Community and Idealism: Bonhoeffer’s Wisdom For the American Church

He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. This quote, from Bonhoeffer's classic Life Together, is also part of a chapter from a new book of essays entitled Called To Community (ed. Charles E. Moore). You can check out the current Patheos Book Club happening around this book here.Bonhoeffer's essay centers on the subject of idealism, and … [Read more...]

Come With Me: Brian Zahnd’s Water To Wine Plea

The following is an excerpt from the last chapter of Brian Zahnd’s brand new memoir Water To Wine. It's been an honor to feature excerpts here over the last couple months, and I cannot recommend this book enough. Chapter 9 gives us a powerful, personal plea to "Come with me":I prayed this prayer, "O God, I want to dedicate the rest of my life to knowing you as you are revealed in Christ. As much as I can mean anything in a single moment, I mean this prayer. Help me to know you. Amen … [Read more...]

Brian Zahnd: The Hope of Western Christianity is Mysticism

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 8 of Brian Zahnd’s brand new memoir Water To Wine. Brian has been gracious enough to let me share portions from each chapter every week for the next couple months. Chapter 8 offers a beautiful creation-centric vision of recovering Christian mysticism:When Karl Rahner predicted that "the devout Christian of the future will either be a mystic or he will cease to be anything at all" he was keenly prescient. Indeed, the hope for vibrant Christianity in … [Read more...]

Sacred Interruptions: An Unusual Kind of Grace

The following is a guest post by A.J. Swoboda, a pastor, professor, and author from Portland, OR. His new book, The Dusty Ones, is on sale now.There’s that old story of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. One day, Mr. Schopenhauer walked down the street only to bump into, head on, another pedestrian who walked casually without paying attention to where they were going.Totally involved in his own self-involvement, the pedestrian asked Schopenhauer, “Who do you think you are?” T … [Read more...]

Resurrection is the Christian term for defiance

In a wonderful op-ed for The Guardian, Canon Giles Fraser talks about what Easter and resurrection mean for his centuries-old parish in South London: On Sunday morning, just before dawn, a group of us gathered outside church and kindled a small bonfire. From there we passed the flame to a large candle and processed it into the nave – the tentative, flickering light illuminating the dark corners of the building. And from that large candle, we all lit our own individual candles, passing the light … [Read more...]

Political Choices and Decisions For Jesus

As the Republican and Democratic primaries rage on, folks across the country are being faced with a choice. For some that choice is a difficult one; for others it's a matter of sanity versus outright stupidity.And I'll admit, when it comes to the two GOP frontrunners, Decision '16 pretty cut and dry for me: #NeverEither.But these political choices have me thinking about another choice, and maybe the parallel is more obvious than ever in this political season. Namely, the choice, the … [Read more...]

America Walks the Emmaus Road: Brian Zahnd on the Secular and the Sacred

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of Brian Zahnd’s brand new memoir Water To Wine. Brian has been gracious enough to let me share portions from each chapter every week for the next couple months. Chapter 7 may be the fullest exposition of Bishop BZ's central thesis: that more secularism is precisely what the church doesn't need (and more sacredness is precisely what we do need). And it starts with a timely illustration:A sense of the sacred may be what we need most of all right n … [Read more...]

Victory Over the Devil: Jeremy Myers On the Accuser and the Atonement

On the cross, Jesus was victorious over sin, death, and the devil. While Christians often understand how Jesus was victorious over sin and death, we sometimes struggle with how Jesus defeated the devil. We must not think that between His trial and His resurrection, Jesus engaged in some sort of cosmic Western gun duel with Satan. It was not as if Jesus and Satan met on some dusty road in hell, each one squinting and grimacing at the other waiting to see who would draw first with the end result … [Read more...]

Gentler, Quieter, More Patient: Brian Zahnd Leaves Immature Faith Behind

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Brian Zahnd’s brand new memoir Water To Wine. Brian has been gracious enough to let me share portions from each chapter every week for the next couple months. This chapter dives into a particular part of Brian's transition, inspired by St. Francis - from immature impatience to a gentler, quieter faith:I had cut my teeth on the eighteenth and nineteenth-century revivalists, but after three decades of that kind of Christianity, I came to real … [Read more...]

Brian Zahnd on the Anger and Fear Destroying Practice of Contemplative Prayer

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of Brian Zahnd’s brand new memoir Water To Wine. Brian has been gracious enough to let me share portions from each chapter every week for the next couple months. This one builds upon the previous steps in Brian's journey by disclosing the anger and fear destroying practice of contemplative prayer:Contemplative prayer is prayer without agenda, and largely without words. But this is not to be confused with just "thinking" about something. This is b … [Read more...]


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