Category: Ministry

  • To Speak the Truth in Bombingham

    To Speak the Truth in Bombingham

    John Archibald is almost my exact contemporary. Same age. White cis male. Southern. Methodist. A man who deals in words, though he’s an Alabama newspaperman who won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his work in The Birmingham News while my main public output are sermons these days. What Archibald has done in his […]

  • Burning Down the House of Fear with Brian Zahnd

    Burning Down the House of Fear with Brian Zahnd

    ‘Deconstruction’ is a popular term in conversations among church leaders these days. Only when deconstruction is invoked, we’re not talking French intellectual movements; it’s more to do with reassessing the received faith of our childhood and sorting out what resources are still there for life as an adult. In other words it’s what we used […]

  • #2 — No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler — 2021 Best Reads

    #2 — No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler — 2021 Best Reads

    To read Kate Bowler in her latest book, No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear), is like hearing from the dead. As she did in her last book, Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Told), Bowler takes a blow torch to received pieties when intense suffering comes […]

  • #4–Hunting Magic Eels by Richard Beck–2021 Best Reads

    #4–Hunting Magic Eels by Richard Beck–2021 Best Reads

    No book was better at giving voice to things I was feeling about our contemporary landscape than Richard Beck’s Hunting Magic Eels. The title was catchy, referring to an ancient Welsh pilgrimage site that featured prophetic eels who could predict the prospects of your love life. But the whole book worked a kind of magic. […]

  • #5 — A Burning in My Bones by Winn Collier — 2021 Best Reads

    #5 — A Burning in My Bones by Winn Collier — 2021 Best Reads

    Winn Collier’s biography of Eugene Peterson, A Burning in My Bones, was easily one of my best reads of the year. Collier had access to the journals and papers of the pastor/writer who is best known as the translator of The Message version of the Bible. He also knew the man and brings an appreciative […]

  • #6–The Making of Biblical Womanhood–2021 Best Reads

    #6–The Making of Biblical Womanhood–2021 Best Reads

    The 6th book on our Top Ten list is Beth Allison Barr’s The Making of Biblical Womanhood. Barr got a lot of buzz for this book, making her perhaps the country’s most popular medieval historian. Barr also happens to be an evangelical Christian trying to help her branch of the Christian church move out of […]

  • Home of the Brave (Church)

    Home of the Brave (Church)

    This review was published on the Englewood Review of Books website and is reprinted here with permission. It’s not easy to talk these days. Try having a social gathering over Zoom and see how quickly you tire. Maybe one voice dominates. Maybe you’re frustrated by not having the side conversation you’d like to have. Maybe […]

  • Unmaking Biblical Womanhood

    Unmaking Biblical Womanhood

    Sometimes you have to go back to a 15th century woman to find your way to a 21st century church. At least that’s where Beth Allison Barr goes in trying to understand the sad history of patriarchy in the Christian Church. Which makes sense because Barr is both a medieval scholar and an evangelical Christian […]

  • Why We Should Continue Treating the Pandemic as a Crisis (and an Opportunity)

    Why We Should Continue Treating the Pandemic as a Crisis (and an Opportunity)

    With the reappearance of so many familiar faces following the Great Unmasking of the vaccinated, there’s a great temptation for people in the church to breathe a sigh of relief and try to pick up where we left off in March 2020. Kay Kotan has other ideas. “Reality check: Life will never be the same,” […]

  • Putting Colossians in the Mix

    Putting Colossians in the Mix

    Reading Colossians Remixed:Subverting the Empire by Brian J. Walsh and Sylvia C. Keesmaat, published in 2004, is a reminder of a time when postmodernity was in its ascendency. It’s not clear where we live now, but less than two decades later you feel that we are somewhere very different than the environment Walsh and Keesmaat […]