Starting a New Semester: Lessons of Grace and Discipleship [John Hawthorne]

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The Thursday after Labor Day is the first day of classes at Spring Arbor. It’s my 33rd start to an academic year as professor or administrator. I’m teaching three classes this fall (I have a one course release for administrative responsibilities). Two of them I teach every fall. The third is a new course for me at SAU but I’ve taught it a few times before.  Once I get to August, I start transitioning from my vacation pace to my pre-school pace. My mind is occupied by a predictable set of questi … [Read more...]

3 Characteristics of Authentic Forgiveness (Sans Denial)

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When navigating the topic of abuse and harm in the church, it's easy to trip up on the Christian principles of grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Really, it can seem difficult to hold onto the importance of safety, justice, and healing for victims of abuse and harm while also holding tightly to the gospel, because the gospel seems to level the playing field (we're all sinners) and offer a universal promise (grace and forgiveness for even the chief of sinners). How then can we make a dis … [Read more...]

Normalizing Discomfort- When Picking Up the Phone Feels Weird [Kelly Green]

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I don’t want to romanticize the call to diversity within church communities. Especially for introverts like me who like to have our few close friends that get us and are perfectly content to live out the rest of our days with only those select few. Knowing we need a table big enough for everyone is one thing. Setting it and inviting the guests that Jesus talked about inviting is another thing entirely.We fight for the marginalized, but it gets trickier when we’re talking about individuals ins … [Read more...]

Ecclesial Anamnesis and the Need to Remember [Nicholas Coates]

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Moses stood on the banks of the Jordan River and looked out over the Israelites who were about to step into the land promised to them by God. Their exodus was now over - an exodus which had seen deserts wandered, bread falling from the sky, armies avoided, and seas crossed; an exodus which had displayed God’s faithfulness and love again and again. Yet, despite the miraculous and memorable journey, Moses stood before them and said:“Take care that you do not forget who you are, where you come f … [Read more...]

“Noah” and the Boring Fundamentalism of Hollywood Bible Movies

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Sometimes evangelical Christians make movies.And usually they are horrible.They are marked by an agenda - to evangelize the viewer - which leads to inane, superficial art. The themes are poorly executed and overwrought. Instead of life imitated in inspiring ways through the medium of film, a sermon is smugly preached at an inferior audience.It all feels very fundamentalist. But recently, the cultural winds have been blowing Hollywood heavyweights toward making movies about the … [Read more...]

Beyond Engagement: Will These Bones Live? [Daniel Karistai]

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The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?'  -Ezekiel 37:1-3 This is the third and final post of a series of thoughts and questions I've been working through on the topic of Participation.  It has been more of a … [Read more...]

Zombie Apocalypse and the Perseverance of Ethics [David Kludt]

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Escape Plans and the Zombie Apocalypse Living in Los Angeles, a common fear is that "The Big One" could strike at any moment. In Southern California, "The Big One" is shorthand for a massive earthquake that would (will?) devastate our cities and our life together. In addition to earthquakes, our proximity to Hollywood means we like to write, create, watch, and talk about the Zombie Apocalypse that could (will?) wreak havoc on life as we know it.Whether Zombie Apocalypse, a global climate cr … [Read more...]

Learning to Walk Backwards [Fr. Tony Bleything]

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They say that the best improv artists have learned the art of walking backwards.  Good improv artists keep an eye on the past story while building it in creative unexpected ways, which moves the action forward.  The ascension of Jesus Christ enlists the church in the greatest improv event in history.  As the body of Christ, we are called to learn to walk backwards.  We are asked to keep our eye on the story of God as we move out in creative and unexpected ways that reveal the Kingdom of God to a … [Read more...]

Meditation on a Twitter List (Over 1,000 Dead) [James Gribble]

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I have a Twitter list dedicated to Neo-Calvinist/Young Restless Reformed/TGC/SBC-type leaders. During the destruction of Gaza over last four weeks, that list has produced two tweets on the subject. Over 1000 dead in Gaza. I've seen one tweet praising Israel for standing strong in the face of oppression and one explaining how Palestinians are to blame for what they're suffering. However, the list has not been silent. With around 100 posts a day, what has this list been tweeting about as Gaza … [Read more...]

Learning the Art of Sketchnote Preaching [C. Wess Daniels]

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Two years ago I spent the month of September writing the majority of my dissertation, “A Convergent Model of Hope: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture.” During the third of my four weeks off I hit a major wall. I had written three chapters and was at the point that I needed to bring together a variety of key ideas and thinkers and I just couldn’t figure out how they all wove together - not exactly where you want to be this late in the game but that is where I was with it. My … [Read more...]


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