No Virtual Reality: Praying With Our Bodies [KrisAnne Swartley]

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There are two realities (maybe more?) that we live in these days - virtual and material. I am certainly not the first to take note of this, but it bears repeating. Sometimes the virtual world of social media, emails and texting seems more real than the material world in which my body exists. I walk into a restaurant and see the glow of screens as people share a meal together, but fail to look at or interact with each other in that moment. As they walk in the door at 3:45pm,I ask my kids how … [Read more...]

Ecclesial Agriculture [Fr. Tony Bleything]

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The American church needs tree farmers in the city.Want to know why?Because when trees are planted the environment is sustained. Once trees are removed in order to make room for some other vegetation (i.e. corn), then the earth must be plowed to make it ready for planting. This process of plowing, planting, and harvesting leads to erosion of the soil. Depending on the area, this process of plowing, planting and picking can take place about ten times before the earth erodes, and once it … [Read more...]

The Smell of a Place [David Kludt]

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I live in a beautiful and diverse neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles. Depending on which way I walk when I step outside my house, I enter either Little Armenia or Thai Town. Some of our favorite local spots are owned by Salvadoran and Filipino families. If I venture out bit further I walk through Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, hipster-filled Sunset Junction, or into the glamor of the Hollywood Hills.This might sound strange, but one of the ways I've recently been coming to notice and … [Read more...]

Testimony Evangelicalism [John Hawthorne]

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Having recently come through Holy Week, I notice how important personal contact was in the Gospel Story. A woman early in the morning who meets one she thought was a gardener and then goes to tell others, “I have seen the Lord!” Two disciples walking the Road to Emmaus who have an encounter with Another and then go tell others how their hearts were strangely warmed.This is actually present throughout the scriptures. The shepherds go and tell others what they saw. So does the Woman at the Wel … [Read more...]

Heaviness [Kelly Green]

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There are days I wake up with a heaviness in me, remembering the fight of the night before, the less than holy words, and the aggravation of living in a world that contains people that do not think the way I do, value the things I value, or see the world as I see it.You know, people that are not exactly like me.While longing for freedom, I feel my own postural bent towards oppression, grasping for control, even as I desire to walk alongside.These are the days when my God-given … [Read more...]

Losing an Angelic Troublemaker [C. Wess Daniels]

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We need in every community a group of angelic troublemakers. Our power is in our ability to make things unworkable. The only weapon we have is our bodies and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn! - Bayard Rustin A few weeks back, I found myself sitting in dimly lit basement filled with people I didn’t know, hearing stories about a man we all loved. There were only a few familiar faces in the crowd, but yet it was clear that we all had a much deeper and shared story than was obv … [Read more...]

Doing Nothing [Levi Holland]

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Call it consumeristic, call it good stewardship, call it being efficient and productive, whichever we choose, there is a sense of needing to accomplish things from which to derive our worth. Numbers aren't everything, but they tell a story of doing something right, right? The amount of people we "win" for Christ tells a story of proclaiming the gospel, correct? Why, then, do I not see this as my goal as one who has been called to pastor and preach? How does this not seem to be the nature of the … [Read more...]

The Tolerance Range [Kevin Shoop]

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Perhaps the most difficult thing about identifying as a Christian is getting along with other self-identifying Christians. We even fight over the definition of the word: “if you don’t believe/do _______, then you aren’t a real Christian.” The disagreements that divide us are more complex than simply progressive vs. conservative. Diving deeper, one can see multiple divisions between those who are closely aligned theologically and politically. As a progressive Christian, I’ve seen these divisions f … [Read more...]

A Ritual for Congregational Confession [Anderson Campbell]

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Confession has gotten a bad rap. In our strengths-driven, success-oriented, put-on-a-good-face, USAmerican culture, we don’t like to deal with our shortcomings, our failings, our sins. We deny, we equivocate, we rationalize, anything we can think of to avoid having to deal with the ways we’ve failed to love God, to love others, and love ourselves. We sweep those things far under the rug, out of sight, out of mind, where they fester and gnaw at our insides.In confession, we are asked to con … [Read more...]

Whiteness on Display: JD Greear and the Southern Baptist Convention on Homosexuality and Slavery [Brandon Wrencher]

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This is not about homosexuality. It's about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Bible offends every generation in different ways. Preaching against homosexuality in our day is about as popular as preaching against racism and slavery in Charleston, South Carolina in 1861. And I'm sure the politically correct people back then said ‘you know what? You're just creating a lot of waves that are unnecessary...just preach the gospel!’This is the commentary of mega-church pastor of The Summit, JD Gree … [Read more...]


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