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To commune together, even when there’s good reason for withdrawn civility and hostile incivility, seems a miraculously unlikely experience.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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the saving power of never getting what you always wanted.

the saving power of never getting what you always wanted.

Easter reminds us that Christianity is a miserable failure, it leaks, and swears when it drops a flashlight on its foot when the power suddenly goes out, it makes weird faces in family photos, and gets uncomfortably honest about its break-ups after too much wine at your cousin’s wedding reception. It sometimes seems like it’s barely hanging on, but it never gives up, even when it has every reason to, even when it stops breathing for three days. 

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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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how (not) to be a pastor: a confession of sorts.

how (not) to be a pastor: a confession of sorts.

The failure of a church, at least according to the belief system baked into our American religiosity, is the personal failure of a pastor. As I’ve seen more and more of my friends (or myself) occupationally self-immolate in the face of institutional malaise, I’ve been wondering if the problem for most of us clergy folk is rooted in something a bit more elemental than a lack of training in millennial worship preferences and successfully interacting with people on your church Facebook page. 

What if we’ve completely misunderstood empathy?

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on sound, fury, and #schiaNO: how Knoxville and Tennessee football burned to the ground in an afternoon

on sound, fury, and #schiaNO: how Knoxville and Tennessee football burned to the ground in an afternoon

Regardless of the fanbase’s motivations for self-immolating at the news of Greg Schiano being named as the next Tennessee football coach, they did. And, for maybe the first time in college football history, a cabal of aloof, wealthy white people who run things for the rest of us plebeians paying 100 dollars for the pleasure of sitting inside wet plastic bags during a monsoon while our team loses by 3 touchdowns, relented

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authenticating.

authenticating.

For too long, too many of us have spent our lives in relationships, systems, jobs, churches, families, and institutions that have convinced us that who they are, and what they believe, and what they do is worthy of our death. That salvation is somehow inextricably bound up in their maintenance and influence and ongoing power, and if we want to “make it” (whatever that might mean for your world), we best swallow our pride, and our spirit, and those weird parts of us that stick up no matter the amount of hair gel we use. 

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WITHing.

WITHing.

the reason why the words “me too” have the power to topple studio executives, empires, and lucrative franchises is because they are divinity incarnate. 

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drowning.

drowning.

I suppose, rather unexpectedly, this is what being baptized is supposed to feel like. An experience where what you think you knew about yourself, about the world, about where you come from, about how these sorts of things should work, and about what holds all of us together is drowned (sometimes against your will) in the river outside town. No matter the circumstances or who did the plunging, what manages to float to the surface on the other side of whatever hell you went through in the process of becoming who you are is probably worth holding on to. 

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futuring.

futuring.

Perhaps my own lack of fit involves a divine call to something other than providing hospice care for the final days of people who mostly believe the answers to the questions I (and those like me) have about the limping, partisan, anxious, and much-hotter-than-it-should-be-world they’ve left us, is to condescendingly allow me the privilege of directing the flow of ever-dwindling numbers of Buicks into the church parking lot. 

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