January 4, 2022

How can we make the best of yet another year of isolation? We’ve already taught ourselves how to bake sourdough bread, learned a language, gotten a dog, and started yoga. But the pandemic refuses to leave us. There must be some new self-improvement activity we can take up, right? YES. I have one that is absolutely free, easy as pie, and will make you a better person! Have I got your attention? GET A LIBRARY CARD AND – hear me… Read more

December 23, 2021

Christmas for me used to be a sentimental-happy time, full of beloved songs and traditions. As an exvangelical, I’ve been taking a close look at some of those songs to see if their message still rings true. Today, it’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” If you want some background music for this post, “I Heard the Bells” has been set to a number of melodies. My favorite melody is this one; here’s my second-favorite; if like me, you… Read more

December 20, 2021

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” may be among the top ten most beloved hymns of the Christmas season because, of course, Bethlehem is the most beloved little town of Christmas. Take a break from the wrapping and rushing and rehearsals, and walk with me to Bethlehem. This Christmas season, we’re lingering over a few cherished hymns just long enough to hear the message that we might otherwise sing right past. (Last time, it was Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.)… Read more

December 15, 2021

First-World Problem of the Day for evangelicals: to choose between a foul-mouth egomaniac and an oppressive apartheid state. Such a tough decision. The darling of the evangelical world, Donald Trump, spoke out in characteristically vivid language last week, criticizing the former prime minister of Israel, evangelicalism’s favorite place. That’s right: the beloved ex-president is on the outs with the beloved homeland, begging the question: whom do we love more – God’s man, or God’s land? Mike Evans, evangelical leader and… Read more

December 13, 2021

Advent and Christmas hymns are part of some of my earliest memories, and probably yours too. This Christmas season, I’d like to linger over a few cherished hymns just long enough to hear the message that we might otherwise sing right past. (Last time, it was O Come, O Come Emmanuel.) If you want some background music for this post, here is a lovely vocal performance of today’s hymn; if like me, you prefer instrumental background, this is a wonderful… Read more

December 9, 2021

After half a century of evangelical Christian Christmases, I’m still finding my way through the season as an exvangetical. As a former choir director, my heart holds a special, often-conflicted place for the songs of Advent and Christmas. The lyrics resonate deep in my soul, since I learned many of them as a very young child – but I find some a bit unsettling. This Christmas season, I want to dig into a few well-known hymns to understand their traditional… Read more

December 6, 2021

Here’s a quick story about a recent White Savior Syndrome sighting: As my Arab-American husband and I enjoyed a scrumptious lunch in a Yemeni restaurant the other day, a small group entered the establishment and sat nearby. The place was not full, and no background music played, so I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. It was a young married Mennonite couple with a baby and a single man – all (except the baby) in church leadership. They’d gotten together… Read more

December 2, 2021

Some of the Christian women in Congress are a real piece of work. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is cheerful, engaging and bold. She stands her ground; she packs heat and tells us she is not afraid to pull the trigger. And she self-describes as a “strong Christian woman.” Boebert has been caught several times recently, making Islamophobic comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) – suggesting Omar is a terrorist and using deliberately provocative language – including “black-hearted” and “evil” (she… Read more

November 23, 2021

In a recent post, we began our discussion, “will the unreached go to heaven?” with a look at the standard evangelical answer: according to so-called proof texts, no, they won’t. The billions who have never heard of Jesus are hell-bound. Supposedly, God has revealed himself to all people, everywhere, in one way or another. Because we are sinners by nature, all people are by default in a state of rejection of whatever revelation they have received of God. Those who… Read more

November 13, 2021

When Jesus began his earthly ministry, he made clear who he came to help and how he intended to help them: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 If we want to… Read more

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