June 2, 2020

Having watched the spectacle of President Trump’s photo op in front of St. John’s Church in Washington DC yesterday, I’m somewhat at a loss for words. Yet as a faith leader I feel like I should say something.   As I understand it, the President gave a press conference where he urged Governors to “dominate” the streets of their cities with local law enforcement and national guard or else he would send in the military to “quell the violence” of... Read more

May 26, 2020

  Riddle me this: In a world where everyone is in debt to someone, does the Christian faith offer anything that can actually liberate humanity?   Jean-Jacques Rousseau once noted that although human beings are born free, they are everywhere in chains. If you ask me, then, one of the best things faith leaders could be exploring during this time of monumental social upheaval (which is related to if not caused by the COVID-19 pandemic) is the relationship of the Gospel... Read more

March 31, 2020

In case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. In fact, the public health crisis surrounding the spread of COVID-19 is unlike anything most of us have ever seen. While I tend to agree with N.T. Wright that Christianity offers no definitive answers about the coronavirus, I do think the faith can inform a wise and compassionate response during this unique time of social distress. After all, love for God and neighbor is the heart of the... Read more

March 3, 2020

    As I mentioned in my introductory article, I currently pastor an aging congregation in rural Appalachia. I’ve not been at it for very long, and to be honest I’m not the pastoral type, but this is where I find myself for now. It’s been a rewarding experience for which I’m grateful, despite its many challenges. You see, the church is coming off of a long period of declining membership, finances, and community engagement. Prior to my arrival, it... Read more

February 6, 2020

I’m not much involved in the culture war because I think it’s a misuse of time and energy, especially on the part of Christians and churches, to be vying for political power. The Evangelical Right was the first to fall to this temptation in recent American history, but the Progressive Left is quickly following suit. It’s like we’ll do and say almost anything to bolster our advantage against the other side. Hear me out on this matter, please. It’s not... Read more

January 17, 2020

The way some Christians talk, you’d think the Second Amendment was part of Holy Writ. Or at least that it should be. Never mind the conflict it creates with the ethic of Christ. Take this new phenomenon of sanctuary counties for example. Now, if you’re a good progressive, you’ve probably heard about sanctuary cities. According to America’s Voice, an advocacy platform dedicated to the full labor, civil, and political rights of immigrants and their families, a sanctuary city is “a... Read more

January 8, 2020

Well, it’s that time of year again, kids. The war drums are sounding and the monkeys are dancing. I speak of the budding conflict between America and Iran, of course. You’ll have to forgive me. I don’t mean to make light of international conflict on any scale. In fact, I’ve been disturbed recently by the way so many of my fellow Americans talk so glibly about the possibility of World War III. This is almost certainly a sign of our... Read more

December 12, 2019

While I try to be optimistic, I think it’s fair to say that many Christians hold a faith that doesn’t work in reality. Maybe their faith “works” in that it gives them some kind of assurance that their sins are forgiven, or that they’ve got the golden ticket and are going to heaven when they die. But when it comes to the challenges of everyday life, their faith doesn’t provide the tools they need to deal. I highlighted this problem... Read more

November 21, 2019

I’ve seen many former “believers” deconstruct their faith and become atheists. For many of them, this has been a healthy step on the road to spiritual wholeness. Having grown up with a fundamentalist conception of God that was prone to violence, wrath, vengeance, and shame, they were destined to either disbelieve or go crazy trying to live up to their God’s standards. In other words, I don’t blame them. In fact, I can think of many still-believing friends who would... Read more

October 4, 2019

In that podcast interview I gave last week, they asked me about my process of religious deconstruction. To use my own description, they wanted to know how my journey from evangelical to post-progressive Christian (you read that right) took place. In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept of “deconstruction,” it’s a term people use to describe the process of “taking apart” their belief system. This process entails critically reevaluating their existing paradigm with fresh eyes. When it comes to religious... Read more

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