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

June 2, 2018

It’s not necessarily a hot take to point to 380 AD as a pivotal moment where the church lost its way, but it’s true. Together, emperors Constantine and Licinius had issued the Edict of Milan in 313 which ended the persecution of Christians. For once, Roman Christians could catch their breath. Religious torment in Rome was coming to an end for this relatively new religion. In fewer than 70 years, everything would change again. Emperor Theodosius issued the Edict of Thessalonica making Christianity… Read more

April 26, 2018

The on-again-off-again relationship between Christians and alcohol always reminded me of Ross and Rachel on Friends—an uninteresting plotline involving two dysfunctional entities. For every endearing moment (Trappist breweries), there was a ridiculous one (Carrie Nation taking a hatchet to bars in the early 1900s). Christians have always had a tempestuous relationship with booze. During the early part of the twentieth century, American evangelical Christians were often teetotalers (and private imbibers—let’s be honest). I go to a Nazarene church where alcohol… Read more

April 24, 2018

I’m always late to the party. I was watching a recent SNL featuring John Mulaney/Jack White, and they did a skit about Wild Wild Country. I hadn’t heard of the documentary, but I knew that for them to be satirizing it, there must be some buzz around it. I looked into it and discovered the six-episode documentary series on Netflix. I turned it on at about 9 p.m. on a Tuesday night and watched the first five hours. It completely sucked me in…. Read more

April 5, 2018

It’s time we shook off some of the myths that we’re regularly taught in the church. Don’t worry; I’m not talking about prominent doctrines. I’m just talking about the funny little fibs we’ve heard so often that we simply accept them as being scripturally accurate. 1. Jesus didn’t change Saul’s name to Paul As the legend goes, Saul—the maniacal persecutor of Christians—was on his way to Damascus when Jesus knocked him into the dirt. At that moment Saul was blinded,… Read more

January 29, 2018

For the 25 years that I’ve been a Christian,  the “God-shaped vacuum” is one of the most consistently used metaphors I’ve heard. This concept springs from Pensées, a collection of writings from French mathematician, Blaise Pascal: “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that… Read more

January 25, 2018

In October of 1968, Johnson called a halt to North Vietnamese bombings to fuel peace talks. The Soviets had promised that if the attacks stopped, Hanoi would come to the negotiating table. The end to a war that had already claimed 30,000 American lives was in sight. But in the eleventh hour, South Vietnam walked away from negotiations, and the U.S. stayed in the war for another five years. As we now know from recently released papers from H. R…. Read more

January 17, 2018

Years ago I led my small-group discussion on Christ’s troubling parable about Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19–30). It’s a harrowing story about a poor man named Lazarus who’s ignored every day by a very wealthy man. When they both die, they experience a biblical Freaky Friday. It’s the rich man who suffers torments while Lazarus is comforted. The message is clear. We can make sacrifices for others today, or have the choice made for us later. Imagine my disappointment when—instead of wrestling with… Read more

January 14, 2018

I have a lot of atheist friends, and I’m never defensive when they talk about their disbelief. I get it. There are a lot of days where I dance back and forth between struggling theist and part-time atheist myself. I don’t wrestle with the same questions that they do. After all, I have an incredible ability to live with ambiguity (but I’m not entirely sure if this is a superpower or a character deficiency). I’m comfortable with unresolved tension and flourish… Read more

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