creating the thing we fear most

I was thinking about sheep and goats today, and not just because my family keeps threatening to buy us goats.

Seriously, they do. I really have no interest in animals at my home.

Anyway, I was thinking about how we as the church are responding to the horrors in our world. Because it was on clear display this past week, the evil of this world. Continue reading

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there will be no justice

I feel like a broken record.

Like I have one track and I just keep screaming it out.

Expect this isn’t one of the hits. Something we want on repeat all day every day. It’s the track we skip. Not a secret track for those who remember them, tucked away on a CD. No this it’s one of those songs we hear and say “it’s just not for me” and move. Continue reading

gay Christian, straight Christian, liberal Christian, conservative Christian

From time to time I may use more words than necessary.

Case and point this 1200+ word post.

I have this tendency to repeat, reiterate and rephrase something a number of times.

A few have said I just like to hear myself talk. They may not be wrong.

I try really hard to choose my words carefully. To be precise and use the word that means exactly what I want.

I don’t often spend much time trying to reduce my word count as it were. Of late, I’ve been finding myself using even more words. Being specific about my motives and expressing my internal assumptions. Being sure that I don’t expect people to just know where I’m coming from but to say it. It’s been a part of me identifying my own privilege and understanding the impact this privilege has on every part of my life.

And in light of all of that, I’ve been thinking A LOT about labels.

Specifically, how we label our faith and how we label Christians. Continue reading

could you please never mention your rights again?

I kind of hate Facebook.

I feel like this isn’t my first time mentioning. It’s probably worth mentioning again.

It provides so many great opportunities for community and ways to connect that have never been available before. But so often when I go on I leave feeling angry. I leave feeling frustrated and questioning so much of who I am.

I realize that seems a little much but it’ll make sense.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked people in my life “why do I go on Facebook?”

While I don’t like all of the “look at me” posts or attempts to cultivate some kind of image that may not be our true self, it’s not those that bother most. They may bring out my more judgmental side, but they don’t make me feel angry or question who I am.

I had been pondering what it was exactly and this election has made it crystal clear.

Facebook makes me not what to be a Christian. I want to follow Jesus and go to church and be in a community but Facebook makes me not want to identify myself as “Christian.” Continue reading

pro-life, pro-choice, or pro-love?

Considering my enjoyment of controversial ideas and a desire to reflect on all things assumed, it struck me as odd when I realized I’ve never written on abortion.

Just seems like it should have come up.

It comes up in my Facebook and Twitter feed all the time.

A disclaimer of sorts to start. I refuse to talk about this on the fringes. By that I mean I will not define each side at their worst. It’s not fair and the fact that many of us chose to discuss important topics in that way is a major reason there is such disunity. Few feel it’s fair to be branded the same Christians as members of West Burrow Baptist. In the same way many Muslims would say that seeing them and ISIS as the same is wildly unfair.

So I will not fall into dehumanizing rhetoric. No expecting and then choosing to see the worst in the other side. I will not see myself as noble and the other as monstrous. It’s never the easy and rarely that clear. Continue reading

privilege, homosexuality and the church

Opinions are nothing new to me.

I have one or two. You may have even heard some of them.

The reality however is that I have a load of opinions, like most people, that I don’t share. I keep them to myself. Some are long held, some new and emerging, but ultimately there are few that I share widely.

I choose not to for a whole host of reasons.

A question my mother would often ask me, “to what end?” comes up a lot. Why would I share this opinion? Why would I engage with this person? Best case scenario what happens? What’s likely to happen?

Does me getting into an argument help at all?

That’s why I keep the vast majority of my opinions to myself. It’s just an argument waiting to happen and frankly, I don’t like arguing. I LOVE discussing, but as we all know arguing and discussion are profoundly different. I love to be pushed and to be challenged, but only if it’s a two way street. I have little interest in getting yelled at.

A good friend of mine brought forward and interesting idea this weekend that I haven’t been able to shake. In part because he’s right and I was wrong. I REALLLLLLLLLY hate being wrong. But also because it shows within me how much more growth I need. How, despite all I’ve tried to learn, I’m still so wildly unprepared, uneducated and unware. Continue reading

a Christ like church

Prepare to be surprised.

I love church.

I know, you can see it in all my writings can’t you? It’s the obvious and overwhelming theme of all I write.

But I do, I really and truly love it. While most people will, and should, read the above sentence as sarcasm, with the utmost seriousness, my love of church is one of the driving factors behind why I write. It actually is an overwhelming underlying theme of my writing.

And from time to time I think it’s good to step back and remind people of that. The same thing happens in my work. I work supporting and building community. There are a lot of parallels to church.

And if you work with my for any length of time you’d get the sense I find it all awful. People suck, they make everything hard, the system is broken, and it all just seems kind of hopeless. From time to time I forget that not everyone sees things how I do. Not everyone understands the starting point. Not everyone is using the same lens as me.

Community is my passion. I want it in my life and in the lives of the people I work with so bad I will do anything I can to breakdown, change, or better the things that hold it back. And so I work really hard identifying the barriers, struggling through them, trying to find solutions and ways to make community better, easier, more inclusive. Continue reading

when is an either or answer simply yes?

I wrote that

“Well, we speak the truth and love and sometimes love is harsh. Sometimes we need tough love. Sometimes people need a dose of reality to learn, change, grow, etc.”

And it does sound like it makes sense. We can see when someone might need it. We can talk around it.

Why doesn’t it work?

Why when it seems so clear and so obvious doesn’t it work?

I think it’s the posture of the heart. This approach or starting point comes from anger, or pride, or judgement. It doesn’t’ come from love. This isn’t grace, we’re not in the mess grieving with the person. We are out of it and seeing how much we know how wrong they are.

Does it mean we can’t be frank or direct? No, of course not.

But a frank and direct comment in love is really different than a dose of reality. And it comes from relationship. It comes with history and back story and an understanding built over time. There is nuance and grace. Not a message on twitter or a comment on Facebook to a stranger who needs to see how wrong they are. Continue reading

a Pharisee in Jesus’ clothing

Christians can be…… harsh.

We can be brutal, hostile, full of venom and hate actually. And no I don’t think that’s a little harsh.

I’m careful to use the word we here. I’m right in the thick of this. Trust me, I see my own plank.

But how? Why can’t we see what we’re doing? How do we get dragged into, or perhaps down to, this type of posture?

Well, we speak the truth and love and sometimes love is harsh. Sometimes we need tough love. Sometimes people need a dose of reality to learn, change, grow, etc.

At least that’s the narrative.

There’s a story that comes to mind when I think of “speaking the truth in love.” A proof text to share why the shaming, blaming, calling out and judgment we are setting upon someone is ok. “….go and sin no more.”

It’s the story of a woman caught in adultery.

The sad reality I’m seeing is that while we want to be Jesus, full of grace and hope, restoring and offering a life of depth and beauty that isn’t’ found elsewhere, we often aren’t. Sure sometimes we’re the woman, our shame for the world to see, naked and afraid of what this humiliation will mean.

All too often though, we’re the Pharisees. But we’ll get to that in a minute. Continue reading

what if Jesus has nothing to do with hell?

This may be wildly inaccurate.

It probably is, but I’m ok with that.

I’m not a theologian. I don’t make claims to be. But this idea has been rattling around in my head and even if it’s not theologically perfect, the lens it creates is amazing.

So I’m going to share it. The idea comes from Brian Zahnd, who by the way knows his stuff.

He recently wrote a brilliant blog called “sinners in the hands of a loving God

In that he wrote:

“But the deeper truth is that we are more punished by our sins than for our sins.”

And this idea is challenging and changing so much for me. I just see implications everywhere.

At its core the idea speaks to our concept of judgement. Continue reading