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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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…. Read more

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… Read more

  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… Read more

  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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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