Three Truths We Failed to Live During the Election

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unknownAs we all let out a big sigh of exhaustion (not relief) following the presidential election, it’s important for the evangelical church of Jesus Christ to do some serious self-evaluation. We are now seen as the people who substantially helped to elect a racist, homophobic, misogynist xenophobe to the highest office in the land because we ourselves tend toward being racist, misogynist, homophobic xenophobes. Whether we like it or not, that’s how non-Christians and even many fellow Christians perceive it. But rather than argue about that perception, we urgently need to get to work on living up to its opposite as followers of Jesus Christ.… Continue reading

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Why Does the Holy Spirit Keep Falling Down?

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antique-hymn-book-page-i-know-that-my-redeemer-lives1While listening to worship music recently I was struck again with the particular category of songs asking the Holy Spirit to “fall on us,” “come down,” or something similar. I can say just from my own experience that there have been a steady trickle of such songs at least since the Jesus music of the 1970s. I’ve always held these more or less at arm’s length, not hating or loving them, thinking they’re too Pentecostal or—something. But when I realized how relatively unformed my criticisms of these songs were, I decided to think it through a bit more.

First, two important concessions for the sake of all the faithful worship leaders out there: it’s important to 1) allow worship songs to be art, which means giving plenty of slack for poetic language and the imprecision that often goes with it, and 2) not demand too much of any single worship song—no single song can say or be everything that songs can say or be.… Continue reading

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Which Deaths Do We Grieve?

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UnknownThe much-publicized deaths of young black men at the hands of white police officers has prompted a certain amount of soul-searching in me. But this little blog post is not an attempt to pass judgment on who was “right” in the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. If I’ve learned anything since the death Michael Brown, it’s that we have to wait—much longer than our knee-jerk impulses want to allow us to wait—to form such judgments. And I hope it goes without saying that I agree who was wrong in the assassination of the Dallas police officers.

I don’t know for sure whether the shootings of Sterling and Castile were justified according to the standards of the law.… Continue reading

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Bad debates over good theology

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imagesWell, we’re at it again. Conservative evangelicals are all aflutter over a doctrinal debate that started when one member of our delicately (un)balanced brotherhood called out another over a doctrinal point that most Christians don’t understand. The two positions quickly congealed into “camps” that have done a fair amount of back and forth over how to answer the question, “what precisely is the nature of the eternal economic (i.e. functional) relationship between God the Father and God the Son? Or more specifically, “Is God the Son functionally submitted to God the Father in all eternity (i.e., before and after the incarnation)?” We’ve even created a new (as far as I know) acronym: EFS—Eternal Functional Subordination.… Continue reading

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