Silence: a movie for those tired of lies about God

Silence stops in its tracks the lies that good humans won’t suffer. It strips away any surety that our right actions and beliefs will bring the results we want. I spent my formative Christian years in Evangelicalism. This world hands out books of God’s promises: Bible verses, yanked from context, that suggest God is in [Read More…]

Help! Can I forgive someone and still end the relationship?

Yes, we are expected to forgive endless times. Cultivating the habit of forgiveness makes life with others possible.  But forgiveness is not necessarily linked to friendship or reconciliation. Dear Thoughtful Pastor:  I recently ended a friendship that had, in my opinion, become toxic and harmful to my emotional well-being.  I have no doubt, whatsoever, that [Read More…]

The Shack: a journey into grief and the questions of good and evil

That the love of God means the freedom for people to make their unimpeded choices for good or evil permeates The Shack. [Note: The Shack, based on the book by William P Young, is about to be released. The book caused enormous controversy among many Christians when it first came out. An editor, Chris Fenoglio, from [Read More…]

Help! Can I make my parents change their behavior?

Option: Confront your parents and insist they change their behavior so you feel better. Dictate precisely what you need. This has a success rate of something approaching zero. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: My parents are complicated and volatile. They have been that way since I was a child and have a very dysfunctional marriage. I love them [Read More…]

Help! White nationalism and the human pecking order

Here’s the thing: we humans, similar to small-brained chickens, have this need to know our place in the pecking order. Most want to peck our way to the top, uncaring of the damage we do to others in the process. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Is White Nationalism in any way compatible with Jesus’ Commandments? No. I [Read More…]

The con man, the church, human gullibility and our beliefs

Once we have spent time in a particular belief system, especially in a “church” environment that demands massive contributions, unquestioned loyalty, absorbs all spare time and which forms the entire social network for people, most don’t have enough mental energy to figure out that something is terribly wrong. A year and a half ago, I did a [Read More…]

Help! The refugee crisis: What’s the Christian way to reduce terrorism?

Should the government move to restrict egress based on nothing but “what might happen,” especially refugees seeking asylum are fleeing home-grown wars, then there is only one proper Christian response: “Bring them to me. I will care for them.” Dear Thoughtful Pastor: “Is there a better, more Christian way to minimize terrorism threats in the [Read More…]

“The Christians”–both the play and the reality

The vote supports Pastor Paul, but it doesn’t take long for Pastor Joshua’s new church, affirming the reality of hell, to drain the mother congregation. I saw The Christians on Sunday. Lucas Hnath wrote this play about Pastor Paul, a man who had skillfully grown his church from a tiny storefront to a huge megachurch, [Read More…]

Help! Does an all-powerful God cause the innocent to suffer?

The easy answers like “It’ll all turn out OK in the end. If it is not OK, it’s not the end” nearly make me sick to my stomach. What does that say to those who are suffering horrifically in this very moment? Dear Thoughtful Pastor: One of my lectures was on innocent suffering and how [Read More…]

Why I will listen to DJT take the presidential oath of office

Can a man whose world revolves primarily, or even only, around himself and his need to be powerful make a decent and responsible President for the whole of the US? Friday, January 20, I head to Austin. I’ve explained the reasons why I chose to march there more fully here. I will be on the [Read More…]