Category: Christian Faith

I am unapologetically, critically Christian, and this channel is where I consider the complexities of my faith and the ways I live it out in my day-to-day existence.

Community in Communion

Communion has recently become one of my favorite Christian practices, because I love the way it demonstrates (and calls us to) unity in the body of Christ.

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Reconciliation is the Gospel

We live in a broken world filled with division. We know that; we feel it. Right now, the United Methodist Church is gearing up for a special conference where they will be voting on how they can – or can’t – stay united in the midst of their passionate disagreements about human sexuality. Many Methodists are questioning […]

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2 (Non-)Resolutions for 2019

I usually hate New Year's resolutions, but I’ve been making some deliberate changes in my life over the past few months that I want you all to know about. Here are two of them that have been really meaningful for me.

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The Humiliation of Wisdom

At the cross, God gave the ultimate demonstration of reorienting the world, a revelation of the ways in which God’s priorities often did not align with the priorities of humanity. By yielding to the cross, Jesus Christ embodied a narrative that Israel’s prophets had proclaimed centuries before—that God’s ways were not the ways of humanity, and that God had chosen the path of weakness to shame the strength of the world.

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Rejecting or Reforming Institutions of Abuse

In recent months, nearly every week has contained a stark reminder of the immorality running through Hollywood. But are there other institutions we support that we should be challenging? Are there other industries that tolerate or glorify abuse that we should be speaking out against?

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Exploring the God-Breathed Nature of Scripture

In the book of Joshua, God commanded the Israelites to take the land of Canaan by conquest and utterly destroy its native inhabitants. If a nation attempted to do that today, we'd call it mass genocide. If someone said God had told them to do it, we'd call them a religious terrorist. How can we make sense of the violence of the Hebrew Bible in light of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ?

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The Evolving Identity of Holiness

How has our understanding of holiness evolved from the laws and regulations of the ancient Israelites? Do the life and teachings of Jesus Christ change our perspective on what it means to live a holy life?

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What an Emo Band Taught Me About Reading the Bible

One of my favorite rock bands from high school recently released a new album. When I listened to it, I was not expecting to get a lesson on how to read the Bible, but that's exactly what happened. This post is all about assumptions and perspectives.

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The Symbolism in my Tattoo

I recently finished a tattoo on my forearm. In total, I spent about 18 months working through the design and I get a lot of questions about what it means, so I thought I’d put together a quick blog post explaining some of the details.

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Condemn the Bigotry, Not the Bigot

Bigotry is unequivocally wrong. But as we work to achieve justice for all, let's be careful that we don't fall into the same snares of prejudice that we condemn.

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Diversity Is How We Let God Shine Through Our Cultures

What is culture, and how does it impact our faith? How do we measure the positives and negatives of a particular point of view? In this post, I explore the value of understanding our own culture and the cultures of others as we examine our lives.

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What the Nashville Statement Actually Says

The CBMW, an American evangelical group trying to revive destructive patriarchal norms in our society, recently released a statement on “biblical sexuality” called the Nashville Statement. Much of their language is cloaked in allusion to help them gain an audience within mainstream evangelical Christianity, so I've provided a line-by-line interpretation based on my (critical) following of the CBMW and my personal background in fundamentalist evangelical Christianity.

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What Israel Teaches Us About the Idolatry of Security

Christian in the United States today grapples with a desire to control and preserve its own future. Illustrated by the rise of the Religious Right in the past few decades and a recent resurgence in Christian governmental politics, we are concerned with how God works in, through, and outside of our national structures of government. But perhaps the question we should be asking is where our hope comes from. Do we rely on God for our security, or do we seek it instead through our own systems of safety and predictability?

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Still Crusading

The Crusades, one of the darkest stains on the Christian Church in all of its history, still echoes in Christianity today. Many of the systemic abuses at the root of Christian warfare are gaining traction in American culture today. The life of Jesus Christ shows us a different way to live – we must know the darkness of our own past if we hope to live into the light of Christ today.

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Losing Christ Within the Empire

Today is the eve of Independence Day, the peak of the American Christian's tendency to conflate the worship of God with the celebration of our national heritage. One of the most important conversations in this era of our culture involves two problems set up by the early church: the rise of politics within the body of the church, and the wedding between the Christian faith and the empire of the world.

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Questions About the Masculine God

The words we use carry deep meaning – far beyond the dictionary definitions of the words themselves. Are masculine terms for God the best, most helpful words for us to use today? Over and over, Scripture refers to God as "Father" and other male depictions, so is there a justifiable, biblical reason to do anything different when we talk about God?

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God’s Chosen: Wrestling with God and Humanity

Time and again, God seems to have chosen the screw-ups of the world to change history. Why is it that those who wrestle against God and humanity are so often the bearers of God's promise? In this post, I look at the story of Jacob's wives, Leah and Rachel, who were far from what we would consider "good Christians," yet became the mothers of the twelve tribes of Israel.

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An Evangelical Crossroads

A message like that of Jesus would get you kicked out of most evangelical churches today. He didn’t teach us to vote based on our own sense of relativistic morality. Followers of Christ don’t have the privilege of refusing to subsidize healthcare for others, even if it’s sometimes used in ways they don’t agree with. We must value every life, whether it’s the life of an unborn child or the life of a black man murdered on the street or the life of an immigrant who follows another religion.

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Death and Life Before Christ

Last week, Justin, one of my best friends, shared his concern that Christianity necessarily means that those who lived before Christ are eternally damned. This post is a direct response to the questions Justin posed about how people are made right with God.

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Emerging into a Community of Believers

This post is about as close a thing as I've ever written to my personal testimony and Christian calling, from the fundamentalism of my youth to the deconstruction and reconstruction of my faith upon Jesus Christ, the revelation of God.

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Skittles and Sheep

"If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem." That message, posted by Donald Trump Jr. yesterday, should be deeply concerning for Christians. The call of the gospel is not to protect ourselves, but to protect the abused, the broken, the exiles.

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Interpreting “The War is Coming!” and “Falling on the Sword”

I never do this. I don’t explain my stories. The story behind this one, though, is special to me. The idea first hit me in early 2015 and, as I tend to do, I stewed on it for a few weeks before putting it down into poetic form as “The War is Coming!” and recently rewrote it in prose form as "Falling on the Sword." Read the story behind the story here.

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Winds of Change in the Church of the Nazarene

The Church of the Nazarene is a small denomination, a true community where everyone knows everyone, yet there is a significant gap between the doctrinal interpretations of the predominantly "holiness" branches and those of the predominantly "Wesleyan" branches. These two descriptors are not exclusive, but the two seem to be drifting farther and farther apart these days. We are better than this.

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Three Reasons I Broke Up with the Baptist Church

In the first 21 years of my life, I regularly attended somewhere around 10 or 11 different churches. They all bore the name “Baptist,” but they varied in their doctrine on the scale from almost-Westboro-Baptist legalism to praise-band-can-include-an-electric-guitar conservatism. All along that scale there was a healthy dose of KJV-only-ism, complementarianism, and inerrancy-or-die elitism, but none of those things were the cause of my breakup with the Baptist church. There were three main issues that I found irreconcilable with the way I understood my faith and my life.

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