A Too Safe Jesus

Mark Osler, professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas Law School, recently wrote about the common American perception that Jesus was not all that dangerous and therefore his actions did not rise to the level of warranting the criminal punishment of death.  He has hosted numerous re-creations of "Jesus's trial, under the current law of the state which hosts the event." To help attendees reconsider the radical nature of Jesus' message, Osler mentions several claims: I urge them to consider Read More …

Being Fully Present

I follow the way of Jesus.  This means seeing the world and my interactions with all within it differently.  As I continue on the journey of faith I find it easier to approach life from this vantage yet more challenging to respond appropriately to the many situations that are a part of daily living.  In many ways the more I learn and the more I experience, the more I recognize my own shortcomings. So What? There are many ways to live the way of Jesus in the mundane and everyday activities Read More …

Unity in Your Church

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared four ways you can advance the cause of unity within your local congregation/church/community of faith: preach on it, talk about Jesus' emphasis on it, model it, and get everyone on the same page -- literally (using a single resource for congregation wide study). So What? While I usually use this blog as a forum to promote Christian unity on a broader scale, it is of great significance that this begin Read More …

A Word of Hope

Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, shared this powerful one minute (71 seconds) message of hope yesterday.   So What? As we near the conclusion of what has been an unusual and, for many, challenging week Hanson's reminders are timely and timeless: Wherever you are . . . the promise is Christ is with you. Christ comes and says to you, "peace be with you." There are no God forsaken places and there are no God forgotten Read More …

The Church’s Seven Deadly Secrets

Meet the Author Paul H. Jones is Professor of Religion at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY.  An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Jones has written two books: Christ's Eucharistic Presence: A History of the Doctrine (1994) and The Church's Seven Deadly Secrets (2013), and has co-authored two additional texts: The Structure of Religion: Judaism and Christianity (2005) and 500 Illustrations: Stories from Life for Preaching and Teaching (1998). Book Read More …

Review of Altar Ego

Meet the Author Craig Groeschel is the founding pastor of LifeChurch.tv, which has grown from a single campus in 1996 to a multi-campus church with weekly worship experiences in fourteen locations, including an online campus.  Groeschel has written six books, including The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist (2010, read my review here) and It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It (2011). Book Basics Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are is Read More …

Review of Occupy the Bible

Meet the Author Susan Thistlethwaite is a Professor of Theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary, and previously served as the institution's president from 1998 and 2008.  She is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, serves on the Boards of the Center for American Progress and the Interfaith Youth Core, and writes a weekly column for the Washington Post.  Thistlethwaite's previous books include of Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Alternatives to War, edited with Glen Stassen Read More …

Denominational Apology Sunday

Lillian Daniel, UCC pastor and author of When Spiritual but Not Religious is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church (my review), recently wrote a humorous piece for the Huffington Post entitled "The Church Year: New and Improved."  In this article, she lists and briefly explores eleven completely made up prospective additions to the church year including Bad Preaching Sunday, Jesus, My Buddy! Sunday, and Not Everyone Has a Nice Mother Sunday. My personal Read More …

1,000 Posts

In June 2009, some 44 months ago, I launched this blog.  My initial goals were quite modest: Learn more about blogging and social media by deepening my own engagement Share my thoughts on timely topics with an emphasis on raising questions rather than offering answers Encourage conversation about matters of faith that matter (within and beyond the congregation I was serving) After a few months of posting on an occasional basis, I began to be more intentional about when I posted. Read More …

Religion is Morally Neutral

An account of a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu includes Tutu's words below, which explain how he understands religion as morally neutral: And you have to remember that religion is of itself neither good nor bad . . . Religion is a morally neutral thing. It is what you do with it. It is like a knife, a knife is good when you use it for cutting up bread for sandwiches. A knife is bad when you stick it in somebody’s gut. Religion is good when it produces a Dalai Read More …