The Strangest Fire

I grew up charismatic, in the 80's and 90's.I grew up in a family that joined a pioneering kind of Pentecostal stream flowing out of the Jesus Movement of the 70's, a stream that had strong pastoral personalities founding brand new churches, some of them mega, and even denominations, schools, TV stations, and seminaries. Part and parcel of this pioneering experience was an atmosphere of resistance from the non-charismatic church. There was a kind of scorn that developed among the Billy … [Read more...]

Modest Hopes for My Two Girls

It's been about a year since I started blogging more intentionally, and during that time I have learned so much.And I've learned so much from you, the readers (many of whom are brilliant writers) who comment and engage and challenge and inform me as I put my ideas and experiences out there.For some reason, a lot of what we've talked about here (and on Facebook and Twitter) has revolved around gender dynamics in the church, family, and culture. Some of the things I've learned … [Read more...]

Why I am Conservative AND Progressive

A recent conversation on Twitter got me thinking about how I find myself straddling the line between what folks might call "conservative" and "progressive."Now, my definition of "conservative" here is more literal than political. I'm not saying that I am conservative in the sense of identifying as a political - whether social or fiscal - conservative. The entire American conservative political movement is fairly repulsive to me. Listening to the local evangelical (read: baptized American … [Read more...]

Breaking Bad Recap: One Hell of a Story

The series finale of Breaking Bad was, in a word, perfect.I couldn’t be more satisfied - and that is saying something, seeing as my level of fanaticism for this show manifested in much real-world anxiety in the hours leading up to the final episode. In other words, this show matters to me. It carries deep significance. And its end carried the potential for deep disappointment (perhaps even a sad sort of TV disillusionment).Every since Ozymandias, I, along with many others, have been making p … [Read more...]

Breaking Bad Recap: Just Die

I was unable to post last week because of being sick, and, honestly, I’m not sure I would have been able to put together an intelligible piece anyway. The fact is, last Sunday’s episode, episode fourteen, was absolutely brutal. It was simultaneously the most magnificent hour of television I’ve ever watched, and the most horrible. It was, in the words of my friend Matt, like “experiencing your world collapsing around you, captured on film.” It was virtually unwatchable at times.Of course, the mo … [Read more...]

I Believe in the Gospel, and in Good People

I've spent my entire life so far in the church, mainly evangelical churches of one kind or another.I've also spent the last ten or so years in active ministry in a few different church environments - conservative Baptist, missional church plant, and, now, mainline Methodist.And one hard lesson I've learned on this journey (among a whole hell of a lot of hard lessons) is that not all Christians are good people.In fact, some of them are really bad.(Yeah, you read that … [Read more...]

Breaking Bad Recap: Dead to Rights

As last night’s episode ended abruptly amidst a firefight between the family Todd and the DEA (i.e., Gomez and Schrader), my mind immediately went back to the future.To bearded Walt.You know, Walt at the diner in episode one of this season. Walt with the automatic weapons in the trunk. Walt at the start of this second half of season five – episode nine – entering the abandoned White residence, retrieving the ricin.These glimpses of the future help to inform our perspective on the pres … [Read more...]

Breaking Bad Recap: What’s One More?

Skyler White is on board.In what is decidedly a transitional fourth episode in the final eight of season five’s second half (whew), we see the character so often maligned on the interwebs for being Walt’s incorrigible adversary complete a full 180. The turn began in episode ten when Walt collapsed in a heap on the bathroom floor, his chemo-ridden body reacting to the exertion of burying barrels (literally) of money in the desert. There, Skyler uttered words we never thought we’d hear in a reass … [Read more...]

Riffing on #Prototype: The Boy in the Bay

Do you have any idea what's at stake in you understanding who you really are?When I was 12, my family moved from East Texas to Long Island, NY.What follows here is technically a book review - but really it's more of a riff. Because Jonathan Martin's first book, Prototype, has affected me in ways that few books have. There are meaningful, beautiful, wonderful books - and then there are meaningful, beautiful, wonderful books that arrive at such a time in one's life so as to capture a … [Read more...]

Breaking Bad Recap: Stop Working Me

The Rolling Stones sang about sympathy for the devil. And in the manic teaser for next week’s episode of Breaking Bad - episode 12 - we hear the gravelly, strained, almost animal voice of Jesse saying, “Mr. White...he’s the devil.” For the last couple of weeks, I’ve primarily set my sights on the series’ protagonist (antagonist?), Walter White, and the question of his original sin. In what sense, really, did Walt break bad? Did he begin basically good and then simply stumble onto this sinister … [Read more...]