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culture

  • Why do church online?

    Jeff Reed invited me to be on a panel discussing the “why” of church online. We tackled the big questions about what it really means to be the church in an online context, and identified the strengths and weaknesses of building relationships through digital channels. These are my detailed responses.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 time we feel anxious. The idea that we don’t have to fear anything because we have God the Mighty Warrior on our side sounds great on paper, but it doesn’t feel real when we are face-to-face with the dark sides of life. For the single mother who has no job and a growing pile of debt... For the parents whose child is laying on a hospital bed awaiting surgery… For the driver gripping the wheel for the first time since the nearly-fatal accident… For the student whose ability to afford college hinges upon one exam... ...for them, in that moment, the understanding that God cares for them feels superficial. Fear is what feels real. I cannot sit here behind my computer and tell you that I have this fear/faith thing figured out. I don’t have any answers. But I think that as we grapple together with what fear is and how it relates to faith, we learn how to keep fear in its place and nurture faith instead. I’ll lay out some of my thoughts, but I hope that you join in the conversation via the comments section at the bottom of the page so we can work through these questions together. Fear is not the same as caution. This is an excuse we use all the time. “It’s not that I’m scared… I’m just being cautious.” Ninety percent of the time, that’s a load of bull. Caution, we all agree, is important. It’s the preparation that enables us to live full, confident lives. For example... We lock our doors at night. We buckle our seatbelts when we get in a car. We check our blind spots before we merge. We get vaccinated against deadly diseases. Living cautiously simply means that we’re able to actively engage with our community because we are using common sense to avoid unnecessary disaster. Fear is a natural emotion. A friend of mine described fear this way: “Fear is about my perceived lack of control. Life has messed with my circumstances. I feel out of control.“ Being afraid is an emotion that, at its foundation, is no different than happiness, sadness, or excitement. When we find ourselves in certain circumstances, our bodies and our minds respond by making us feel scared. When we are in situations in which we don’t feel we have control, it is entirely natural for us to be scared. I don’t want to gloss over that, because I think it’s vitally important for us to understand that it’s okay to feel fear. We should never be ashamed of it. In this crazy world that we live in, fear is real. A couple of months ago, Shannon…
  • Imitation Masculinity

    I remember several years ago the must-read book for Christian guys was John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul." The book presents men as unilaterally having an inner thirst for "masculinity" that needed to be quenched by "roughing it" in the woods, exerting our physical strength, and defending our women from their weaker natures. The entire time that I read it, I had to fight back questions about myself. I didn't feel drawn to any of these things that Eldredge said should be hardwired into my DNA - was I broken? was I missing something?