Featured
Marquis
Gay And Christian: Believers Speak
Recently at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids, Mathew Clark of The Gay Christian Therapy Center hosted a panel discussion called Homosexuality and Christianity: A new approach in a polarizing debate.  Along with Mathew Clark, the panelists included Stephanie Sandberg, who directed the Actors Theatre production “Seven Passages: The Stories of Gay Christians”; Ruth Bell Olsson, president of the Grand Rapids Red Project for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment; and Jim Lucas, longtime chaplain of the Gays in Faith Together support group. A highlight of the evening was the official public coming out of Dan Dobson, son of the legendary and venerable Ed...
New Reality Show Pitch: Church Rescue
I cannot stand reality television. Well, I take that back. There are a few shows I like. I can handle Storage Wars, Pawn Stars and Auction Hunters (before they added the pawn shop.) But my favorite show is Bar Rescue. On Spike Network’s Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer, nationally known bar expert, scouts out failing bars for weeks in advance, then goes in and tries to save them. Typically, an episode has him doing a lot of yelling at the management, questioning their motives, not allowing them to make excuses, and bringing in experts to show the kitchen and bartenders how...
url-3
On Sexism, Patriarchy And Strange Ways To Lose Body Parts
There is a remarkable statement in the Hebrew Bible about two men brawling: If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to the rescue of her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity. (Deuteronomy 25v11-12) The rule goes something like this: if two men are fighting, and the wife of one of them (who apparently is getting his butt kicked) comes over to rescue him from his attacker, and she reaches out and grabs him by his...
Concert Cropped
Relevance: A Youth Minister Answers (Part 2 of 2)
My first experience in youth ministry while in college was in a poor, rural community in Alabama at a Baptist church where the overwhelming majority of the 50 or so regular attendees were over the age of 65.  At some point, kids who lived in the small houses and trailer homes nearby discovered that every Wednesday night this church offered a free, warm meal and they started coming in droves.  Suddenly there were 20+ kids aged 7 to 15 at this church.  None of their families were involved in the congregation.  No one in the church had any youth ministry...
To_the_church_cropped_2
Is Your Pastor Holding Your Church Back?
Imagine yourself and a group of people in a meeting with your church’s pastor. The church has been changing and seeing new life as people explore what it means to be a church in the early 21st century. The group presents a concept for a phenomenal new ministry connecting the community and congregation, leading to radically transformed lives. Excitement grips the group as they explain the concept to your pastor. You are elated when she says “yes!” and you start planning the roll out. As the group finalizes the plans, you find out about newly imposed guidelines and limitations that...
Photo courtesy of usatoday.com
Cassandra Parkin, “Lighter Shades of Grey” – Part Two
R: I was interested about your take on how the BDSM community was angry at the book. You said, “The whole point is that both parties are supposed to enjoy the act itself.” (Loc. 956, Kindle). Apparently, James got the BDSM part wrong as well. Have you had members of the BDSM community agree with you on this point? C: Actually, I have – both in public discussion, and in private conversations. The main themes I’ve seen are as follows: -          BDSM sex (like all consensual sex) isn’t about willfully imposing your needs and desires on another person. It’s about...
Photo courtesy of usatoday.com
Cassandra Parkin, “Lighter Shades of Grey” – Part One
E. L. James “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy has sold millions upon millions of books. Her success has been accredited to all sorts of things. She has critics as well as fans, an upcoming movie and just announced a book on writing tips. I was browsing Amazon recently and came across a work by Cassandra Parkin, “Lighter Shades of Grey: A (very) Critical Reader’s Guide to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.” She also has companion novels for the other two works in the trilogy, “Fifty Shades Lighter: A (very) Critical Reader’s Guide to ‘Fifty Shades Darker” and “Lighter Shades Freed: A...
Concert Cropped
Relevance: The Youth Minister’s Questions (Part 1 of 2)
Youth ministry is a tough needle to thread.  It requires a lot of personal commitment and patience, an expectation that your target audience is going to show a general lack of interest and enthusiasm about most of the things you do for them, and a willingness to sacrifice sleep and earn your gray hairs early. It’s also a tough needle to thread because it’s a field of ministry surrounded by towering questions and often conflicting answers. In this article, I want to raise seven of what I think are the most pressing questions many  churches and youth ministers face when...
megan phelps
An Open Letter to Grace and Megan Phelps-Roper
Dear Megan and Grace, I understand, in I’m sure a merely limited way, you have left Westboro Baptist Church behind. I also understand that this means, for both of you, that you have left your family behind. I want to first and foremost commend you both for the courage it took to take that step. Not only did you step away from a church that will now actively seek to distance itself from you, to preach your damnation, to make you doubt your choice at every turn… …you stepped into a world, out from under that same church’s umbrella, that...
ray lewis
The Misguided Theology of Ray Lewis
There is a reason that I typically don’t write about current events. First of all, the truths we can learn from the events occurring in our world are truths that have been openly touted for centuries. “There is nothing new under the sun,” as the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us. The human condition is such that we can take the lessons learned, often the hard way, by the nation of Israel in the Old Testament and apply it to the nation of America right now. The second reason I tend to shy from writing on these things is that it...
1 2 3 4 >
Your Adv Here
Featured Recent Comments

Top Conversations

Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…

While recently visiting a (Won) Buddhist temple, I heard one practitioner refer to Jesus as a Buddha. I was struck by the generosity of calling…

Before I was married, my hairdresser—a divorced man—told me about a woman in her sixties who explained to him the meaning of marriage, the breakdown…

I sat in the minister’s office on a Wednesday night, nervous with my parents seated on either side of me. “Why now?” he asked. “I’m…

A little while ago, I had a very deep conversation with some friends about women in the church. One of my friends strongly holds to…

As I look out into the faces of the people in the congregation I’m speaking to on any particular Sunday, I think to myself once…

Feminism to me is the crazy belief that women and men are both created in God’s image and that each of us deserves a life…

I’ve been hearing about a book making the rounds, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Naturally, being a writer and voracious reader, I…

The parable of the talents, we have been told, is a parable about personal responsibility, a warning of the terrible consequences of squandering our God-given…

This week, a dad disciplined his daughter. And at the time of me writing this piece, that discipline has been viewed over 14 million times….

Your Adv Here