened if the story of Adam and the serpent had a different ending? What if Adam had said a solid “no” to evil? Kids ask the darndest questions. Previously, I tackled the question from a five-year-old granddaughter, “How do we know God is real? How do we know he’s not someone that [Read More…]

How Do We Know the Bible is True? Questions Children Ask

We take the horrifying stories in the Bible, water them down to make them palatable to children, and then teach them as “The Bible tells me so” truth because we say the Bible is true. Kids ask the darndest questions. Previously, I tackled the question from a five-year-old granddaughter, “How do we know God is [Read More…]

How do we know God is real? Questions children ask

“How do we know God is real? How do we know he’s not someone that because we are little you tell us he’s real but then when we’re older we find out he’s fake?” Children ask the darndest questions! I confess: my child-rearing philosophy was along the lines of “benign neglect.”  I sought to resource [Read More…]

Unanswered prayer, lies and more lies

I left Evangelicalism mostly because of lies about how God answers prayer and keeps all faithful Christians safe. Those lies clear God of all responsibility for human horrors but still insist He (always “he”) stays in total control of everything. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: What good is prayer, in a practical sense?  When I try to [Read More…]

Help! Is the End Times near as the Bible promises?

To those who hold to literal end times prophecies, the earth, as a living entity, has no particular value. The quicker they facilitate the destruction, the sooner they bring about a new heaven and earth. Dear Thoughtful Pastor:  How do you view the natural disasters, economic problems, and increased persecution of people today with the [Read More…]

Help! Do abusive people keep power by defining forgiveness?

When abusive people, those who misuse the power entrusted to them, face accusations of misconduct, they deflect the blame toward the one who has been abused. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Why is it always the abusers and their advocates that concoct numerous ways to forgive them? Here is my experience. Abusers are usually sincere. They don’t [Read More…]

Help! How do I tell my sister to hush about her husband?

My biggest life mistake is asking people to read my mind and do what I want without my having to say it.  Dear Thoughtful Pastor: My sister is separating from her husband and will soon move in with me while they decide to stay together or get a divorce. I want to be there for [Read More…]

“I’m Blessed” vs. “Why Me?” A Product of Awful Theology

Even worse, this theology of God’s absolute sovereignty and control leads to the elevation of those who, for example, may have acquired great wealth. Surely they could have only done that because God “blessed” them. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: A few minutes ago I was sitting on the back porch, looking at the new growth on [Read More…]

Help! Did God really want that child to die? Why didn’t God heal her?

We who call ourselves followers of Jesus carry the expectations that we will also heal, bring good news to the poor, offer release to the captives, give recovery of sight to the blind, and free the oppressed. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Last week, a Bible literalist church pastor was arrested in the death of his 2-year-old [Read More…]