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…

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 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…

The Last Hours: The Revolutionary Final Moments of Jesus

This blog post is a second half of a collection of seven “episodes” I wrote for Holy Week. (You can read Part 1 here). In reconstructing the final days of Jesus, I wanted to show how Jesus’s revolutionary message and life challenged the political, economic, and religious structures of his day – just like they…

We Are Not the Samaritan: A Jesus Story Deconstructed

In the narrative account of Jesus's life written by a physician named Luke, Jesus delivers the most famous story of roadside assistance ever recorded. According to the parable, a man is attacked by robbers and left for dead. His broken body is ignored by two religious men traveling the same road. He is eventually rescued and…

The Future of Religion, or Why Church Needs to Change

The religious landscape of the United States is undergoing a massive cultural shift. In September 2017, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released the "single largest survey of American religious and denominational identity ever conducted." According to the study, in America: 43% self-identify as "white and Christian," compared to 81% in 1976. 24% self-identify as…