Identity: Who Are We? Who Am I?

I am a planner.  The tendency to plan my work and work my plan is a part of my identity.  As a pastor, I planned worship themes well in advance.  Since I left my last call before the end of the liturgical year, I never fully developed what would have become the last two sermon series before Advent. Identity Identity was a big part of my work as an interim or transitional pastor.  In my last call, prior to the start of what would have become back-to-back series on identity that community of Read More …

Am I a Christian?

Christianity is the world's largest religion. Nearly 1 in 3 people (31.5%) are Christian. In 2011 following extensive research, Pew released "Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population." They found: About half of all Christians worldwide are Catholic (50%), while more than a third are Protestant (37%). Orthodox communions comprise 12% of the world’s Christians. Other Christian groups, which make up the remaining 1%, include the Church of Jesus Read More …

Christian Belief in a Personal God

Tobin Grant recently wrote an insightful article calling attention to the fact that just because American Christians believe in God does not mean that they believe in is a personal God.  Using data from the 2007 Religious Landscape Survey Grant provides graphical representations of what percentage of American Christians in each of 43 religious traditions believe in God followed by another illustrating what percentage of these believe in a personal God. Focusing on belief in a personal God Read More …

What Do You Call Yourself?

Douglas Lobb, retired minister and former executive secretary of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, recently wrote about an increasingly challenging and vitally important term often used as a means of identifying oneself with the Way of Jesus: Christian (The Congregationalist, Dec. 2013, p.21-23).  Relating his own experience, Lobb writes: In the light of today's Christian world, I find that I have great difficulty calling myself a Christian; because what is Read More …

Sermon: I’m That Kind of Christian

Sermon Text: Matthew 5:13-16 Sermon Excerpt Over the last few years, I have heard one man preach more than any other.  Ron Patterson, Senior Minister of Naples United Church of Christ, has a saying that I have come to appreciate.  While he uses many variations, it usually sounds something like this: “You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.” Let me repeat that before we begin unpacking what it means . . . “You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.”  At its core, it suggests Read More …

WHCB: Denominations

Christian Piatt includes denominations on his list of five things that are holding Christianity back.  He suggests that with so many denominations the "distinction from others like them are so minute that even the members within a given denomination can’t tell you what makes them unique."  Additionally, he argues that "with the trend toward personal and local autonomy taking hold in many Christian communities, there is increasingly less of a reason to keep such hierarchic corporate structures on Read More …

Christian? Who Knew?

Who knows that you are a Christian? According to a LifeWay Research survey of Protestant churchgoers, most Christians believe most people who know them are aware that they follow the way of Jesus.  More specifically, in response to the statement "Many people who know me are not aware I am a Christian," respondents replied Disagree: 72%, Agree: 14%, and Neither: 14%. So What? I would be intrigued to know the results if 100 people who have some connection to me were asked to Read More …

Happy Christian Tweeters

While multiple research studies have sought to determine if Christians are happier than atheists, only one has considered this by relying solely on data from tweets.  The results of this new study conducted by a research team led by University of Illinois psychologist Ryan Ritter are published in the June edition of Social Psychological and Personality Science. Ritter and his colleagues focused on over 877,000 tweets written by over 7,500 individuals following one or more of five well known Read More …

A Religious Double Standard

While one would hope that Americans hold informed, respectful, and tolerant views of persons of all religious traditions (including those who have opted to not follow a religious paths) numerous studies indicate that most people have very limited levels of religious literacy.  Sadly, one recent study found that there is a religious double standard regarding religious violence. More specifically: when people claim to be a Christian and commit violent acts in the name of Christianity, only 13% Read More …

Review of The Idolatry of God

Meet the Author Peter Rollins is "a widely sought after writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker" known for his existential view of Christianity known as pyro-theology.  He completed his formal education at Queens University, Belfast with earned degrees in Scholastic Philosophy (BA Hons), Political Theory (MA) and Post-Structural thought (PhD).  Rollins is the author of multiple books, including The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction (2012), Read More …