Heaviness [Kelly Green]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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...]

Likes, Followers, and Friends: Finding Adolescent Self-Worth in Spite of Social Media, Pt. 1 [Mandy Meisenheimer]

It was the beginning of a new and exciting decade. I had the bangs. I had the vest and jean skirt. I knew the Running Man and the Roger Rabbit. But I left the seventh grade dance feeling worthless. I came back home and collapsed on the couch in tears. Nobody I liked wanted to slow dance with me, so I must be detestable.  As my eyes filled with tears behind my plastic pink glasses, my mother reached for a large heavy book from our bookshelf. She sat close to me, opened the thick cover, and began … [Read more...]

Church: Chile in the Borscht [Jim Kast-Keat]

I grew up in the church. Literally. My earliest memories are being pushed up and down the long hallway in the church basement in my dad's office chair. It's rare for me to recall a Sunday when I wasn't in church, first sitting beside my mom, later my friends, and eventually working in a church as a pastor. It's in my blood. It's on my skin. And as I continue to grow, evolve, and develop, so do the church communities I find myself in. Me and the church; we've grown up together. And I don't see … [Read more...]

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Threat of Incarnational Living [Scott Emery]

If you were to ask me, “Who is the most influential Christian in American history?” Martin Luther King, Jr. probably wouldn’t immediately come to mind. In the world I come out of, the likes of a Billy Graham would be the answer to that question because he “saved souls.”As a Christian American who happens to be white (and I ordered them in that way on purpose) and grew up in a middle class suburban family and Christian church, I am embarrassed to say I am not as familiar with MLK, Jr. as I sho … [Read more...]

#FFFF: Brandon Chase

The idolatry of Salvation has a trickle down effect towards misappropriating a crucial spiritual tenet - that is, of the nature of Heaven and The Kingdom. When we view life through a Salvation lens – we see things and read Scripture with a focus on getting ourselves, and then others, to Heaven. We read the Bible and see words about proclaiming Jesus as Lord, following Jesus, taking up your cross, eternal reward, inheriting the Kingdom, life in the Spirit, faithful living, and on and on and often … [Read more...]