Rape Culture, Bob Jones University, and the End of Forgiveness

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After spending the first half of my life in the church, I've come to the conclusion that evangelical culture is largely dysfunctional in its understanding of "forgiveness."And nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the recent report by Al Jazeera America on Bob Jones University.BJU is fundamentalist to be sure, but their demonstrated approach to "forgiveness" is very common - perhaps even pervasive - in broader evangelical culture. And when abusive and harmful people are part of the … [Read more...]

#FFFF: Andy Gill

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I used to be a pastor, a youth pastor to be exact, but I quickly came to find that church wasn’t for me. The churches I attended felt more like country clubs for the elite, where we learned how to appear moral and nice, it was the message of, "Be everything but who you are."I was tired of pretending. I was tired of lying. I was tired of feeling forced to put on a mask every Sunday morning.I grew up in a caucasian conservative evangelical church, and have worked in only conservative e … [Read more...]

Spiritual But Not Religious – The Authentic Gospel (a sermon)

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I don't preach often these days, but it's an honor when I get the opportunity. Here's my sermon from First UMC Burlington yesterday, where I claim that religious decline is not a problem to be solved, but an opportunity to be had. The Spirit is calling us again in to the surprising work of God. Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Controlling Christianity Kills Creativity

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Much has been written recently about the controlling leadership clamp-down at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, revolving around a famous Non-Compete contract, and the numerous resulting resignations and firings.One resignation that impacted me as an interested observer was that of Zach Bolen, worship pastor and lead singer of the Mars Hill Music band Citizens. I've loved Zach's music, story, and spirit for a while now, and when a source confirmed that Zach simply lost faith in Mark Driscoll and … [Read more...]

Pentecost Survived, Pentecost Received

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Pentecost nearly destroyed me.The son of Pentecostal parent ministers who indulged in the unsafe and the extreme, always dancing on the cliff's edge, renaming constant stress and desperation "walking by faith" while languishing in unhealth - my childhood might have been the end of me.But I survived that Pentecost.And now, 35 years old, 10 solid years of grown-up church ministry behind me, including a church plant that ended painfully, surviving still and trying to sustain - my soul … [Read more...]

Yes, Al Mohler (and Tony Jones), There IS a Third Way

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Recently, Al Mohler blogged that when it comes to gay marriage THERE IS NO THIRD WAY.His curmudgeonly Neo-Fundamentalist take is the right-wing mirror of Tony Jones's position from the left. Tony, too, believes that there's no third way. It's a moment of agreement between the two poles that pretty much proves the accuracy of the fundamentalist label I've recently argued for.At any rate, Al is specifically commenting on a Southern Baptist pastor who recently changed his theological … [Read more...]

A Hermeneutic from Dystopian Fiction, or Creating as an Act of Love [Kevin Shoop]

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"If you act according to a belief, that is the same thing as having the belief." – Margaret Atwood (Toby, quoting Adam One, in MaddAddam)“We read to know we’re not alone.” – William Nicholson, Shadowlands***Before you begin reading, you should know the following:I will not be discussing the Hunger Games series or the Divergent series. I haven’t read or seen any of the books or movies. I will be sharing some thoughts about Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, which includes Oryx … [Read more...]

I Know My Place [Kelly Green]

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I am about as capable of changing another human being’s mind as I am capable of changing the direction of the wind. I just don't have that fight in me anymore. Arguments have never helped me see Jesus. I’ve been wrestling with this as I’ve moved away from seeing life as a series of problems and solutions, as Dorothy Sayers discusses in her theologically rich book, The Mind of the Maker. As a woman, I am trying to take this to heart when it comes to issues of gender equality. My role is not to pre … [Read more...]

Truth and Power: Looking at Evangelical Crises [John Hawthorne]

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I've started many posts on my blog with a similar phrase: "there was an interesting debate going on in evangelical social media this week." But lately, this sentiment comes off as trite. It feels like every day we've got multiple Twitter fights going among evangelical groups: progressives calling folks out for being abusive, conservatives writing on false prophets, people being called heretics over pronoun usage, others confronted over misuse of scripture. Frankly, it's hard to keep it all … [Read more...]

Ordination: Stuck or Sent? [Levi Holland]

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Ordination: A ritual of the church as a discerning body to recognize, endorse and empower one for the service of Christian ministry. It is distinct because the one being ordained is touched, the hands of the elders are laid upon them, bestowing faith, love and spirit. It is a very intimate moment - but is it selling out to a denomination? Is it conforming to a narrow view of church, rooted in one vein of an entire body of believers? These are questions that I had to ask in my evolution of … [Read more...]


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