June 30, 2019

This past Friday, on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that inaugurated the gay liberation movement, the Evangelical Covenant Church did something they had never done in their history: voting to expel a congregation from their denomination. They did so because the members of this congregation, First Covenant Church of Minneapolis (FCCM) had declared themselves to be fully inclusive of LGBTQ people and a staff-person who wasn’t the pastor had presided at a same-sex wedding off-site in 2014. The… Read more

June 26, 2019

The gospel reading for this past Sunday was the story of the Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5 and Luke 8. For anyone unfamiliar, it’s about a man in the region of the Gerasenes who is possessed by a legion of demons that make it so he has to live naked among the tombs ostracized by his surrounding community. When Jesus meets him, he agrees to cast the demons out. The demons beg to be cast into a herd of pigs,… Read more

June 22, 2019

Our Virginia annual conference happened in Roanoke this year. As I drove from my parents’ house in Durham, my GPS routed me through some small towns in the Virginia foothills off the beaten path. And I came across a church sign that was very clever and expressed a sentiment that seemed worth pondering. It said, “Sugary preaching leads to truth decay.” One of the favorite passages of conservative evangelicals is 2 Timothy 4:3: “For the time is coming when people… Read more

June 12, 2019

I’ve shared before that I’m a survivor of childhood sexual trauma in a Southern Baptist congregation. I’ve had a lot of feelings this week watching the conversation about sexual abuse unfold at the Southern Baptist Convention. I feel like I’m supposed to be congratulating the SBC on the way that they amended their constitution to disfellowship from churches that don’t properly address sexual abuse. I’ve wondered if I just want them to go down in flames so badly that I’m… Read more

May 21, 2019

This is probably one of those awkward dad moments when I misuse a term like “stan” that the kids are using on Twitter. And it’s even more corny because it rhymes. But writing about Game of Thrones seems to require a less than fully serious title. There’s been a lot of backlash against this season of Game of Thrones. The plot was pretty clunky and awkward. But the one redeeming quality of the finale was the way that a disabled… Read more

May 8, 2019

I should have known that I was going to get snarky replies from conservative evangelicals when I said that Rachel Held Evans democratized theology. They said all the predictable things about ordinary people being totally depraved and untrustworthy interpreters of the Bible (with the exception of those who have infallibly interpreted scripture the way they have). Their criticism did help me realize that I need to further refine how I articulate the concept of democratized theology. Talking about theology as… Read more

May 7, 2019

I’m very new to the Game of Thrones world. Since some of my students are really into it, I decided I would start watching this season. And I got hooked. I watched enough key episodes from past seasons and read enough online summaries to get up to speed on this season. A major subplot this season has been the disintegration of the power of Danaerys Targaryen who now only has one out of her three dragons left. As she has… Read more

May 4, 2019

I was motivated to start this blog after I discovered Rachel Held Evans in 2011 through her blog series “rally to restore unity,” which she posted in response to the backlash against Rob Bell’s Love Wins. I was such a fanboy of hers for so long. I almost fainted when I discovered that she was going to be speaking at the Virginia youth conference that my old church’s youth group was attending in 2012 where I got this selfie. I… Read more

April 21, 2019

On this Holy Saturday, the New York Times published an interview with Serene Jones, the president of Union Theological Seminary. In it, she says the following when asked whether she believes that Jesus was physically resurrected: When you look in the Gospels, the stories are all over the place. There’s no resurrection story in Mark, just an empty tomb. Those who claim to know whether or not it happened are kidding themselves. But that empty tomb symbolizes that the ultimate… Read more

April 19, 2019

I decided to get back on the blog for Good Friday since I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’ cross lately. Growing up in white evangelicalism, I received a very distorted understanding of the cross. I think the distortions I’ve encountered are largely a product of turning Christian salvation into a white middle-class consumer sales pitch for afterlife insurance. And I believe that the good news is actually much better news than what many of us have been told. So… Read more

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