A Fourth of July Reflection: Taking Exception to American Exceptionalism


Listen to this piece.Today we who are Americans celebrate the founding of our great nation—a wondrous experiment in the pursuit of democratic ideals. There is much to celebrate for sure: freedom from tyrannical regimes where people have no freedom in the areas of speech and religion, among other human longings and values. Of course, we have had more than our fair or unfair share of overwhelming challenges along the way, such as with the struggles for civil rights for various groups of p … [Read more...]

My Top 5 Books on Evangelism

121119 P I Can't Wait for Christian America to Die

Recently Christianity Today asked me to list five books that have impacted me most in terms of evangelism. One will not find here a list of how-to books. Evangelism is not a technique, but a way of being in word and deed that leads people to Christ. Certainly, it involves content, bearing witness to Christ and his claims on our lives, including the apostolic witness (Matthew 10:32-42; Luke 14:25-35; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11). Such claims should humble us and lead us away from a power play posture. … [Read more...]

Evangelicalism: Reframing a Fragmented Movement

Listen to this piece.I hear and read of the increasing fragmentation of the Evangelical movement. Perhaps it has something to do with the passing of the cultural influence of Dr. James Dobson as an overarching force who speaks for the movement. Perhaps it has something to do with the increase in diversity politically and culturally within Evangelicalism. There may be many reasons for such fragmentation.Fragmentation is bound to happen from time to time given that we don’t have a papal f … [Read more...]

Why Did the Buddhists and the Evangelical Christians Cross the Road? To have a potluck.

130624 P Evangelicals and Buddhists Share and Probe 2

(Editor’s note: The following is reprinted with permission from Northwest Dharma News where it was originally titled "Evangelicals and Buddhists Share and Probe: A Unique and Fruitful Dialogue in Portland". It describes a rich and fruitful Buddhist-Christian dialogue that has been unfolding in Portland over many years. The top part of this piece, by Zen Abbot Kyogen Carlson, is followed by a section by me.)By Kyogen CarlsonIn what might seem an unlikely conversation, conservative Eva … [Read more...]

Multi-Faith Discourse: Beyond Lampoon Tract Propaganda

Jason and me when he spoke in my class last summer.

It is important for Christians to know who they are in their faith to enter meaningfully into conversations with those of other religions. It wasn’t an Evangelical Christian from whom I first heard these words, but a professor at a Mainline Protestant liberal seminary, who said his students were not sure how to proceed in conversations with those of other faiths because they were not sure of their own tradition, including such doctrines as Christology. As a result, he said they were at a loss in … [Read more...]

Jesus Is No Midwife


Listen to this piece.I am thankful for the midwives who helped us bring our children into the world. They didn’t create our kids or magically pull them out of thin air. They coached my wife and me as my wife took deep breaths and pushed them into the world while I held my breath, praying to Jesus all the way.So many people today look at Jesus as a midwife, not God incarnate. Even those who view him as an incarnation don’t view him as the one and only incarnation of God. None of this is ne … [Read more...]

A Father’s Day Reflection: The Grand Prize of Simplicity


Listen to this piece.I remember Dr. John M. Perkins once saying, “There’s no such thing as a sophisticated Christian.” I have never forgotten those words. Dr. Perkins wasn’t saying that people should be simplistic or unskilled in their work. What I think he was saying is that people should be simple and pure in their devotion to Christ and other people.My father was a simple man. In contrast, I grew up wanting to be sophisticated, and I wished my dad were that as well. How I longed to be … [Read more...]