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.

Read More

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).

Read More

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. 

Read More

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?

Read More

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

Read More

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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

losing.

losing.

What if our struggles as aspiring minimalists, millennials, and middle class Christians are rooted not in the fact that we didn't take the message of the Church (whatever it may call itself for you) seriously enough, but that we took the message we received too seriously.

Read More

blessing.

blessing.

What fills the nooks and crannies of my 32 year old heart is the prevailing understanding that if I have enough money I never have to explain myself, my choices, my renovations, my weekend plans, my preferences, my car(s), my beliefs, my politics, and my son’s exhausting extra-curricular calendar to anyone, ever.

Read More

working.

working.

Maybe the point of awareness isn’t the realization that we should be somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else, but that when we finally wake up from the sometimes paralyzing dreams of other, far wiser, braver, and decidedly more eloquent souls, we uncover the ability to dream our own dreams about the place our feet actually meet the floor in the morning. 

Read More

unburdening.

unburdening.

Wherever we find ourselves sociologically or geographically, most of us are just trying to make it, and the point of faith in the Jesus-style is that it asks us to band together by throwing off unhelpful and rather weighty beliefs we may have about God, the Bible, the Remington Bolt Action Shotgun, and whether or not two-dudes can get married in our state, in order to free up a bit of bandwidth to say yes to the Incarnation and Resurrection awaiting all of us arguing with one another about the direction of our country and the place of our religion in it

Read More

okaying.

okaying.

God isn’t so much a king or a ruler, furiously demanding fidelity from slaves charged with erecting his temples and towers, as much as God is a tree, quietly converting the carbon dioxide of our fears about the future, our regrets about the past, and our anxiety about the present into oxygen and light and shade for generation after generation after generation. 

Read More

flickering.

flickering.

The idea that what people do together for an hour a week in business causal before complaining about the wait at Applebees could also be confused for the thing motivating millions of people across thousands of years to give up everything in the name of a self-sacrificing God desperate to put the world back together even if it kills him is (in a nutshell) everything that is wrong with Christianity in America

Read More