A Uniquely American Christianity [Kevin Shoop]

Growing up in the Midwestern United States in the 1980s, I absorbed a very specific vision of Christianity. It was a Christianity that viewed the cultural revolutions of the late 1960s and 1970s as a catastrophe of immorality and a willful rebellion against God. It was a Christianity that dove head-first into national politics in order to change the country’s culture. It was a Christianity that rejected progressives like Jimmy Carter, and embraced conservatives like Ronald Reagan. Specifically, evangelical Christianity... Read more

#FFFF: Matt Greene

Is there beauty in the body?  No, I’m not talking about tanned skin and trim waist lines. What I am referring to is the body of Christ. Is there beauty in this body? I have an older brother, he’s one of my best friends in this life. He’s one of my biggest supporters and he’s had a huge influence on me as a writer and musician. But, like any siblings, growing up we had our fair share of disagreements. As... Read more

#FFFF: Emily Dause

I grew up believing that being married one day was a crucial part of my existence. Finding the man I was meant to be with would complete me.   I didn’t learn these ideas from Disney movies or pop music on the radio. I learned these ideas at church. When sermons regularly focused on marriage, adults told me to listen and store the truth away for my future union. Sunday School teachers shared their fervent prayers for their children’s future... Read more

The Main Dish at the Church Potluck [Tara Lamont Eastman]

I grew up going to church. And as far back as I can recall and I have also been going to potluck dinners. Some of my first experiences as a child include feasting my eyes on long tables filled with dishes to pass, casseroles abundant and a dessert table that was this sturdy kid’s happy dream. The variety, options, and new tastes available were beyond my five-year-old stomach’s capacity to absorb. Moving to adulthood, I not only participate in potlucks but, since I work in... Read more

The Measure of a Ministry [KrisAnne Swartley]

It is one of the cornerstones of missional theology. I have heard it a thousand times and have said it a hundred times myself. “This is God’s work, not ours. We simply join Him in what he is already doing.” Early on, I found that bit of theology exciting, freeing, exhilarating even. I could jump in and connect with what was already there. I did not have to worry about initiating anything or carrying the responsibility to create something out... Read more

The Loss of Lament [Andy Campbell]

On a hot summer night in 2012, I tossed and turned in bed, unable to sleep. I was angry and frustrated. The year before I’d been fired from a large church for “not being a good fit.” After blaming the church leaders failed to satiate my anger, I turned to blaming God. If God was omnipotent and loving, why didn’t God prevent this from happening to me and my family? I’d committed no great sin; there was no moral or ethical... Read more

Building Fences Big Enough For A Neighborhood [Fr. Tony Bleything]

There is a common sentiment rising up out of the parish that I serve: “I love the diversity of opinion in this church.” Among our members we have strong complimentarian views but we also have a female postulant preparing to be a priest.  We have a person in our congregation who recently officiated a gay wedding in Michigan yet we belong to a denomination that does not support same sex union.  We have a number of staunch Calvinists in our church that... Read more

#FFFF: Mark Moore

I grew up in an extremely patriotic family. My grandfather was in the Navy and was a Pearl Harbor survivor. He was in the shower when the attack happened and spent the first half of the battle in a towel—the second half without a towel. This is real life Braveheart kind of stuff. My dad was in the Navy and served in Vietnam. He built runways for American planes to land on, all of which are still there to this... Read more

#FFFF: Sheldon Steen

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) made headlines last week at its 221st General Assembly. At this weeklong gathering the body made a number of decisions, most of which are overshadowed by the two biggest: the decision to allow pastors the discretion to perform same-sex marriages and to divest from three companies that sell products to Israel for military purposes. These are obviously watershed moments for the denomination. One publication described the decision on same-sex marriage as a “denomination-altering moment.” And it certainly is... Read more

#FFFF: Andy Gill

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... Read more
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