Category: Church & Ministry

On Clickbait, Logical Fallacies, New Presidents, and Male-Pattern Baldness

The blog awakens. The cool thing about having a blog that brings in zero income is that there is total freedom to stop writing in it any time you want. My absence from the blogosphere over the last year+ can be explained by a two main elements: my 2014 free time being directed toward the search for a new ministry, and the fact that I just really…didn’t care to write. But it’s 2015, and you know what THAT means…

2016 is coming.

Ever since the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage and the troubling news regarding Planned Parenthood, my Facebook feed has returned back to what it once was: a clickbait-infested ticker dripping with logical fallacies that remind me why I’m losing my hair at 31. Continue reading

Universal Log-in-Eye Disorder

log-in-eyeI suppose hypocrisy is so easy to spot in others because it’s something pretty much all of us are guilty of. A man in the church passes judgement on the young folks for not tithing, and yet his offerings always come with strings attached. A Sunday School teacher gossips about a young mother for not taking her children to Sunday School, and yet never prays for or reaches out to the woman. A family stands out on a street corner protesting same-sex marriage, and yet their own marriage, rife with infidelity, deceit, and superficiality, looks nothing like their stated “biblical model” of marriage. An alcoholic looks down on a drug addict. A compulsive gambler says a pedophile lacks self control. Hypocrisy is everywhere. Throw a rock in any direction – you’ll likely hit a hypocrite. We’re all walking this earth with logs in our eyes. Continue reading

How Much Harm is in a Status Update, Anyway?

I admitted something to my wife the other day that took me a long time to be able to admit to myself:

Facebook isn’t fun anymore.

It used to be a place for you to re-connect with old classmates, network with current connections, and paint a picture for the world to see how cool you are. But now, amidst the sea of parental overshare and the seemingly unfettered onslaught of unsolicited opinions, nobody seems to walk away from a newsfeed reading without at least a slight increase in blood pressure. Continue reading

A Note For Churches Looking For A Youth Pastor

qualifiedpastorI’ve been at my current ministry in Kansas City now for 2 years, and I still don’t know what Rock Chalk Jayhawk means. I just know that if I say it, it gets people’s attention around here. It’s been an eventful couple of years for me. Such a milestone causes a guy to look back. As I was doing some self-evaulation of my first two years of ministry here in Kansas City (after a move halfway across the country from Fresno, California), I couldn’t help but think back to some of the job descriptions I read during my job search. I looked at churches all over America and saw an incredibly wide range of requirements and requisites for potential youth pastors. Some churches understandably wanted recordings of sermons preached.  Some required a class B or C driver’s license (you know, in case the need for a long haul trucker comes up). A surprising number required applicants to include family pictures (is this legal?). But one of the most common and most upsetting requirements I encountered was the one that looked something like this: “Must have X years experience in a church of 1000 or more,” or maybe “…X years experience, preferably in a large church setting.” Continue reading

I don’t mean to gossip, but…

“I don’t mean to gossip, but did you hear…”

These were the first words I heard when I walked into my normal workout area at the gym. As I headed for the TRX, I had to pass the two gossip ladies who are always hoarding equipment but rarely using it on account of their constant chatter (thank God I don’t need to use the pink hand weights and jazzercise steps). They’re always there when I am. Always. And I always have to hear about whose life is in shambles, who needs to wear less makeup, who has the worst hygiene, and ohmygoshjustmakeitstop.

But today’s gossip gave me a little more insight into just how sickening it is. Today the conversation revealed enough to me that I was able to determine that these two dressed-alike-hand-weight-hoarding ladies are talking about folks that go to their church. Continue reading

In Utero Theology: Wisdom from an Embryo

This is my son Milo, the day we first saw him. He’s already excelling at his pre-reflexogenic skills.

You probably wouldn’t expect that a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Psychological Science would have written anything that could deepen my theological understanding of the divine-human relationship, or even my faith in Jesus Christ . . . but here we are.

I’ve recently read a book by Robert R. Provine, a neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, that completely changed the way I read Genesis 1:27 and Luke 9:23. The book is titled Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and BeyondI’m sure my parents raised their eyebrows a bit when this title showed up on my Christmas list, but when I saw it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, my only thought was “there HAS to be some teachable stuff in this book.” Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Welfare (and be cool about it)

It saddens me that I have seen multiple forms of this message posted on the social networks by my Christ-following friends. Does this communicate a heart for the hurting?

I have my own opinions about welfare. I also have a few thoughts about immigration. But I’ll do my best to keep them to myself for now. What I want to talk about today is not the actual subjects of welfare and immigration, but the general tone and attitude a follower of Christ ought to have when discussing the issues around helping those in need.

To be honest, I intended to write about something completely different today (prenatal behavior as a sign that we are actually made in the image of God). But this morning, I happened to read Jesus’ “Olivet Discourse” from Matthew chapters 24-25 and suddenly had flashes of CNN and Fox News making my quiet time not so quiet (plus, there was a little bit of Jon Stewart in there as well). Continue reading

OMG, it’s the Third Commandment!

I guess it’s no secret by now that I’ve been just a little bit disillusioned with my fellow Evangelicals lately. I think this feeling comes to many of us who, after experiencing just enough adulthood, realize that age does not inherently give a person wisdom. It’s that feeling you get when you realize that, intellectually speaking, you’re on your own. You can’t trust everything you’ve been taught.  And really, you shouldn’t. I think a big part of spiritual growth is learning to question everything. After all – God’s truth can stand up to the deepest of scrutiny.

With that said, I want to re-visit the Third Commandment. It is a passage of scripture that, like so many others, has been plucked out of context and used to back up personal agendas. How can “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God” possibly back up a personal agenda? I’m glad you asked. In the modern day, over-politicized Evangelical Church where we pretend that the government has it out for us, many have embraced a “Christian” way of life that has morphed into something that is, well, completely unCHRISTian. We’ve become a group of people who carry on a “persecution complex,” clinging to a notion of self-righteousness rather than striving to actually become righteous (and to know what it means). That’s why you can log onto Facebook and Twitter today and see more Christians hating President Obama and selfishly clinging to their guns than loving God and loving others. But that’s all for another blog post. UPDATE: My good friend tells me the gun comment is antagonistic to gun owners. Rather than delete what I said, I offer this disclaimer: I am not anti 2nd Amendment. The “selfish clinging” I am referring to is in regard to those who refuse to have a civilized conversation about gun control
Continue reading

Why Do The Christians Hate Bob Costas?

I don’t watch NFL. The sound of a football game on TV brings back memories of Sunday afternoons where my dad wouldn’t let anything be on the TV that didn’t involve the Broncos (don’t get the wrong idea here – I have fond memories of hanging out with my Dad…I just didn’t share his fondness of boring TV when I was growing up under his roof). In fact, the only reason I know anything about Bob Costas is because he’s the nice man who appears on my TV screen every two years when the Olympics are on (you know – real sports). I am so far-removed from the NFL that I wasn’t even aware that Mr. Costas did anything other than cover the Olympics. So you can imagine my surprise when I started seeing hateful comments about Bob Costas appearing on my Facebook newsfeed after the December 2nd Sunday Night Football presentation on NBC. To put it lightly, Costas said some things during halftime that indirectly addressed the issue of gun control, which upset some people. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see it here.

Maybe it’s because I live in Kansas City, where people are already pretty grumpy about the local NFL “situation,” but Continue reading

I’m Done Hating Blogs Now

I’ve been anti-blogs for a long time now. Probably for the same reason some people refuse to admit they like hyped-up movies or hipster clothes (although I’ll never recognize the validity of man-scarves). I suppose I’ve been so resistant to begin blogging because I don’t want to be associated with those who have enlightened us with their first marathon training experience or given us a far too detailed account of their first pregnancy/birthing experience.

But I recently met a blogger who changed my mind. Last month, my wife and I were at the National Youth Workers’ Convention in Dallas, TX, and I had a chance to talk with author Tony Jones. I had sat in on his seminar (The Church and Culture: A Match Made in Heaven?) and had some questions. Long story short: Tony showed me that there is value in being a thinking Christian. Continue reading