In our modern age of iPhones and data plans, when WiFi seems more vital than oxygen, a constant stream of media washes over us. Connecting to Jesus on Sunday becomes just one point of contact, lost among a million tweets, text messages, and YouTube videos.
As an unmarried believer, I still find it amazing that I am to avoid sex all of my life only to have the freedom to enjoy it the minute I’m married. What a mind shift! It’s no wonder that for so many newly married couples, even showing each other their naked bodies stirs up feelings of embarrassment.
Most conservative churches have a definition of “normal” that my friends and I can’t live up it up. It can leave us feeling confused and isolated, because most of us didn’t choose our unorthodox demographics, we just found our lives playing out on the single, gay, childless, artistic, or job-wandering stage. So, how do we navigate life in the church when we don’t quite fit in?
Where these churches err is in failing to hear the Spirit. And that’s not just a church-thing. That’s where most of us get it wrong in our own lives, too.
If we want to know if a particular ministry is being “successful” we should ask the following question: What signs of the kingdom have we seen or experienced during the past week? All other measurements of success fall subservient to that single question.
If you grew up in the North American church, especially in the 70s and 80s, you might have some fear and trepidation at the thought of celebrating Halloween. When I was small, my parents only knew Halloween as an American tradition of dressing up and going from house to house asking for candy. It was […]
These days, people are talking about “hymns” in the same way they talk about things that are “vintage”. They think of hymns as being more authentic and countercultural — mostly because they’ve been around longer than ten years. But do they really understand what hymns are or where they came from? Probably not. I have no beef […]
In an article for CNN, blogger/author Rachel Held Evans talked about giving a presentation to some church leaders on why Millennials aren’t showing up for church. She points to a few factors that research shows to be responsible: “young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science […]
We live in a culture that bombards us with the message “do what’s best for you”. It’s influence has seeped into every area of our lives. And for myself, I found it led me down a very dangerous road — a road that has tangled up the way I love Jesus. More specifically, the way […]
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity.” —Ephesians 5:3 The tragic truth is that pornography is a big problem in most churches today. 51 per cent of pastors say Internet pornography is a temptation, and 64 per cent of Christian men and […]
As much as I long to never again be asked to speak about being a woman in ministry, and as much as I want the day to come when the gender of clergy is not in any way interesting, we are not there yet. — Nadia Bolz-Weber I long for a time when gender inequality […]
She set the tray of freshly frosted Santa Claus cookies on the granite countertop and eyed me with solemn concern. “Funny hats make me suspicious of idolatry,” she said. This was the bluntest of my friends when I came home that Christmas with a sobering admission: I’d been attending an Anglican church during my first […]
They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. (Acts 2:42, The Message) Community. Everybody’s talking about it, the new Christian buzzword. We all agree community is vital to our faith, and that we have been called to it. In Acts we read about the first […]
A year ago, Mark Driscoll, founder of Seattle megachurch Mars Hill, was held up as a champion of the Christian faith. He was gearing up for the release of his new book (co-authored with his wife) Real Marriage. Mars Hill had expanded to 15 different locations across five states, with 15,000 people attending every week. […]
Consumerism. It’s so ingrained within us, within our culture. So it’s not surprising that it has bled — or maybe even flooded — into the church. Often when the issue of consumerism is addressed and confronted from the pulpit, we tend to shrug it off. Our minds race to those we consider more consumeristic than […]
When Bill Nye approached the podium in his emblematic bowtie, turned to Ken Ham and said, “Mr. Ham, I learned something. Thank you,” I was shocked. I find most public debates about science and religion pretty boring; the most recent debate — between atheist Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Ken Ham, a young earth […]
Some while ago the small Anglican church I attend moved out of its building and into a space primarily used by a local Seventh Day Adventist congregation. At first this troubled me. Why couldn’t my church afford its old space? Why would God move us from a comfortable building He had provided in the first […]
I’ve been a Christian for about 20 years. The number one thing I’m tired of hearing? “Christians! What a bunch of hypocrites!” When I hear this or read it in a dreaded Internet comment, I want to raise both fists in exasperation and say, “Exactly!” Because here’s the thing, smug Internet commenters: Christians are hypocrites. […]
“If a church in America isn’t growing younger or darker, then it’s not growing,” John Chandler Cleveland says to me over the din of clinking wine glasses and restaurant chatter. He and his wife China are en route between preaching engagements in Canada and their home in Southern California. I’m their ride to the airport […]
On April 27, the Catholic Church added Popes John XXIII and John Paul II to its list of saints. About 800,000 gathered in Rome, pouring into St. Peter’s Square and its nearby streets, celebrating the lives of these holy men as they were recognized as heroes of the faith. Cities all over the world held […]
Pope Francis reveals his spiritual boldness yet again. Recently at St. Peter’s Basilica he shocked the congregation by confessing to an ordinary priest before hearing the confessions of fellow priests during the ceremony. He continues to display his ability to lead with authority, without losing his humanity and integrity. The Pope’s boldness is infusing a […]
OK, srsly. When is Pope Francis going to get his celebrity-status foreshortened nickname? A false intimacy with the Catholic Church’s quiet storm feels a lot more warm and life-affirming to my insides than with, say, RPatz or Brangelina. If only his name lent itself more easily to hyphenated monikers. Po-Fran (no…that’s no good) is at […]
If you’re like me, you’re captivated by the new pope. Pope Francis has a way of making even the most staunch Protestants consider what the Catholic Church has to say. (But isn’t this is the way it should be? Shouldn’t we be unified as one church?) I recently read an interview with Pope Francis which, […]
As a pastor in Hollywood, CA, I’m in a context that was post-Christian before it was cool. We make no assumption of church background, biblical familiarity, or felt need for a Savior. Sometimes we have to serve for years to reach square one with our neighbors. I love it. AND! (most importantly) God loves the […]
“What do you do,” her voice strained, “when everything inside of you feels like you are supposed to do this thing, serve God in this particular way, and then someone comes and completely delegitimizes that desire?” I was struck, as she sat there, red-eyed and silent, by the complexity of it all. Here was a […]
This is a guest post from our friend Kristi Scott. She lives, works, writes and activist-izes in Los Angeles, Ca. — Note: I wrote this a week ago. Like most controversial posts I write, I was reluctant to post it. I write what’s on my heart and it scares me to put it out there. […]
There’s a new pope in town. White smoke rose from the Conclave at 7:07 p.m. local time in Rome, signaling the selection of a new leader to the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world. At 8:12, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was introduced as Pope Francis the First. “We’re going to see in this […]
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy and shall break In blessings on your head. — William Cowper, Light Shining Out of Darkness (God Moves in Mysterious Ways) The Problem of William Cowper In Evangelical circles, the story of slave-trader-turned-pastor John Newton is well known, as […]
Pastor Chris Synesael of West Village Church recently tweeted, “How many pastors get to watch Puss n’ Boots right before their Christmas Eve Service? #ChurchPlanting.” As my family and I entered through the movie theatre doors, we were welcomed into a lobby with West Village Church signs sitting tall among colourful, illuminated ticket dispensers. The […]
On Friday night, roughly twelve thousand young people gathered at Rogers arena, the closest thing Vancouver has to a communal temple, for a church service/rock concert. This was Passion’s 3rd time to Vancouver, and after the huge turnout, there will undoubtedly be a fourth. Something very meaningful that happens when a sizable portion of our city’s […]
Mark Driscoll gets this one right. Seriously. In my opinion, we ought to have the freedom to use language contextually and not be bound by religiosity. That doesn’t mean that we ought to cuss like a sailor, but words have power… even what our culture considers offensive. (To be clear, I don’t often agree with […]
I wish it was possible to go into an interview without an expectation on what I’ll find. But if that were my primary goal, this was not the subject to get me there. The few years that I spent in Christian education left a metallic taste in my mouth, that might be attracting only its like. […]
I remember when I dropped my first swear words. It was at Azusa Pacific University, during my freshman (and only) year. Ever the precocious child, my friends were all juniors and seniors, mostly those in the poetry-writing collective. We were our own bunch, enjoying only a little cross-pollination with the campus theatre majors. Our activities […]
Throughout my life I’ve watched many hours of television that made me feel guilt, embarrassed, and a little dirty. I once cheered a Toronto Maple Leafs goal, I’ve secretly viewed the Fox News Network, I’ve grimaced through a TV preacher or two, and I’ve even watched a few minutes of Glee; all things I’m not proud […]
What: The Five Stones Church building situated along Columbia street in historic New Westminster, BC has been around for over a century. The city was host to the first China town in Western Canada. It was also named the first capital of BC, before Victoria stole that title. According to Staff Pastor Jon Wong, the […]
GRAND RAPIDS, mich — Rob Bell, the controversial pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan released his book Love Wins: A book about Heaven, Hell and the fate of every person who ever lived (HarperOne) to a firestorm of Christian criticism. While some love the book, seeing it as a modern interpretation […]