Breaking Bad Recap: The Past is the Past (& Other Lies)

Throughout the second half of Breaking Bad's final season, I will be contributing to a roundtable discussion at The Other Journal's Mediation blog. With permission, I'm mirroring my contributions here so that you can enjoy them in this space. But be sure to head over to Mediation and join the conversation there as well!--- Heisenberg is back. The midway return (not “premiere”) episode of Season 5 makes this abundantly clear from the opening sequence. Skateboarders session concrete, which be … [Read more...]

Jesus Will Rapture the Church Out of Absurdity

I was driving to work the other day listening to Christian radio when, as is usually the case during my drive, a John MacArthur sermon came on.And not just any John MacArthur sermon, but a John MacArthur sermon that is part of a John MacArthur sermon series about how John MacArthur knows every detail of the pre-tribulation premillennial rapture of the church in these perilous last days.It was absurd.And I'm not saying that to be mean to MacArthur and his ilk. In fact, just the … [Read more...]

Lifting Up Creative Christianity [& Authentic Shalom]

Some weeks ago, I published a post that was strong and, I believe, rightfully so. It was called "Calling Out Celebrity Christianity [& Counterfeit Justice]." It got some good feedback/pushback here and lots of action over at HuffPost Religion .I want to offer this post, not as a retraction, but a parallel, and perhaps balancing, affirmation in the midst of my previous denials.Where I sought to call out Celebrity Christianity before, now I want to lift up Creative Christianity. At … [Read more...]

Do No Harm: Paul in Context, pt. 2

In the first part of this theological response to neo-Reformed ways of understanding total depravity and original sin - and the potential harm in teaching these things to children - I looked at the importance of understanding Paul in context in Romans 5. Specifically, this hallmark passage for original sin theology contains a word, all, that must mean the same thing on both sides of the equation. If Adam's trespass resulted in condemnation and death for all humanity, then the obedience of Jesus … [Read more...]

Clanging Cymbals: Danica Newton on Twitter Preachers & Bad Fruit

During the week-or-so-long online conversation now affectionately known as McCoy-gate, and my attempt at a clarifying response here on the blog, I was impressed by the engagement from Danica Newton. Danica brought some calm, but strong, arguments and questions to the table, and did so with grace throughout. It's my pleasure to present this guest post from her on the issue of online preachers like McCoy and the conversations that sometimes erupt. Danica shows some real vulnerability here as she … [Read more...]

Do No Harm: Paul in Context, pt. 1

In the wake of a strong debate revolving around the neo-Reformed teaching of human "brokenness" as a form of "deep" total depravity, and how this teaching affects children, I wanted to look at a couple of the fundamental biblical issues at work.Really, I've been thinking about how modern Reformed theology so egregiously takes Paul out of context in communicating its systematic message. How the "doctrines of grace" as they are called, or the TULIP, or even the bedrock doctrine of … [Read more...]

Tell Your Dad He is Broken. Deeply Broken.

Pastor Steve McCoy recently tweeted this and ignited something of a firestorm on the internets:And honestly, I understand the backlash. Especially from a therapeutic perspective, it just sounds wrong. The emphasis - deeply - almost immediately triggers images of fundamentalist spiritual and emotional abuse of kids, abuse that is very real, abuse that I experienced as a child, abuse that I have witnessed firsthand in several church environments.But here's the thing. I've used the word … [Read more...]

Smokin’ Hot Conversations: Melinda Cadwallader on Getting Naked

All summer long, I’ll be running a series of guest posts here on the blog called “Smokin’ Hot Conversations.” These will be posts about gender, relationships, power, and the church, meant to move us to deeper reflection and conversation about the often distracting or harmful messages in Christian culture. Earlier this week I asked a question about whether modesty can be redeemed, and I loved Melinda Cadwallader's answer. So she joins us this week to expand on her view of redeeming modesty, especi … [Read more...]

A Modest Question

Yesterday on Twitter and Facebook I asked this question:Do you think it's possible to "redeem" the idea of modesty? Or has rape culture rendered it useless/harmful?The responses were just wonderful. Here are some of them:Leaning towards "not possible":Leaning towards "possible" with qualifications:Finally, this iced Americano fueled string of tweets from Amy Martin:Also see this post today by Rachel Held Evans over at Q Ideas. It clarifies a lot of … [Read more...]

Gospel Otherness: the Liturgical Shape of Mission

Recently on social media I've made a few comments like this: And this:I've also elaborated to include the idea that mission can quickly become misshapen when it is abstracted from the worship gathering where formation takes place. In other words, all of those missional strategies that pit the church "going out into the world" against the church "attracting people to itself" are misguided. They make critical assumptions about what exactly the church gathering entails … [Read more...]


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