Limping Into the New Year — A Christmas Diagnosis

I am limping out of 2014 and into 2015. One week ago today, I had foot surgery, and I’m just now able to put weight on that foot. I’ll be in a boot for several more weeks as the bone that was cut regrows around the pins that should now keep it straight.

I am also limping out of the year spiritually.

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Peace in Platte

I’m back in South Dakota for a few days. It’s the last hunt of the year. My buddies and I made the front page of the paper on opening weekend. Here’s the whole front page, a nice slice of small town life:

It’s been a busy fall, teaching a seminary class, launching a book line, rewriting and editing my own book, and planning a couple conferences. Nothing has given my soul rest like my hunting trips — duck hunting in Central Minnesota, pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

I’m not much of one for giving advice, but here’s some: get outside this month. In the midst of busy church schedules and busy personal schedules, end-of-the-year pressures and work and challenges with family interactions, take some time to connect to God in nature.

I’ll close with another image, one I took last evening at sunset.

Am I Afraid of Atheism?

Revolution Church — which was founded by Jay Bakker and has followed him from Phoenix to Atlanta to New York City to its present home in Minneapolis — is a unique faith community. Yes, it’s small (at least in person; its online footprint, via the podcast, is much larger). But the people who attend are there for something that very few churches offer, and that’s brutal, unadulterated honesty. That’s what Jay brings each week, and that’s what those who attend are hoping for.

I cannot claim to be as honest or humble as Jay, but when he asks me to guest preach, I try to get in touch with my Inner Jay. That’s what I did last Sunday, in a talk entitled, “Should We Be Afraid of Atheism.”

Jay talks openly about his doubts. Several times, I’ve heard him admit at Revolution that he doubts daily whether God exists. At many churches, this would be disconcerting (see, for example, where the Archbishop of Canterbury admits his own doubts), but at Revolution, that’s the very thing that people come to hear.

I, too, doubt God’s existence — though less today than I used to. But that’s not what I talked about last Sunday. Instead, I talked about the doubts of others, and whether atheism is part of the legacy of the emerging church movement.

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Transgender Teens Are the Next Target of Minnesota Bigots

The above full-page ad was run on the back of the Sunday sports section in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday. According to reports, it’s from a coalition of religious right and Tea Party activists who regularly oppose legislation meant to protect vulnerable communities. When they fought anti-bullying legislation, it was under the pretense of government intrusion in schools.

But this worse, way worse.

With an image of a shower and a rhetorical question about a boy showering with “your 14-year old daughter,” they go on to mischaracterize the rule that is being considered by the Minnesota State High School Athletic League. (You can read the draft policy here.)

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