Radical Inclusivity

Christian leaders make news headlines on a daily basis, but are rarely portrayed as open minded or inclusive.   Jonathan Devin's "Radical Preachers Buck Mainstream Christianity" tells the story of a growing  interdenominational group of pastors known as Outlaw Preachers who are bound together by their shared belief in radical inclusivity.   Founded in 2008, the group has grown to 300 members and recently held their first conference, which was attended by persons representing "eight states from Read More …

What Is Required to be a Christian? Less than Expected

What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? is both an important question and the title of a popular new book by Martin Thielen.  According to Bob Smietana's March 13 article in The Tennessean the book was released in January and "has become a surprise hit, with a second printing on the way." Thielen is a former Southern Baptist who left the denomination when it took a fundamentalist turn.  He is now an ordained United Methodist pastor who serves as the Pastor of Lebanon First Read More …

Review of The Good and Beautiful God

James Bryan Smith.  The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows.  InterVarsity Press, 2009.  ISBN: 9780830835317. Meet the Author James Bryan Smith is an ordained United Methodist minister who specializes in spiritual formation.  He has been associated with Friends University for over twenty years and currently serves as the Director of the  APRENTIS Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation and as Assistant Professor of Religion.  Smith is a founding member of Read More …

An Overview of American Church Membership

Earlier this week the National Council of Churches released its annual analysis of church membership: 2011 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.  According to the Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, editor, the data in this year's report suggests that recent membership trends have continued: "That is, churches which have been increasing in membership in recent years continue to grow and likewise, those churches which have been declining in recent years continue to decline." The yearbook reports a Read More …