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...]

How [Not] to Speak of Mark Driscoll

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But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent - not to exaggerate it - to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. - 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 This week, Mars Hill Church released a video of Mark Driscoll getting real about the current "season" of the church.As one friend remarked, Driscoll appears weathered.Specifically, … [Read more...]

From Issue Writing to Idea Writing and Other Transitions

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One of the most difficult roads to navigate as an online writer is how to approach issues - and especially, religious issues.  1. It's difficult, first of all, because there are a lot of them. Really, there's probably the same amount that there's always been but we now know about more of our issues than ever because of the information explosion fostered by the Internet. This is a period of extreme exposure, of repeated eruptions of the Real. And, like the catalytic emergence of the printing p … [Read more...]

The Gospel Coalition Connection to SGM Victim Advocacy

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[<a href="//storify.com/zhoag/standing-behind-istandwithsgmvictims" target="_blank">View the story "The @TGC Connection to #IStandWithSGMVictims" on Storify</a>] … [Read more...]

Brad Sargent: My “Slate of Eight” Restitution Suggestions for SGM & CLC

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This is a guest post from an expert in the area of responding to abuse/unhealth within organizations/institutions, Brad Sargent. As the #IStandWithSGMVictims tag trended on Twitter yesterday in the wake of the Nate Morales conviction, Brad offered needed, concrete insights. He expands on those insights in this post.In the Morales trial, witness Grant Layman (former pastor of CLC) was questioned under oath and stated the following, according to the on-the-scene account of Brent … [Read more...]

Five Problems With Grace

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I know, I know. If there is anything sacred in the American church today, especially among younger, post-evangelical, and charismatic Christians, it would be the concept of grace.While the neo-Calvinists certainly talk about grace - doctrines of grace, irresistible grace, saving grace, common grace, etc. - they are often not so gracious, you know, to people who don't agree with them about homosexuality and hell (the latter being the place where those who don't fit their idea of grace end … [Read more...]

Riffing & Reviewing: Girl at the End of the World

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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...]

5 Good Reasons to (Temporarily) Leave the Church

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In my recent response to Christianity Today's take on Don Miller (and, by some degree of separation, Rob Bell and Brian McLaren), I said, Farewell.And while I intended that farewell to be somewhat ironic (playing off the famous Farewell, Rob Bell from conservative Calvinist gatekeeper John Piper) and nuanced, some commenters took it as a harsh line in the sand toward Don. They saw Don's statement about no longer attending church as a sign of transition. He is just making his way out of the p … [Read more...]

Incarnational Boundaries

As the season of Advent rolls on, we inch closer and closer to the moment of release, when our waiting gives way to the celebration of Incarnation.Simply put, Incarnation means embodiment. It's the idea that in the Messiah divinity became forever intertwined with humanity, and the original purpose of the pinnacle of creation - humankind - was reified and super-fulfilled. That is, because of Jesus, our entire embodied reality was affirmed as holy and spiritual, even as we are invited to be … [Read more...]

Not Perfect Leaders, Humble Leaders

There's no such thing as a perfect leader.Every leader makes mistakes, every leader has done hurtful things, and every leader is on a trajectory of development. If we believe in leadership at all in the church - and I, for one, do - then we've got to be real about the fact that no one is going to do it exactly right. No, not even one.And if your perspective on leadership is based on the expectation of perfection, then you will likely be driven to cynicism and despair. Because you are … [Read more...]


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