January 8, 2020

I don’t know if anything in Christian thought and practice is more confusing than prayer. After decades in ministry, I have found that it’s an area where people are the most consistently frustrated, disoriented, and mystified. One of the biggest problems I’ve found over the years is that we primarily learn how to do it by praying with others. This means that we have a lot of enculturated ideas about how to do prayer. We develop our impressions of the… Read more

January 3, 2020

Yesterday the United States launched a drone strike against Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. This act was more than the tactical killing of a known terrorist. It was akin to taking out our vice president or secretary of state. Knowledge of Soleimani’s bloodthirsty behavior wasn’t based on any new intel. Past administrations have struggled with the question of taking out this man who has been responsible for guerilla warfare and terrorism throughout the Middle… Read more

February 26, 2019

  Whenever Trump feels like he’s in trouble, he begins pandering to his evangelical base. After all, that’s where he’s found so much support. Earlier this year, he tweeted about biblical literacy classes and seemed super excited about states offering classes for studying the Bible. And while he’s right that many “Bible literacy” bills have been introduced, none of them have passed. As a Christian and a student of the Christian Scriptures, I’m glad these bills haven’t been finding any… Read more

January 9, 2019

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13–14). When I was growing up, these words always had a specific application. Pastors typically used as a reminder of the difficulties of getting into heaven and the importance of accepting Jesus… Read more

January 7, 2019

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Recent statistics state that one person dies of suicide every 40 seconds. And while you can find tons of articles pointing to signs that someone is suicidal, the truth is that you don’t always know. Dr. Michael Miller, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical says, “Many people who commit suicide do so without letting on they are thinking about it or planning it.” It’s heartbreaking to admit,… Read more

January 4, 2019

The Christian life is about the management of the things God has entrusted us with. Everything we have has been given to us, and we are called to steward those resources in a way that honors our Creator. This includes things like our finances and the planet, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The New Testament tells us that we must share the mercy and forgiveness we receive from God. We’re are not just beneficiaries of grace; we are… Read more

November 8, 2018

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold”—Jesus (Matt. 24:12) I used to think these words meant that as wickedness increased, people would love less because wicked people cannot love—but now I realize that’s not what Jesus is saying at all. What he’s saying is that in response to wickedness, people would become incapable of loving. Why? Fear. When we’re always worried about our security and safety, it becomes more challenging to be vulnerable, open,… Read more

July 3, 2018

I’m pretty lucky to have conversations with Christians from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Usually, those conversations go great—but occasionally they’re a disaster. I know there’s a problem the minute they tell me, “the Bible clearly says.” It’s at that point I start looking for the exit. When you drop a phrase like that into a conversation, it’s evident that you don’t understand how communication works. We’re talking about a document where it’s on us to build a bridge… Read more

June 12, 2018

Jesus famously said that the road that leads to life is narrow and only a few find it. So we can’t leave it to others to be mindful of our path—that’s our responsibility. In a world where the public expression of Christianity seems to be lost in the woods, we need to be very intentional about the way we choose to live.  If we don’t, we’ll end up expressing attitudes and behaviors that make us unteachable and disagreeable—and ultimately unchristlike…. Read more

June 2, 2018

I commented on poverty and systemic evil on Twitter, and I was surprised at the response. People were coming out of the woodwork to tell me I was perpetuating a liberal trope. My favorite exchange went something like this: “‘Systemic evil’ isn’t mentioned in the Bible, so it doesn’t exist.” “So if the Bible doesn’t use those words, the principle is invalid?” “If the Bible doesn’t say it explicitly, it’s not important.” “Do you believe in the Trinity?” *crickets* The… Read more

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