June 1, 2018

Ivanka Trump posted this photo with her son on Twitter because she’s a mom and she loves her son. The response from the Internet has been vicious with people calling her “tone-deaf” and Samantha Bee saying that she was a “feckless c***” since one trending story recently has talked about immigrant mothers are being separated from their children. When Samantha Bee got in trouble for what she said, Twitter filled up with pictures of Donald Trump supporters wearing t-shirts calling… Read more

May 24, 2018

Today, the NFL announced that NFL teams will be fined if their players kneel for the National Anthem. It got me thinking about the way the National Anthem has become the most important religious ceremony in our culture. It’s definitely more important than communion. How many churchgoers this fall will start checking their watches during communion if it runs too long because they’ve got to get home to attend the event they actually feel religious about on Sundays? I’m pretty… Read more

May 23, 2018

I’ve just been informed that the Patheos Evangelical channel has closed down the blog of evangelical whistleblower Warren Throckmorton, who was most renowned for his exposes on the plagiarism and abusive leadership of Mark Driscoll at the former Mars Hill Bible Church. Recently, Patheos Evangelical started hosting a blog for Mark Driscoll. It’s very hard not to see these events as interrelated. According to Throckmorton, the communication he received said that his blog no longer fit the “strategic objectives” of… Read more

May 19, 2018

In his sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invites all of us to “imagine a world where love is the way.” So I thought I would take a minute to do that. I will say that my first instinct sadly is to dismiss it as an overly flimsy concept reserved for a shallow Beatles song, a fake, feel-good, liberal “revolution.” But a world where love is the way is actually… Read more

May 17, 2018

The first time I walked a prayer labyrinth was at the Richmond Hill retreat center in Richmond, Virginia about 7 years ago, but walking and talking to God has been part of my spiritual life since the beginning. There’s something important about establishing specific physical places that are saturated with prayer over time, and there’s something mysterious and captivating about prayer labyrinths in particular. A labyrinth is the kind of invitation to the kingdom of God I’d like to offer…. Read more

May 16, 2018

It’s a question that’s been haunting me throughout my campus ministry career. What do I need to teach my students so that when they share their testimony, they can quote an adequate number of scriptures and check enough doctrinal boxes to prove that my ministry is sufficiently “biblical”? As a Christian pastor who cannot stop being evangelical, that’s my ingrained rubric for determining whether I’ve taught my students anything. And when my students talk in ways that don’t sound sufficiently… Read more

May 15, 2018

The recent massacre of dozens of Gaza protesters by Israeli snipers is a tremendous tragedy, just like the massacre of Israeli citizens by Palestinian suicide bombers during the second Intifada 17 years ago. For this massacre to take place literally at the same time that Christian fundamentalist end-times pastors John Hagee and Robert Jeffress were naming the US Embassy relocation to Jerusalem as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy is a hideous blasphemy against God and a confirmation of the failure… Read more

May 14, 2018

Today’s daily office epistle reading is part of the beautifully mystical letter to the Ephesians. In it, Paul talks about the “rich variety” of God’s wisdom. Here’s the passage in context: Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so… Read more

May 10, 2018

There are a number of verses in the Bible that summarize Christian salvation. Each of them frames it a little bit differently in terms of what is being accomplished and how. Today’s daily lectionary reading includes Hebrews 2:10: “It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” There’s something really beautiful about this salvation summary: bringing many children to glory…. Read more

May 9, 2018

An article came across my social media feed from the Durham Independent Weekly that two employees of the on-campus Joe Van Gogh cafe were fired without warning because Duke vice-president for student affairs Larry Moneta called up the owner of Joe Van Gogh to complain about a rap song that was being played when he entered the cafe. Moneta’s complaint was that the rap song had the N-word and the F-word. When he complained to the employees about it, they… Read more

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