Let me tell you a Bible story. In this story you’ll hear why you think the Bible is backwards and xenophobic; but is more progressive than you’ll ever be; why we need to listen to our Jewish cousins when we study Scripture; and why chronological Bibles suck.
Ezra 9 tells the story of Israel’s people returned from exile in Babylon, rebuilding their society in and near Jersualem. But — gasp — the Israelites are intermarrying with foreign people, including, oh dear God, Moabites.
Priest Ezra, de facto leader of the people, tears out his hair, rips his clothes, and prays…
It’s clear that White Christian Evangelicalism (WCE) is diseased. Wherever you look, you find symptoms of its chronic illness: it’s support of Trump; the steady moral failings of its leaders; its embrace of conspiracy theories and rejection of history; denial of contemporary science; embrace of nationalism; denial of systemic racism and love affair with white supremacy.
But many of us—me included—have much to be grateful for from our evangelical tradition. We owe our love of Jesus, worship, Scripture, and serving others from the people who pastored us, taught us Sunday school, released worship albums, baptized us, and so on.
Fiction vs. Non-fiction. My natural tendency is to read more non-fiction than fiction. It didn’t always used to be this way, but college and grad school got me out of the habit or reading fiction. I now read fiction much more slowly than non-fiction (weird, I know). But Emily challenged me to rediscover my fiction-roots and I’m glad I did. Fiction is so necessary for developing empathy and flexing the muscles of our imagination. Imagination is a necessary skill in creating a better world.
That said, I still read 2/3 non-fiction. But I do feel like reading fiction got easier…
Hello Friends, Family, Loved Ones, and Distant Admirers. We hope that you are finding moments of joy in the midst of this unique holiday season.
How do you even begin to summarize a year like this one? How do you do it with any sense of honesty without becoming morose; or cheerfulness without becoming shallow?
In so many ways, we are all doing so incredibly well. Audrey, newly 5 years old, is just as intelligent and loquacious as ever. Her favorite questions are, “What if…?” and “What’s today’s mystery?” Audrey is — as we were informed during her parent-teacher conference…
Capital punishment is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus.
You cannot simultaneously believe that God is the God of redemption, forgiveness, and transformation and believe that the best response to certain kinds of crime is execution.
I mean, I guess you can -people clearly do. In the U.S., executions happen most often where Christians are most concentrated (85% of executions happen in the Bible Belt). But this sad contradiction is a betrayal of the very Gospel that Christians purport to preach.
This contradictory belief happens for a few reasons:
Most people believe two foundational things. One, that there is such a thing as Reality. And Two, that we can know things about that Reality. In other words, there are such things as Facts and Knowledge.
There are lots of facts that we can know just by experiencing them. If I jump off my roof, I will fall. If I don’t put a diaper in the diaper pail, my wife will be annoyed at me.
But there’s also knowledge we necessarily rely on others to tell us. I know the world is round because others have told me so. I…
A small soapbox. Ahem.
Here’s a small sampling of the number of credit hours required for some professional degrees.
Masters in Culinary Arts (“Chef Degree”)
40 Credit Hours
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
60 Credit Hours
90 Credit Hours
Juris Doctor (Lawyer)
90 Credit Hours
PhD in Engineering, History, or Philosophy
90 post-bachelorate Credit Hours (includes dissertation)
Can you guess how many for a Master of Divinity (MDiv), the degree typically required to be licensed as a minister or reverend in most denominations?
Now credit hours, classrooms, and books definitely aren’t everything. There’s the need for practical…
Someone recently asked me:
I’m confused by Elijah killing 450 prophets…that just seems so cruel and excessive. Like, if someone told me that worshipping/following God meant killing hundreds of people — or anyone — I’d be like “uhm I’m not sure about this God.” I understand that it was a very different culture and time but I just don’t get it. My culture Bible doesn’t explain it either… Any insights?
Here’s my response:
What a great question! And it’s so good to wrestle with, because it radically alters how we view God today and what we think God could expect…
Shopping is hard right now. Kids put their hands, mouths, and sometimes tongues on everything. Entering any indoor space feels like reverse scuba diving-instead of keeping track of how much oxygen you have left, you’re measuring how many viruses you may have breathed in.
I know all this. But that didn’t stop me from saying something stupid to my wife Emily.
Emily had pulled me over to her laptop to look at some clothing for the kids. I had this look of annoyance on my face, which she questioned. …
As parents, Emily and I quickly realized that it’s not always the best idea to tell your kids when you have something planned for the future. First of all, kids have little to no concept of time. You can tell them that their birthday is in 3 months and an hour later they’ll ask, “Is it my birthday yet?!”
Secondly, sometimes plans fall through. You tell them that someone is coming over for dinner, but then that someone gets sick, gets a better invitation, or realizes that you have kids and decides to run the opposite direction (understandably).