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...]

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...]

Placed in the Body: a Brief Reflection

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. /1 Cor. 12:18I was planning to write this long reflective piece about how it's been one year since we closed our church plant, Dwell, and how, almost a year to the day after preaching my last sermon at Dwell, I preached a sermon at First United Methodist Church in Burlington and it was kind of heavy and emotional and awesome.And how, on that same Sunday, the pastor's wife came up to me after t … [Read more...]

Hauerwas on American Civil Religion

"Americans don't know how to read their Bible well because they are Americans before they are Christians."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2om54Lp6Hxg … [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...]


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