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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
About a month ago, John Piper published an article called “Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?” in which he confronted the evangelical enthusiasm for carrying firearms. Personally, I rarely find myself on the same theological page as Piper, but as I read his piece, I found that he expressed many of the same ideas […]
We live in a scary world. Every time we turn around, we discover something new that causes us to fear for ourselves, our families, or our friends. At the same time, there’s no shortage of cheesy Christian memes on Facebook reminding us to “Fear not, for I am with you always!” and chastising us any […]
For me, the ultimate goal of my faith is to live the type of life that Jesus Christ modeled. I appreciate the deep theology of Paul, I love the practical wisdom of James, and I admire the firm convictions of Peter, but it is Christ that I pursue. Christ is the one I emulate - […]
Oscar pooped in the house again. When Shannon and I lived in Oklahoma, we were around the house pretty much all the time. I worked from home and Shannon worked at the church across the street, so our fur-baby Oscar got used to having us around. When we moved back to Kansas City, though, Shannon […]
There are a lot of different ideas about whether the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Regardless of those ideas, though, the majority of Americans now say that the United States of today isn’t Christian nation. The question, then, is whether we should strive to establish the United States as a Christian nation […]
The past couple of weeks have been filled with discussions of truth and love and how to balance the two. This article is the second part of a series exploring the idea of truth and love living together in beautiful harmony. The first part, “In Defense of Truth,” sought to understand the value of speaking […]
I’ve been involved in many conversations recently about the importance of truth and love. The phrase that we frequently hear is that we need to “speak the truth in love” as a means of balancing honesty and care. Many times, though, it seems that we either fall so far on the side of truth that […]
A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me, “What is the most important piece of advice you’ve ever received?” That’s a difficult question to answer because I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years. The first thing that came to mind, though, was a message about pride shared with me back in […]
Conservative Christians, I believe in you. I love you. I admire your faith, your witness, your dedication to Scripture. I value your voice - let no one silence you! You are a crucial, effective part of the Christian faith. We need you to continue kindling our spiritual fervor for being in a personal relationship with […]
We love to be told that we’re right, especially when that validation is coming from a source that we respect. Reading blogs and articles that affirm our beliefs gives us confidence in our own sense of right-ness and pats us on our proverbial backs. As a society, we have a natural tendency to take this […]
The world is spinning for me right now. So much has happened in the past couple of months that I don’t even know how to begin processing it all: In South Carolina, an African-American man was shot in the back multiple times by a police officer. After killing him, the officer planted evidence to corroborate a […]
When I was a kid, my parents had this amazing blue recliner. It was the most comfortable seat in the house, and I loved it. The chair had some cosmetic flaws - it had a few tears and stains, and it squeaked a bit as you rocked. As my mother would say, the flaws “added […]
A couple of weeks ago, Shannon wrote a lighthearted article as a confession, and I thought it was really cool. Since then, I've felt challenged to share a confession of my own. As a reminder, this format is based on Tim Suttle’s “Monday Morning Confessionals.” I confess that I, like Shannon, have a tattoo. I […]
Note: This is a follow-up post to Imitation Masculinity. Reading that post is not a prerequisite to being able to understand this post, but you may find it helpful (and, if I do say so myself, it's totally worth the read). Men love to watch sports. Men love to play sports. In fact, there are […]
My faith has grown a lot over the years, and I hope that it keeps growing as I continue to mature. We all grow up with ideas about how life works. As we grow, we learn that some of them are right (don’t touch fire, because it burns), some are wrong (Santa brings us presents […]
In the last few weeks, I have become acutely aware of the fact that we evangelicals are horrible participants in discussions, particularly on social media. I am fortunate to have friends from a wide variety of faiths and religious backgrounds, and recently I've seen several of them publicly wrestling with tough, real-life questions. Through the […]