Are You a Gay P.K.?

My friend Sam Brink, on staff with the American Baptist Church, and his son Andrew are conducting a survey of pastors’ kids who are LGBT. If you qualify for that, please take a few minutes to complete their survey.

Find the survey here.

The Problem with Pietism

Last night, I was at a public conversation between two evangelicals (more on that soon). After the the dialogue, there there was a private gathering for the interlocuters and some others, with a table of finger food and a few bottles of wine.

The evangelical leaders didn’t drink any wine. One looked at the wine in my hand and made a comment to the effect of, “Looks good; wish I could have some.” I took that as a challenge and spent the rest of the evening trying to ply him with wine or get him to join us at the Town Hall Brewery afterwards. He didn’t bite, nor did the supporters of his ministry who surrounded him.

At one point I exclaimed, “You know, you can love Jesus and drink wine!” to which he chuckled uncomfortably. He then told me a story about a very famous evangelical leader who sent the organization’s custodian to the store to buy his wine.

I didn’t grow up in cultural evangelicalism, nor in pietism, so I can’t quite say that I understand from an insider’s perspective. However, I’ve been told about it. The pietistic behavior among evangelicals is an attempt to maintain “holiness,” as exhorted in biblical passages like,

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Megachurches Make You High

According to a new study, attending worship at a megachurch is similar to getting high:

By: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

Published on LiveScience

DENVER — More and more Americans are spending their Sundays at megachurches, enormous churches with congregations numbering in the thousands. Despite the size of these churches, members don’t get lost in the crowd, new research finds.

In fact, a new study of 12 representative megachurches spread across the country finds that the size of these churches is a major part of their appeal. Members report that the experience of worshiping with thousands is intoxicating, the researchers find.

“It’s an addicting experience, it’s so large, it’s so huge,” said study researcher Katie Corcoran, a graduate student in sociology at the University of Washington. “One respondent said you can look up to the balcony and see the Holy Spirit go over the crowd like a wave in a football game.”

Read the rest: Megachurch Study Suggests Big Congregations Make Worship ‘Intoxicating’ Experience.

I have been to megachurches, of course, and they always make me cynical. But I’m sure that some readers happily attend them, so tell us what you like about your megachurch.

9/11 – Time to Get Along

In my most recent posts about Sri Lanka, and in an OpEd in Saturday’s StarTribune, I’ve been reflecting on how Christians, when we’re in the minority, seem to act better. Now, it was just one experience in one country, but it was striking.

Today, the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., is a good day to reflect on how we deal with those of other religions. Was 9/11 a religious attack? At least in part it was. Religious extremists, to be sure, but religious nonetheless. (And there are extremists in Christianity, too.)

On the occasion of this anniversary, there is a new book that I think will help many Christians think through how they maintain their Christian identity — even uniqueness — in an increasingly pluralistic world.

This is not a book about interfaith dialogue. This is a book about Christian identity. It’s Brian McLaren’s new book, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.

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