Category: Worship

Millennials, Worship, and Hillsong: Let Hope Rise

As a twentysomething college student and worship leader, I am in constant conversation about worship: what is it, how we present it, why we practice it, and when certain styles are appropriate. I was naturally curious, then, to attend an early screening of Hillsong: Let Hope Rise, a forthcoming documentary about the phenomenally popular and influential worship band Hillsong United. What started as a humble,…  [more]

Defending FOX’s live Passion extravaganza

On Palm Sunday I gathered with 30 or so Christians in the parking lot outside of a small church in rural Georgia. When the piano prompted us, the double doors swung open and we processed together into the sanctuary, waving palm branches and chanting, “Hosanna in the highest.” It was a simple ceremony that was likely reenacted at numerous churches throughout the world that very hour. The simplicity of the…  [more]

Hummus for peace and the beauty of communion

After a series of stabbings and shootings in the Holy Land, I would have guessed that lines along ethnic and religious differences would be drawn sharper than ever. The owner of a restaurant in Tel Aviv, though, has taken a different approach. He advertised 50 percent off for Jewish and Arab patrons who eat together. The Facebook page of the Hummus Bar makes the peacemaking motivation even more clear: “Are you…  [more]

A pastor’s guide to surviving kickoff Sunday

As a brand-new minister, I was part of a small group of recent seminary graduates who met weekly with an incredibly wise retired pastor. One week we asked him, “If you could go back and do anything differently as a young pastor, what would it be?” “I would go out back of my church and sit in a chair and watch the grass grow more often,” he answered. We all expected something more practical or…  [more]

The (somewhat) sacred outdoors

My family lives surrounded by an embarrassment of scenic riches. In less than six hours, we can drive to no less than five national parks. We don’t even have to leave our own county for a rich experience of nature. We have San Francisco Bay to the east, the Pacific Ocean over a mountain ridge to the west and Redwood groves and open space teeming with deer and mountain lions just miles from my house. We are…  [more]

A new way to marry

Wedding season is well under way, as can be seen by the many wedding photos being shared on social media. Add to this continued debate over the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage, and the topic is dominating my Facebook feed. Although I’ve heard and seen much about the meaning of marriage, few have raised the question of what our wedding ceremonies say about our theology of marriage. In…  [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]

The missed opportunity of Duke’s Muslim call to prayer

Last week, Duke University reversed its decision to allow the traditional Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast from its historic chapel tower. The permission for Muslim students to recite the prayer on Fridays for three minutes from the bell tower was rescinded following strong criticisms from Christians and a “serious and credible security threat.” Evangelical public figure Franklin Graham, in…  [more]

Andraé Crouch and making every minute count

Andraé Crouch passed away yesterday and I’m still processing it. I’ve been listening to his records since I was a little kid. For the last couple of years I’ve been honored to serve as the creative director overseeing his incredible song catalog at Capitol CMG Publishing. So no, I am not objective about his legacy in the slightest. Andraé was certainly one of the most influential…  [more]

What price glory? Parsing the mixed messages of sports celebrations

This week the NFL spawned a heated debate about who can be worshipped in the end zone. During Monday’s routing of the New England Patriots, Husain Abdullah, a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it for a touchdown. His performance was the talk of social media. No, not his athletic performance, but rather the fact that he fell to his knees after scoring and bowed his…  [more]

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