Why You Should Resolve to Read More in 2019

I know people who talk about not reading a book since high school or college as if it's a good thing. Unfortunately, they're not alone. According to Pew Research Center, twenty-five percent of adult men and twenty-two percent of adult women didn't read a book in the past twelve months. In 1978, Gallup research reported…

Revolution in the Manger: The Untold Story of the First Christmas

Growing up, I never thought the story of the first Christmas was very interesting. Oh sure, it's a nice story, but for a ten-year-old boy who couldn't even begin to grasp the meaning of the word "Incarnation," the Christmas story was the one with the cute baby surrounded by barnyard animals. But as I got…

The War On Christmas Is Over, and Other Holiday Misadventures

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm happy to announce the War on Christmas is over. And it's been over for about one hundred and fifty years. The Puritans waged the original War on Christmas in 17th century England and, later, the American colonies. A bunch of killjoys, the Puritans were a super-conservative branch of Protestantism that believed…

We Are Not the Prodigal: A Jesus Story Deconstructed

If you were compiling a "Greatest Hits" album of Jesus stories, the Parable of the Prodigal Son would definitely make the cut. During his three year ministry, Jesus told many parables, or short stories. Parables were a popular form of storytelling and preaching in Jesus's day. Most modern religious writing and teaching is meant to change…

How to Talk About Jesus Without Being Weird (or a Jerk)

About a year ago, I was helping out at an event and one of the servers asked me if I was religious. Earlier in the night, it had come up that I write stuff about the Bible. She was gay, and I suspected she was posing a somewhat loaded question. "I don't think so," I…

The High Cost of Consumer Christianity

For the past four decades, the local and institutionalized church has positioned itself as a place to be entertained, discover your purpose, and "plug in" to community. And it's a strategy that's been wildly successful. Until now. Echoing national trends of a growing distrust of "large institutions," a 2017 Gallup poll found that only 41% of…

The Divinity of Doubt: A Letter to Those Who Struggle to Believe

To the Poor in the Spirit, I may not know you, but I know how it starts. A visit to another church, a sentence in a book, a comment on a podcast, an encounter with a classmate, a shared article on Facebook, a changing political stance, a travel experience - whatever it was, something jarred the…