church

Facebook Christianity

For those of you who have asked, here is my column from Saturday’s paper.

Like many people, a good percentage of my social interaction now takes place on Facebook.

I use Facebook to connect with old friends, chat with people far and wide whom I don’t get to see that often, and keep track of what is happening in the lives of my family and close friends. Facebook is one of those rare revolutionary developments that has the potential to change everything about how we communicate with one another.   Read More…

Living in Full Color

I grew up in a pretty black-and-white world. Certain things were right. And other things were wrong. There was no questioning. There was no qualifying. We clung to an idea of absolute truth and absolute morality that ~theoretically~ enabled us to live lives in accordance with God’s ~clear~ design.

Many years ago, I began embracing the grayness of life. Things aren’t nearly as black-and-white as I had previously been told. Many issues are much more complicated. They can’t be reduced to easy answers, even when we think that the easy answers will make our lives easier. If there is absolute truth out there, I’ve long since abandoned the idea that I can know it absolutely.   Read More…

Blog Announcement: Next Week Is Evangelism Week!

There has been a confluence of events and ideas in my life lately that are reshaping me. A conversation with Vanessa. An experimental collective at Vintage. A book. I’ve learned to pay attention when the same theme or idea comes up in my life again and again. That normally is a sign that God is doing something transformative. This kind of confluence is usually a big deal.

It seems that lately I have had opportunity to rethink the idea of evangelism.

The fundamentalism in which I grew up sent a lot of mixed messages about evangelism. On the one hand, it was a necessary duty of all Christians, maybe even the most important duty because of the eternal stakes involved. And yet, it was the hardest thing to get people involved in. Our fundamentalist leaders didn’t take this as an opportunity to rethink evangelism. Instead, they piled on the guilt. Guilt is an unsustainable motivator. We didn’t evangelize in response to it. And that just produced more guilt. It was a vicious cycle.   Read More…

In Praise of Preaching

In the 2000 years of church history, the statement I am about to make is remarkably benign. Precious few have challenged it or thought to believe otherwise. However, in recent years, much in the life of the church has changed. In large part, I am supportive of many of these changes. I love entrepreneurial, creative approaches to ministry. I am not a chronological snob, wistful to return to some fairy-tale golden age of ecclesiology. And yet … because of the changes that have taken place in the church, what I am about to say sounds decisively old fashioned.

I still believe in preaching.

Many of my friends – good, dear friends that I love deeply – have moved toward an approach to Christian faith that has been called post-congregational. In myriad ways, this is a healthy movement, as many are rediscovering a distinctively non-corporate approach to being a faith community. Church is not buildings. Church is not programs. Church is not contained by what happens on Sunday mornings. Church is people, following Jesus on a journey of learning to love God and others.   Read More…

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