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August 9, 2017

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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July 29, 2017

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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July 3, 2017

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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May 7, 2017

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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April 5, 2017

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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January 25, 2017

Scripture to Me

I was asked to describe my view of Scripture, so I wrote this short reflection as a depiction of how the Bible has come alive to me in recent years. Scripture is no longer a reflection of myself, but is a summons to know the world of life.
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January 22, 2017

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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December 2, 2016

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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October 24, 2016

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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September 21, 2016

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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August 20, 2016

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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August 20, 2016

Falling on the Sword

Men prepare for battle against the forces of darkness. At the command of their Divine, they ride their warhorses against their foes and, with the power of their Divine, they win what they think is a miraculous victory.
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July 3, 2016

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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April 3, 2016

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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March 11, 2016

To Love Them Both

A reflection on Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other." (NLT)
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February 3, 2016

Lunatic's Ark

One of my most challenging stories to date, this is a fresh look at the Noah story in four movements. What if Noah really had been the madman everyone thought he was? Do we today ever sabotage the mission God gave us?
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January 19, 2016

The Problem with "Biblical" Opposition to John Piper's Pacifism

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 […]
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December 11, 2015

Discerning Fear with the Help of Faith

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 […]
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October 13, 2015

A Life After Christ

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 - […]
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September 11, 2015

No more pooping inside.

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 […]
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July 20, 2015

scream.

When everyone is screaming, no one can be heard.
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July 3, 2015

A Nation After Christ

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 […]
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June 27, 2015

In Light of Love

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 […]
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June 24, 2015

In Defense of Truth

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 […]
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