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…]

The lives of the rich and privileged: a Christian conundrum

We are currently in St. Petersberg, Russia. This is the city that Peter the Great, rich and privileged, built. I don’t want to dismiss his accomplishments, which are impressive. But Peter himself didn’t build this city on an unwelcoming swamp out of nothingness. “There are pickpockets waiting at the top of steps. Hold your valuables [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…]

The Megachurch Infection

The megachurch infection may lead to the eventual death of Christian connection, also known as the church. Let me explain. In 2014/2015, I did a series of “Mystery Worships” where I visited a different church each week and wrote a newspaper column about it. After noting a “meh” response to one church we attended, I thought I’d [Read More…]

Do we want tight doctrinal standards or do we want to follow Jesus?

After spending much of 2014 and 2015 visiting churches, I have become increasingly aware that people flock to church groups with tight doctrinal standards. As many note, these still show growth both in the US and overseas. The more theologically progressive mainline denominations with looser doctrinal boundaries show declining numbers. The more rapidly growing churches rarely ordain women [Read More…]

Help! Did Jesus ever laugh?

The audience, weary of burdens and regulations laid upon them by pompous Pharisees, would have tears of laughter at the “swallowing-the-camel” image. Dear Thoughtful Pastor: My son laughed in church when he heard the New Testament reading of Jesus chiding Peter about his lack of faith after he was the only one with enough faith [Read More…]

Hypocrisy, shame, politics and religion

Hypocrisy is the ultimate death blow, whether it be politics or religion. And in the US, the two are inextricably linked together. Shame on us both. From the full article reprinted below, this comment leaped off the page: One Republican bundler who has worked closely with the Republican National Committee in the past was incensed, [Read More…]

The village idiot and the nature of greed: reflections on Donald Trump

Trump serves as the village idiot, speaking the truth while he masks it in his web of unending lies and mental craziness. We need that truth-teller. Even the “We love everything Trump and think the GOP can do no wrong” Wall Street Journal had this as its front page headline: “Trump Shared Secrets With Russians.” The [Read More…]

Right-handers=Good; Left-handers=Evil

The dominant world enriches itself endlessly when it makes room for the less-dominant to have a voice. Those on the margins: left-handed, minority, poor, mentally and physically challenged, non-cis-gendered—anything that is different from the dominant, mainstream culture—have voices that must be heard and embraced. Right-handers comprise 85-90% of human population. Many tools—table saws, scissors, manual [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…]