How Comfortable Are You With Questions?

“There wasn’t space to ask questions or express doubts in my high school youth group, so I pulled away from the church,” said the young mom now married to an evangelical pastor. “I wasn’t content being spoon fed verses from … Continue reading

Opening Doors to Pass the Time

When we were kids, my younger sister and I pulled back the numbered paper doors on the Advent calendar at breakfast. To prevent daily squabbles, one of us had the odd days, the other the even. The doors were hidden … Continue reading

A Story from Savannah: Where Legacy and Tradition Fell Short

For nearly three hundred years, Christians have met for worship at a church on the eastern side of Johnson Square in Savannah, Georgia. Known today as Christ Church Episcopal, the church’s lineage is a long and illustrious one filled with … Continue reading

A Look at Liturgy: When Confession Shifts from “Me” to “We”

Confessions. Police officers interrogate suspects to try and get one. Counselors wait for the counselee to see their role in the problem and make one. Priests enter one half of the confessional booth to hear confessions of sin by individuals … Continue reading

Steps to Take to Avoid Unhealthy Churches

The harsh words laden with angry flew from the preacher’s mouth, flowed through powerful overhead speakers and dripped on the thousands seated in the church. This wasn’t the first time he’d used guilt to promote godly behavior; it wasn’t the … Continue reading

We Need to Know We’re Susceptible–Damage and Wounds Can Turn Toxic

“God loves damaged people” is great news since we’re all damaged. There are deep wounds within us, some self-inflicted, many other-inflicted. We’ve all sinned (Romans 3:23) and made mistakes, and the sins and mistakes of others have harmed us. The … Continue reading

#WhyIStayed? – A Question for Followers of Toxic Leaders*

After the release of the hotel elevator video of NFL player Ray Rice striking and knocking out his then fiancee, the #WhyIStayed hashtag trended on Twitter for days. Evidence of physical abuse is often visible, but evidence of emotional, sexual … Continue reading

Is the Church a Hospital, a Museum, or Both?

“Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”  Morton Kelsey Brennan Manning cites this familiar quotation in The Ragamuffin Gospel, where he expounds on the need for humility in order to receive the amazing grace offered … Continue reading

Creating space for spiritual seeking and seekers – what would you recommend?

Imagine you’re sitting for the final exam in your seminary class on evangelism. One of the questions for the essay portion of the test is the following: Develop a plan for a year-round retreat center, and formulate a general outline … Continue reading

Celebrity or Character: Elders, What’s Your Choice for the Pulpit?

In the 1990’s then-president Bill Clinton is alleged to have said, “Character doesn’t matter” after the Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal came to light. He asked voters to focus on his track record and effectiveness in office in deciding whether to vote … Continue reading