Overcoming Misperceptions

Tyler Ward recently shared what he wished he knew before he went to church for the first time.  His article is birthed out of his many life experiences, including: growing up Presbyterian, serving as a Baptist youth pastor, living overseas on an evangelical mission, assisting a traveling prophet, serving the poor through a non-denominational ministry, promoting justice with emergents, and launching multiple house churches. Ward's short list of things he wished he and also Read More …

Review of Rise of the Time Lords

Meet the Author Michael Belote is an engineer who has always been intrigued about blending his interests with his faith since becoming a born-again Christian as a young adult.  More recently, he has written prolifically about his Christian faith on his blog: Reboot Christianity. Book Basics I rarely read, and even more infrequently review, self-published books.  Occasionally, however, the content of an author's request for a review or the unique nature of her/his writing intrigues me Read More …

The World’s Christians

The latest report on the size and distribution of the world's largest religions was released less than a week ago by the Pew Forum.  This report shows: 31.5% of the global population is Christian 87% of Christians live in countries where they are a religious majority Christians are a religious majority in 157 countries So What? On Christmas Eve, it seems appropriate to think about those among us who follow the way of Jesus.  We are living at the moment in human history with the Read More …

Review of When God Talks Back

Meet the Author T. M. Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist and the Watkins University Professor in the Stanford Anthropology Department.  Her books include Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft (1989), The Good Parsi (1996), Of Two Minds (2000), and When God Talks Back (2012). Luhrmann was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003) and awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007). Book Basics T. M. Luhrmann grew up in an environment that birthed religious Read More …

Implied Messages

Jim Palmer is the author of three books, including Being Jesus in Nashville (2012).  Recognizing the wisdom of Marshall McLuhan's idea that the medium is the message, he recently constructed a list of ten implied messages given by the institutional church. Church is a place, a location, a building. Christianity happens in services, classes, meetings, events, and programs. What people need most is good information about God. "God’s work” needs organizational or corporate Read More …

Review of Unifying Truths of the World’s Religions

Meet the Author C. David Lundberg grew up around religion as a part of his family's inspirational publishing business.  Over forty years ago he realized that, for him, spiritual truth extended well beyond the biblical text.  In response, he has spent most of his life exploring the world's many religious texts and traditions. Lundberg is a minister with the Spiritual Awareness Fellowship and Pathways of Light. Book Basics Unifying Truths of the World's Religions is a thoughtful, Read More …

Can Christianity Be Saved?

As I read Ross Douthat's latest  New York Times editorial, "Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?," I knew I had to respond.  In short, he suggests that the end could well be near for progressive or liberal Christianity unless something changes rather significantly as a result of decades of decline.  While not proposing that other forms of Christianity have all fared well, he suggests that they have by way of comparison to progressive denominations. (For more on Douthat's perspective, read my Read More …

Christianity is Bigger Than

Some people are certain Christianity can only be formed into a rather specific image of their choosing.  Any religious person or group claiming to be Christian is only found worthy of such when conforming to that image.  Sadly I have encountered this type of thinking many times. Last week, Cal Thomas' editorial used this rationale to label Barack Obama as a fake Christian or as one "preaching another gospel" because the President used the Bible to support his view of marriage.  In this Read More …

The Church in 2020 – Major Changes Ahead

I have spent a considerable amount of time studying the landscape of American Christianity since the 1950s.  Any time I make a presentation on the topic, people always ask about the future.  In order to more fully answer those questions I devised a list of changes I believe to be most likely.  The original list was created in 2006, before I entered the blogosphere. When I revised the list and turned it into a "top ten" in 2009, I published it on my blog.  In light of significant changes in Read More …

Review of Religion Gone Astray

Meet the Authors Pastor  Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, and Imam Jamal Rahman have been working together on interfaith matters since shortly after September 11, 2001.  A few years ago the trio together wrote their first book: Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi & a Sheikh (2009).  In response to the many common questions they receive at their speaking engagements, they have now written a second book: Religion Gone Astray: What Read More …