#FFFF: Abby Norman

I don’t want to be your white savior.When I tell you about the schools I used to teach at, the ones that burn in my heart, the ones I cannot stop thinking about on my slow drive up to my current suburban classroom, it is not so you can be impressed with me and what I used to do. It is not so you can say how hip and with it I am. I am not some sainted super-hero. I am just a girl with a teaching degree trying to pay off her student loans.I don’t want to be your white savior.I don’t wan … [Read more...]

Rooted: God Has Hands [Jim Kast-Keat]

Hands It was an especially windy day in Jerusalem.The followers of Jesus had gathered together, unsure of their next step in living into this “age to come” that their recently departed leader had told them was at hand. And then, filled with the breath of God, they are inspired (which literally means “with breath”) to live as the people of God in a radically new way.They feed the hungry, care for the poor, and attend to any among them who has need. They see the world around them and inste … [Read more...]

Rooted: Sacrament to the World [Nick Coates]

 There’s a few every Sunday morning. Usually, when I look out at the congregation everything looks a little blurry, but a few faces typically stand. And while I’d love for these to be the faces of those with rapt attention, nodding along, grunting their primordial ‘amen’s!,’ these are the faces belonging to the people who have never been to a liturgical worship service before, and clearly have no idea what’s going on.You can tell by the combined look of confusion and wonder. Its prob … [Read more...]

Rooted: The Apophatic City [Daniel Karistai]

 From time to time I enjoy playing “tourist” in my city, New Orleans.And given that we receive several million tourists every year that’s not a difficult thing to do. If I’m with my wife we will usually find something new to do, but when I’m alone I have a little bit of a ritual. I’ll hit one of my favorite coffee shops behind the cathedral on Royal Street. It’s really quite a place. You walk down a little bit of an alley and you enter into this European style courtyard. Even though … [Read more...]

Rooted: Making Missional Families [Mandy Meisenheimer]

Every week I deliver a Children’s Message during the worship hour at our church. The children march to the front of the sanctuary where I try my best to impart a bit of wisdom and Word in less than five minutes. It is my second favorite five minutes of the week - second only to my first cup of coffee on Monday morning. The kids are hilarious. I use props. And I slip in some of my biggest questions because kids know stuff and they are very good at clarifying things.Why can’t we see God … [Read more...]

Rooted: Missional in Suburbia [KrisAnne Swartley]

Nine days out of ten, I feel like I am walking upstream, fighting a current that is twice as strong as my legs. I am a “missional pastor” in one of the wealthiest counties in Pennsylvania. Ours is the land of McMansions, SUVs, competitive kids’ sports leagues, malls and big box stores. My township does not have sidewalks. A classic missional practice - “walk your neighborhood!” - means taking my life in my hands as cars zip past me at 50+ miles an hour. The most sustained interaction I have had w … [Read more...]

Beyond Mere Imitation: Looking Back on Holy Week [Daniel Karistai]

We’ve all heard the sermon, right? You know, the badly regurgitated version of substitutionary atonement with more than a little bit of an obsession with the eternal hellfire bit of the formula. If you don’t know what I’m talking about come visit me in New Orleans. I’ll take you down to Bourbon Street one night and we’ll invariably find a guy who is quite literally standing on a soapbox and shouting through his microphone to anybody that will listen about the sort of future they will have if they … [Read more...]

Ed Cyzewski: Can We Cancel the Rapture Already?

I know that Nicholas Cage is “starring” in a summer blockbuster that relies on an inevitable and immanent rapture to scare viewers into theaters, but I’m afraid this little end times ruse needs to stop. It’s time to cancel the rapture.Really. We’ve milked this biblically suspect, historically bankrupt, literary abomination of a doctrine long enough.Did we really need a remake of the first Left Behind movie in the first place? Did we even need the first Left Behind movie after the books? … [Read more...]

Riffing & Reviewing: Girl at the End of the World

Christians get agitated when you use the word "cult." I found this out recently when I suggested that megachurches can produce a cultish environment, especially if they have a revered celebrity personality for a leader (hence, "cult of personality"). High-control, high-demand, high-secrecy patterns can emerge, leading to all manner of hurt and abuse. Of course, this does not only (or stereotypically) occur within megachurches, but the very suggestion of such produced strong pushback in the co … [Read more...]