Category: Evangelism

The real challenge for the church after SCOTUS’ gay-marriage decision

The United States Supreme Court has declared same-sex marriage as the law of the land. That decision puts yet more pressure on conservative denominations like mine concerning how they will respond to new cultural realities. Can we hold on to our convictions and still engage the wider culture? I first read my church’s stance on homosexuality when I was in college in the 1980s. It struck me as highly progressive…  [more]

Comedy, community and church

I’m a big fan of comedy. The schedule on my DVR will tell you that when I want to relax at the end of a day, a sitcom or sketch show or comedy talk show is where I’m likely to turn. A few comments from comedians I appreciate lately have gotten me thinking about how the comedy I like the most creates a sense of relationship and community. It makes me, the audience member, feel like a friend and an…  [more]

Uncomfortable baking a cake for a gay wedding? “Bake for them two”

In Jesus’ time, the nation of Israel was under Roman rule. The Israelites were allowed to live there and practice their faith for the most part, but they had to pay taxes to Caesar and obey the Roman laws. To the Israelites, the Romans were evil and ungodly. They had no place ruling over God’s chosen people in God’s chosen nation. That land had been promised to Moses and his descendants when God…  [more]

The boy who cried heaven – and the belief industry that encouraged him

Last week, Tyndale House Publishers stopped production of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven after Alex Malarkey, the boy in question, announced that he had made up the tale. Cheeky jokes about the family’s surname aside, this is a serious matter that shouldn't go gently away, but rather stand as a reminder of what it means to speak for and about God, the Christian life and the kingdom at hand. Years…  [more]

The kingdom of God is like a laundromat

“Don’t despise the small but significant act … learn to be symbol-makers and storytellers for the kingdom," says theologian N.T. Wright. A recent movement known as the Laundry Love Project seems to have taken these words to heart. In East Hollywood, Calif., an Episcopal priest described the laundry ministry this way: “It’s a simple, simple thing. It’s quarters and soap,…  [more]

Christian hospitality and the sharing economy

A recent Time article highlighted the legal issues faced by companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Lyft. These companies are part of the sharing economy, which uses technology to connect consumer demand with goods and services provided by individuals rather than traditional businesses. In my hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., there’s been a good deal of argument between advocates and opponents of Airbnb, with city…  [more]

Jesus didn’t tap – but would He have even played?

As I child, I loved Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The only coloring book I still remember owning was a Power Rangers collection as thick as a phone book. As a young boy I loved to play fight and invent invisible enemies I would defeat with my wickedly awesome fighting skills. My parents saw this as a stage and, sure enough, they were right. Despite my young obsession with the Power Rangers, I have never understood…  [more]

My daughter’s Muslim-Christian Bible study

It can be tough to promote a Bible study at a public school when you aren’t allowed to use the word Bible. After the high school administration rejected her third design attempt for a promotional flier, my daughter settled on a quote from C.S. Lewis. “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” We agreed that sounded Christian enough. Her main hope was to…  [more]

New life for Dark Dungeons

Remember when the greatest threat to Christianity was a weird game that let nerds pretend to be elves and wizards in their parents' basements? The year was 1984, the "Satanic panic" was in full swing and nothing exemplified evangelical Christianity's bizarre relationship to popular culture better than Jack Chick's infamous Dark Dungeons tract, which targeted the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.…  [more]

Pre-game prayers: worship, witness or showing off?

With the NBA playoffs underway, the Oklahoma City Thunder have garnered attention for more than their stellar play. As the New York Times reports, the pre-game ritual at Chesapeake Energy Arena includes a prayer of invocation. Although the team asks that the prayer be generic and nondenominational, some who offer the invocation are quite specific. Given that Oklahoma is 73% Protestant and 9% Roman Catholic, it may…  [more]

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