What would happen if Christians could be honest about: Why there is so much religious pathology in the church. (There is quite a bit of pathology in all fields – from business to athletics to academia to construction workers.) Why so many young people leave the church. (Our spiritual formation often does not prepare them well for the doubts that come with leaving the “nest”. Yet this can be, at times, a healthy differentiation process for their development.) Why so many Christians don’t deal with their own “stuff”. (It is the same reason many non-Christians do not – it is very difficult.) Why we don’t live what we believe. (Few people in all walks of life do. This takes great integrity and awareness). Why life is still hard. (“He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” Matt. 5:45. This will not change this side of heaven). Why there is so much hypocrisy in. Read more.
What would happen if Christians could be honest about: Why there is so much religious pathology in the church. Why so many young people leave the church. Why so many Christians don’t deal with their own “stuff”. Why we don’t live what we believe. Why life is still hard. Why there is so much hypocrisy in the church. Why betrayal eventually visits every Christian. Why racism, classism, and sexism persist in the church. Why so many people in churches are judgmental. Why the church cannot meet all our needs. A friend of mine, a literary agent, asked if I could write a book responding to questions that she had struggled with for so much of her Christian life. I’m not interested in writing a book on the answers but I did expand and edit her list. I don’t find, however, that these questions are indictments on the church. Understanding the answers, actually, is key. Read more.
Where we live impacts us. I have been the pastor of a multiracial, international church in New Life in Queens, NY for the more than twenty five and a half years. It is the soil out of which I see the world and the larger church. Thus, I offer the following trends, or concerns, that I believe we need to carry to God in prayer: Evangelicalism will continue to lose young people in their teens, 20’s and 30’s who are genuinely searching for an authentic transformative experience with God. The issue of same-sex marriage and partnerships will increasingly dominate our youth ministries. We will be very slow to equip our youth leaders and ministries with a well-thought, nuanced, theological response. There will continue to be little interest for Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox believers to learn from one another. Marriage discipleship will remain non-existent or superficial in our churches. The high divorce rate, along. Read more.
I was asked recently the following question: “What, besides the Bible, have been the top 10 books that have influenced your formation in Christ and leadership?” The following is my answer. They are not in order of importance or rank. 1. Let Your Life Speak. Parker Palmer. Filled with powerful insights integrating faithfulness to God to faithfulness to your true self. 2. New Seeds of Contemplation. Thomas Merton. Written out of years of solitude and silence. Many of his short chapters need to be prayed in a lectio divina fashion, not simply read. 3. Under the Unpredictable Plant. Eugene Peterson. Brilliant exegesis and application of Jonah to pastoral leadership and the reality of serving Christ with sinners in Nineveh rather than live in the “ecclesiastical pornography” of illusions. 4. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Written in the 1850’s, it remains one of the most powerful accounts to understand racism and slavery in America. Transformed my. Read more.
During my summer vacation (or mini-Sabbatical), I had the opportunity to visit a few churches. I heard some well-delivered sermons with excellent illustrations, sharp deliveries, and technological grabbing support. I had, however, some observations that, I think, are worth pondering about what makes preaching out of a paradigm of emotional healthy spirituality quite distinct. While this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, this is what I would like to say to myself and my fellow-communicators who have the unique privilege to speak for God to His people out of what I heard this summer: 1. This is not about us or our validation. It is not about people moving towards us but towards Jesus. 2. We must preach out of deep place of prayer as foundational to our preparation. 3. Respect complexity. especially as it relates to applications. What does it mean, “God wants us to triumph?” “Position yourself properly?” Praise God sacrificially?” “Trust. Read more.
I am only now beginning to enter the space of social media, so I am very much in a learning mode. Yet, I think it is worth pondering Danah Boyd’s initial findings around racism, classism and social media. She is a a Social Media Researcher and Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, recently completing her PhD at the University of California (Berkeley).The following is an excerpt regarding her work: Speaking at this week’s Personal Democracy Forum in New York, Danah Boyd said that even among people with access to the Net, long-held social divisions of race, class, and income are starting to play out online, particularly among teens now starting to choose which social network they prefer, MySpace or Facebook. “Social media don’t eradicate social divisions,” says Boyd, an expert in NextGen behaviors for Microsoft and a senior fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “[Social media are] making. Read more.