how (not) to be friends.

how (not) to be friends.

Things like Facebook and Instagram have trained us to relate to one another according to the strictures of digital life: as it relegates irrelevant and anomalous data to the nether-regions of the web, and heightens false binaries and limited drop-down options as a way of answering existential questions about how one dates, sleeps, believes, votes, thinks, feels, and furnishes a bonus room.

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For my Methodist friends (and others): how to survive the death of your denominational home. Or not.

For my Methodist friends (and others): how to survive the death of your denominational home. Or not.

“At the end of the day, it took leaving my tradition, my calling, the whole of my identity and religious upbringing; it took leaving God in order to find God. It took leaving my tradition to find my tradition, to find my calling and the whole of what it means to believe in something, on purpose, because you choose to, and not because you have to or even because you always want to. “

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How to Talk More About Sin

How to Talk More About Sin

What if we’ve been misunderstanding the point of sin? What if this concept, instead of inviting normal people with long commutes and weird family baggage to blame themselves on a cosmic scale for coming up short, is actually about giving people a way of externalizing their failure and pain onto something we can universally struggle against, together?

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Does God call the minister - or does the church, a committee, or a few well-placed influencers?

Does God call the minister - or does the church, a committee, or a few well-placed influencers?

Pastors and other ministers, you aren’t the problem; the story is the problem. So let’s put this story to death. Because this story, like the one about the quality of your sermons that is keeping you up at night and emailing you in ALL CAPS on the weekend, has nothing to do with what the homeless, crucified, 1st-century rabbi probably invited you to do with the whole of your life. Arguably, the thing to which that rabbi called you, however long ago, was to resist this kind of story with the whole of your being, to sacrifice it (and not you) on the altar of liberation and to invite others into that same kind of resistance.

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how to find miracles.

how to find miracles.

Miracles feed the hungry, they heal the sick, they lighten the load of the burdened, and they keep your kid sleeping past 8:00am for no reason other than you are the definition of someone at their wit's end. Miracles and their definitions are possessed solely by those experiencing them, and not by those of us tone-policing from the cheap seats. My son taught me that, because for him, almost everything (except loud hand-dryers in public restrooms) is miraculous and worthy of your wonder and your gratitude and your buoyant, exuberant, cacophonous praise. 

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communing.

communing.

To commune together, even when there’s good reason for withdrawn civility and hostile incivility, seems a miraculously unlikely experience. Which is probably why the Church has spent the majority of its life protecting the metaphor of Communion instead of practicing its meaning. 

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depressing.

depressing.

Depression is the light on our dashboard warning us that our soul is leaking coolant, and that if we don’t pull over and call for help things will only get worse from here on out. Maybe to a point where we can’t fix what’s wrong.

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The Kids Aren't Alright (but they could be)

The Kids Aren't Alright (but they could be)

Millennials simply embody the symptomology of a “hyperventilating” religious-industrial complex predicated on the belief that the Judeo-Christian God blesses the faithful with monetary (and existential) security forever and ever, amen.

“Faithless Millennials” are the American church’s future and its present.

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bodying.

bodying.

If you thought you could be “just a pastor” without probing the mysteries of what it means to be alive, to have a pulse, to dance whenever T.Swift gets played at the reception, to split up, to give birth, to die, and to be able to add to the conversation about why any of this matters at all to people just trying to pay down their student loans, I know both a good book and a decent therapist who can disabuse you of that idea rather quickly.

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The Poor Don't Have Podcasts.

The Poor Don't Have Podcasts.

Listening to wealthy people wax poetic about a God who walked the Earth in poverty won’t ever be the future of Christianity, it will only be its past again and again and again, until isn’t even that anymore.

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how (not) to save your church.

how (not) to save your church.

Institutional anxiety is why churches never ask any new questions, or come up with never-tried-before ideas, or listen to new people, or young people, or poor people, or marginalized people, because, in a state of crisis and reactivity, an institution can only go backwards into the annals of shared memory to produce a response to the current stressor (and when the historical records never made space for black folk, women folk or LGBTQ folk it’s not hard to see why including them now doesn’t make sense to them).

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how (not) to be a pastor: part II

how (not) to be a pastor: part II

At no other point in our lives than when we're empathically staring down a hurricane force meltdown by something we inexplicably love on a cellular level can we know more about what it means when the scriptures remind us that God is our Parent and our Partner and our Priest and our Prophet and our Spirit and our Soul and our Strength and our Savior and our Friend and the one thing that refuses to give up on us, even when we've soiled ourselves yet again. 

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