Rooted: (How Not to) Rage Against the Machine

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Since I've gone and quit the Progressive Christian Internet already this year, it makes sense that I might blast out another new year exhortation, this time regarding our tendency to rage against the machine in ministry and mission.Specifically, I'd like to touch on the tendency for missional pastors and ministers to become radically anti-institutional in our zeal for reaching a post-Christendom culture. To, in essence, rage against the denominations, organizations, structures, programs, … [Read more...]

Worship, Worth-ship, & Sleeping Committees

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Got to share one of my favorite Wright quotes today as a reflection at First UMC Burlington. It's from his (underrated) book, For All God's Worth: True Worship & the Calling of the Church. And it has to do with the definition of worship, which was relevant because First UMC's mission is to be a worshiping community, walking in the way of Jesus, believing in place.Check it out and let me know if it resonates: The word ‘worship’ means, literally, ‘worth-ship’: to accord worth, true value, … [Read more...]

Resolved: Quitting the Progressive Christian Internet in 2014

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I have a New Year's Resolution to share.It isn't quit smoking (never started). And it isn't lose weight (well, it probably should be). It isn't even one of those vague ones like be happier or be healthier or take more time for me (the latter, of course, being impossible when one works for a living and has two tiny humans to keep alive and happy). No, this Resolution is somewhat non-traditional. But it is, by my reasoning, vitally necessary: I'm quitting the Progressive Christian Internet in … [Read more...]

The Christmas Post

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I know. Your feeds have been inundated these past few days with posts about The Christmas Story. Some have inspired with deep reflection. Others have guilt-tripped with consumerism protests or anarchist manger diatribes. Still others have been so cheesy as to cheapen the Incarnation itself, like a Wal-Mart version of the Word Made Flesh.This is certainly an 11th hour offering (ok, it's technically the day after Christmas), and I hope it's not too cheesy. My aim is to inspire. But honestly, … [Read more...]

Frank Schaefer & Phil Robertson Take Communion

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The pastor of the local United Methodist Church (where I've attended and collaborated over the last year) recently offered his thoughts about the events surrounding Pastor Frank Schaefer. While some of it is internal UMC shop-talk, I think his perspective is challenging to the church at large. Here's an excerpt: I write as one of the pastors at First UMC Burlington.  I do not represent our entire congregation.  Here is my dream for our church. Let us be fully, completely inclusive.  That means … [Read more...]

My #2013 Writing Elsewhere

It's  been a wonderful year here on the blog, and I so appreciate everyone who has read and joined the conversation. Ya'll are a huge blessing to me.It's also been a really fun year for writing elsewhere. Here's a roundup of the pieces I wrote that were published in other places:HuffPost Religion:Smokin' Hot Wives & Water for the SoulA False Gospel of ReconciliationCalling Out Celebrity Christianity & Counterfeit JusticeJesus Will Rapture the Church Out of … [Read more...]

Incarnational Boundaries

As the season of Advent rolls on, we inch closer and closer to the moment of release, when our waiting gives way to the celebration of Incarnation.Simply put, Incarnation means embodiment. It's the idea that in the Messiah divinity became forever intertwined with humanity, and the original purpose of the pinnacle of creation - humankind - was reified and super-fulfilled. That is, because of Jesus, our entire embodied reality was affirmed as holy and spiritual, even as we are invited to be … [Read more...]

I’m a Jesus Feminist Because…PAUL!

Before this faithfulness arrived, we were kept under guard by the law, in close confinement until the coming faithfulness should be revealed. Thus the law was like a babysitter for us, looking after us until the coming of the Messiah, so that we might be given covenant membership on the basis of faithfulness. But now that faithfulness has come, we are no longer under the rule of the babysitter. For you are all children of God, through faith, in the Messiah, Jesus. You see, every one of you who h … [Read more...]

A Covenant in Sans Serif

So I have this tattoo.Sometimes, when my sleeve isn't rolled up quite high enough, it says COVEN.Pretty sure that's the reason it caught the attention of some folks at an event last week. They came over to inquire. I revealed the full word and told them the meaning. They took the picture.Fact is, the tattoo was inspired by the work of my favorite theologian, N.T. Wright (who coincidentally also inspired my second child's middle name). Tom Wright has done some amazing work tracing the … [Read more...]

Not Perfect Leaders, Humble Leaders

There's no such thing as a perfect leader.Every leader makes mistakes, every leader has done hurtful things, and every leader is on a trajectory of development. If we believe in leadership at all in the church - and I, for one, do - then we've got to be real about the fact that no one is going to do it exactly right. No, not even one.And if your perspective on leadership is based on the expectation of perfection, then you will likely be driven to cynicism and despair. Because you are … [Read more...]


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