Holly and I have settled into an unofficial practice that accompanies our television viewing: we often find ourselves rating the promises we see onscreen. You know on a cop show when there’s a brutal killing, and the detective assigned to […]
In an episode of the TV dramedy Sports Night, wisecracking white sports anchor Dan Rydell (Josh Charles) is being reprimanded by his loving-yet-taciturn African American boss, Isaac Jaffe (the great Robert Guillaume), when Dan tries to defend his point of […]
Breaking away from the pack to do something different can produce obvious benefits, but there can also be unintended consequences. In the Hamilton showstopper “The Room Where It Happens,” the titular hero lectures his frenemy Aaron Burr, “When you got […]
Despite living in Portland, I do not consider myself a true Oregonian. This is partially because I understand our history, and I’ll likely never truly feel at home in a state intentionally founded to exclude black people. But also Oregon […]
In the latest chapter of my ministry journey, I’m now in the beginning stages of trying to plant a church. The existing congregation I serve is not capable of growing into the kind of diverse, welcoming, multigenerational church it wants […]
One of the more obvious ways I feel like my culture is at odds with evangelicalism is in our approach to power. I’m part of the hip-hop generation. For us, power is an ever-present topic of thought and conversation—who has […]
A familiar social media ritual happens in my Facebook feed every day. Someone will post a clickbait headline designed to shock, surprise, or inflame. Then people post their reactions. Many times those reactions, instead of being written comments or emojis, […]
There’s a legal doctrine that I’ve learned from the equivalent of several years of law school from watching legal dramas. It’s known as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” … Over the last few years I’ve come to see this as another handy metaphor to describe the failings of American evangelicalism.
A man in my hometown recently filed a lawsuit against the instructor of his sword-fighting class because, while demonstrating a particular move, the instructor accidentally stabbed him in the eye. When I read that story in the news, my first thought was, Oh, man, that would preach.
Sometimes preaching can have unintended consequences. I recently had the privilege of preaching through the David and Goliath story, and it illustrates an important distinction in biblical interpretation. Bible stories like that one can be either descriptive (describing the world and the Lord who created it) or prescriptive (instructive toward the way God’s people should behave). There are strong elements of both in 1 Samuel 17.
Two years ago, I wrote in this space about the erosion of meaning that has befallen the term “evangelical.” For a variety of reasons, I was ready to toss it out. I believed then, as I do now, the term has become relational kryptonite. Its negative connotations make true evangelism all but impossible.