The Book You’re Going To Be Talking about This Fall

My bedside reading this week is an advanced copy of Nadia Bolz-Weber‘s theological memoir, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and a Saint. In addition to the arrestingly beautiful author photo on the cover (taken by the incomparable Courtney Perry), it deserves a wide readership for a number of reasons.

Nadia and I met, I think, in 2008. We became fast friends, and have been ever since. I’ve joyfully watched her rise to become an ecclesial elite, and I cheer her on when she preaches in front 10,000 at Red Rocks or 35,000 at the SuperDome…

…or in front of 115 at House for All Sinner and Saints.

The fact that Nadia pastors a small church and yet is seen as an expert in all things church would have been unthinkable 15 years ago, when we were all neck-deep in the church growth movement. But now, with house churches and new monastic communities and organic church and slow churches, Nadia’s voice and vision is pitch-perfect for our time. But there’s an even more important reason that her book (and her life) kicks ass.

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The Future of Christianity

A lot of what I get to do is spend time thinking and writing about the future of Christianity — my preferred future, at least. And getting together with people who are interested in the same trajectories of Christianity is a big part of my life, too. Honestly, it’s the whole reason that Doug and I started The JoPa Group and produce events like Emergence Christianity: A National Gathering with Phyllis Tickle and Friends.

What I do with my part-time job at sparkhouse is distinct, but related. This fall, sparkhouse released Animate.Faith, a video-based congregational resource that opens conversations about some of the most intriguing and essential ideas of Christianity:

God | Faith Is a Quest
Brian McLaren

Religion | Spirituality is not Enough
Lillian Daniel

Jesus | The Revolution of Love
Mark Scandrette

Salvation | Abundant Life Now
Shane Hipps

Cross | Where God Is
Nadia Bolz-Weber

Bible | A Book Like No Other
Lauren Winner

Church | An Imperfect Family
Bruce Reyes-Chow

This week, we met with the talented group who will be developing the next course for us, Animate.Bible:

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Why I Haven’t Given Up on the Bible

Jacob Wrestles with the Angel, by Rembrandt

When conversation on this blog turn to issues of sexuality, as it did this week with Brian McLaren’s View on Homosexuality, there are always some commenters who admit that their Christian faith has broken free of the Bible. For example, R. Jay comments,

I’m a Christian for whom the Bible is not my foundation, not my law code, not my ladder, not my pedestal. I love it dearly, but I don’t need it to know God, and I don’t need it to understand how to love my neighbor fully.

In the absence of the Bible, there is still God. And to know God does not require the Bible. Devotion to it has become the most insidious of all barriers.

Honestly, I understand how some people come to this conclusion. The Bible is a primitive book, coming out of a primitive time. Even the most staunch conservatives should be able to admit that. It is reflective of a different world than the world in which we live. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not applicable to our lives and our time, but that much hermeneutical work needs to be done to understand what it means for us today.

In Brian’s own evolution of how he understand human sexuality, he has not abandoned the Bible,

[Read more...]

Free E-Book on Church Leadership

David Lose of Luther Seminary has curated a new ebook on church leadership. It’s called Renew 52: 50+ Ideas to Revitalize Your Congregation from Leaders Under 50. I contributed a chapter, as did Lillian Daniel, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Bruce Reyes-Chow, Peter Rollins, and many others. You should grab this book for yourself. Seriously. I mean, it’s free!

Here’s a snippet from my chapter,”LEARN FROM FACEBOOK: IMPLEMENT CONSTANT, INCREMENTAL CHANGE,” [Read more...]


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