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Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Christianity in politics Archives

Christian Purity: Is God’s Mission Possible When Purity Rules?

I had a really weird, somewhat distressing interaction this week, and it is still on my mind days later. It’s one of those uncomfortable encounters that you would like to press the “replay” button on and do over. Like a […]

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The Lie of Invulnerability

This last week has been insane. Family sickness, repairs, car issues, multiple calls from school nurses, including one in which the nurse expressed concern my 7-year-old son had been bitten by a brown recluse spider…and just when I thought it […]

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Thoughtful Christians—They’re Around, Via Fare Forward

The cover story from the latest (July/August) issue of Christianity Today offers a refreshing antidote to all the gloom and doom that often accompany conversations around the future of the church in this country.  The article features a gallery of […]

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Mental Health Break—The Wittenburg Door

If you’re not already familiar with the online humor magazine The Wittenburg Door, now you are: think The Onion marries Reformed Christian theology and they have a wickedly funny child with an aptitude for making you laugh at most things […]

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What You Are Saying Re: Driscoll

My last post generated some helpful, constructive input from fellow saints and sinners who read it.  Thank you, all. Saint and sinner Bruce writes:  You know I respect you and appreciate your writing, but I think this is a pride […]

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Mark Driscoll’s Fall: A Day of Reckoning for Evangelicals?

[CORRECTION NOTE: An earlier version of this article suggests Mark Driscoll has in fact now resigned; this is in fact not the case, and I’m very grateful to fellow saint and sinner Mark for bringing this error to my attention.  […]

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Are You Opposed to People Owning Guns? Via John Piper

Those of you incensed, intrigued or yelling “Amens” to my recent post on new gun legislation in my state of Georgia, may be interested to read this wonderful post from John Piper.  (I’m glad to know John and I probably […]

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Hostility Re: My Post on Guns in Georgia—A Lesson

Fellow saints and sinners, it’s with some sadness and more fascination that I write after seeing the onslaught of fierce and even violently ad hominem attacks in response to my post from two days ago about Georgia’s new gun rights […]

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Georgia’s Gunning Effect—And, Why I’m Finally Speaking Out

I’m home! And, after returning from a 10-day vacation seeing friends and visiting national treasures in the D.C. area, I am mostly glad to be home. A new thing about home, though, that I don’t like and am having to […]

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What You Are Saying—On Piper’s “Masculine Christianity” and Evangelicals

One of the reasons I keep showing up at this intersection between life and God is you, your comments, your questions, and even in some cases, your downright infuriating remarks (which also keep me writing). The other day Jan thanked […]

The Vatican Diaries: A Review

Sex. Money. Power. Corruption. Controversy. Scandal. Since the 1980’s Catholic News Service reporter John Thavis has been covering all of it and more—not from a post in Las Vegas or the nation’s Capitol but from (of all places) the Vatican. […]

Wasn’t April Fool’s Day Last Week?—World Vision, Evangelicals and Gays

April Fool’s Day seems a fitting day to review what happened last week, when, within just two days of announcing its decision to hire gays in recognized same-sex marriages, World Vision reversed its decision. An official statement from World Vision […]

Musical Mental Health Break—Parker Millsap’s “Truckstop Gospel”

This week’s musical mental health break comes from the world of folk rock where I stumbled into Parker Millsap and his “Truckstop Gospel,” thanks to a segment on NPR yesterday. Parker Millsap is only 20 but has the voice of […]

Beyond Christian Apologetics

[NOTE: This is a revised version of an earlier post.] The other day I did my first author reading at our local library. Only two people showed up, which was great, a) because it meant we were able to have […]

Biblical Inerrancy, Sexual Purity and Christian Code Words: What You’re Saying

One thing that keeps me showing up at this intersection between God and life is you and your musings. I hope you’ll keep leaving them here. Here is what some of you have been saying… Saint and sinner Briana from […]

Martin Luther King on Self-Sacrifice

Today when we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was both a deeply flawed and greatly inspired public servant and man of God, I am struck by this recollection of King from this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional: In […]

What Unites Nelson Mandela and Pope Francis in Greatness?

TIME magazine’s pronouncement of Pope Francis as “Person of the Year,” coming as it does after yesterday’s memorial service for Nelson Mandela, has sparked some thoughts on the making of these two great persons.  What unites them? A surprising number […]

Pope Francis On “Nonsense” of Proselytism, Grace and Following One’s Conscience

It’s not every day that you get to sit down at tea time with His Holiness. But that’s precisely what happened a couple weeks ago for the prominent Italian journalist and atheist Eugenio Scalfari. An unexpected phone call from the […]

Listening To The Sound of Silence: A Review of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Latest Book

How does one tell a history of silence? After all, silence encapsulates everything not said—the elisions and the possibilities, the inchoate, unexplored universe beyond the hard limits of our language. Oxford historian Diarmaid MacCulloch’s latest book Silence: A Christian History […]

Ministerial Miscellany: Gratitude and Silence

It’s been too long. I’m sorry. Life has been, well, too fast-paced lately—and will remain so until mid November. But I’ve missed you. This week, I’ve been reflecting on gratitude and silence. First, gratitude: The other night my son asked […]

Jesus the Zealot? A Closer Look at Reza Aslan and His Latest Book

Maybe it’s because at 2 am last night my daughter woke me up and never went back to sleep. Or because at 2:05 am we discovered a bat flying around in the upstairs bedroom, having rather mysteriously snuck in from […]

Americans Divided on Definition of “Religious”

Religion Today recently posted the results of a survey of Americans’ understanding of the term, “religious.” Apparently the old divide between those who define religiosity based solely on faith and beliefs (historically Protestants) and those who take the concept to […]

The Oklahoma Tornadoes: A Continuation in Our Christian Meterology Series

Yesterday the devastating news poured in over National Public Radio as I was in the kitchen making dinner: four tornadoes, in a string of more expected in and around Moore, Oklahoma, including reports that most of the casualties were children […]

A Call To Fast From Politics: Remembering David Kuo

David Kuo died Friday from brain cancer at the age of only 44. Before the publication of his memoir, Tempting Faith, Kuo was the deputy director of the office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under the Bush Administration, an experience […]

The Inauguration of Pope Francis…and a Church’s Revival?

Yesterday’s inauguration of Pope Francis seems a fitting juncture at which to take stock of him- this in response to a reader’s recent note asking what I think about the man who reminds him of his Jewish rabbi grandfather. And, in […]

“O Holy Night”

We sang this hymn in church today.  In the wake of Friday morning’s massacre of a first-grade class of school children, the meaning of “O Holy Night” made me cry like a baby.  (Never mind my husband’s running joke that […]

A Child’s Prayer of Lament

We were driving home from school yesterday when the NPR reports came on.  Another horrific mass killing.  This time at a school.  28 dead, 20 of them children. The sound of gun shots on the school’s loudspeakers were in the […]

Why Our Restless Souls Matter

We writers try to find ways to remind ourselves that what we are writing really matters.  One way I do this is to remember who I’m writing for. Some of you know by now that Grace Sticks is a book for […]

How Evangelicals Voted- Survey Results to Debut Today

After last night’s election victory by Barack Obama, the survey results regarding Christian voting trends are almost in- this according to one of today’s headlines from Religion Today, citing as its source the The Christian Post. Apparently, the post-election survey […]

Democrat or Republican: How Would Jesus Vote?

Maybe some of you have asked that question.  Maybe you’re asking it today as we head to the polls to elect America’s next president. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, because I don’t have an answer.  The truth is, I’m suspicious […]

Mental Health Break: “Redemption Song”

Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” seems fitting today as tomorrow we Americans head for the polls to elect our next president. I fell in love with this version of the song, compliments of the group, “Playing for Change.”  Enjoy!

Christian Meteorology: A New Series

The other day in class, someone made the following declaration: “That’s not theology.  That’s meteorology!,” he said.  I love it- hence the inspiration for a new series here at the intersection between life and God, titled “Christian Meteorology.”  We’ll feature […]

Knowing My Audience: “Nones” On the Rise

As an aspiring author I’ve been getting better acquainted with my audience, and it’s an audience I find it easy to self-identify with (Christian ministerial credentials aside).  A poll recently released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life […]

“The Beautiful Wife”: How One Woman Is Crusading to Save Christian Marriages

Reading the book, The Beautiful Wife, by author and speaker Sandy Ralya, whose agenda to save so-called “biblical marriage” seems a bit dubious from the start, feels like the times I’ve been asked to buckle up during a spate of turbulence […]

“Hope of the Earth”?

“This nation is the hope of the earth,” Republican candidate Mitt Romney said in passionate closing remarks at last night’s third and final presidential debate. The statement for a moment filled me with great pride, and maybe I’m not alone. […]

Square Halos

In his book, The Road to Missional, Michael Frost describes the experience of wandering through the Vatican Museum in Rome to stumble upon an eighth-century mosaic fragment that depicted Pope John VII wearing not a shiny, gold halo but a […]

Hurricane Isaac Spares God’s “Chosen People”

Yesterday morning, when tropical storm Isaac was gathering speed and looked ready to hit this year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, conservative Christian talk show host Pat Robertson was, oddly, silent.  The coincidence of a second hurricane in four […]

A Year of Kingdom-of-God Living

“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33 It’s rare that I remember my dreams, but the other night I did.  In the […]

“Reading the Bible For All It’s Worth”

Some people really know their Bibles.  One of them is Steve Hayner.  Steve is the president of Columbia Theological Seminary, in Atlanta, Georgia, and has taught missiology, pastored churches, and worked at the helm of the student ministries organization, InterVarsity. […]

From War to Peace: A Story of Reconciliation in Burundi, Take 2

Those of you who caught last week’s post and have been waiting for a working link at which to view the ten-minute video I mentioned, don’t need to wait any longer.  The video, compliments of the World Prayer Assembly, tells […]

Recovering the Lost Language of God’s Mission

Andrew Sullivan’s “The Dish” featured a piece yesterday on how radio programming initiatives are keeping alive the dying minority languages of New Zealand’s Maori peoples:  “In the Maori community of New Zealand, for example, the combination of 21 radio stations […]

A Riot in the Cathedral

Have you been following the story of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot and their so-called “punk prayer protest” against Russian President Vladimir Putin? The band, whose highest-profile members are three young women now facing a three-year prison sentence, has […]

Lessons from the Colorado Tragedy

The massacre at a movie cinema late Thursday night was a tragedy. It can be a lesson, too.  The question is, a lesson about what exactly?  As usual, the devil is in the details. In the days following a deranged […]

“Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?” Is the Wrong Question

In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, titled “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?,” Ross Douthat makes the observation that last week, as the Episcopal Church was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for […]

Family unValues: Weird Jesus Sayings

“If any of you come to me…and don’t hate your father and your mother, your wife and your children, your brothers and your sisters- yes, and even your own life!- you can’t be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26 So much […]

“Is There a Case for Foreign Missions?”

“Is There A Case for Foreign Missions?”  That was the title of a speech delivered by the writer, Pearl Buck, for a packed gathering organized by the Presbyterian Church in November 1932.  Buck, in summarizing four decades of experience as […]

Shaking the Dust

“[Jesus] said to the apostles, ‘If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’” – Luke 9:3-5 The chaplain was making her usual rounds at one of the […]

Vatican “Nunsense”: Why Old “Habits” Die Hard

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers…” – Genesis 3:15 “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” – Luke 24:11 I’ve been following with […]

The Tragedy of Abortion

My husband warned me not to bring this issue up, because it’s one of those topics that makes people squirm and in some cases scream at each other.  But, I was often one of those kids growing up who would […]

The Rainy Day Marriage of Creation and Redemption

Who would have thunk that you could be baptized by a rain storm and saved every day?  That’s Anabaptist alright- but I like it! Garrison Keillor read the following poem by Gary Young yesterday on The Writer’s Almanac, and I thought […]

Existential Schizophrenia

Maybe the universal human dilemma can be summed up in the following question: how do I live between the two poles of, on the one hand, my own insignificance and the transitory nature of my finest achievements, and, on the […]

Clubbing with Jesus

If Christianity were a dance club, then it would seem to have a lot of bouncers lately.  First it was Franklin Graham, questioning the authenticity of President Obama’s Christian faith and implying that he could be a closet Muslim after […]

“Exorcise Wall Street”

Author and activist Shane Claiborne has recently proposed an “exorcism” of Wall Street (as opposed to an occupation).  Claiborne takes the story of Jesus’ exorcism of the demon-possessed man, “Legion,” as biblical precedent for the idea.  What do you think- […]

God May Still Use the Church for God’s Mission. Maybe.

Yesterday’s exchange with a stranger on Facebook who saw Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer Prize winning picture and my accompanying prayer and proceeded to explain why my prayer, with its inappropriate, “Mother-Spirit” language, would not be heard and why I, an “unsaved […]

Just How Open-Minded is “Progressive” Christianity?

Fellow Saints and Sinners, I am re-posting the following response to the video I just shared with you, which poses the question, “Can prayer be social justice?” When I shared the video with the Facebook community, “Christians tired of being […]

Remembering Dr. King’s Peacemaking Legacy

When today we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., who in 1964 received the Nobel Peace Prize for his heroic and painstaking work as a civil rights activist, I am struck by King’s words on the eve of […]

Was Jesus a Tea Party Member? Weird Sayings Continued…

“Jesus said to him, ‘What do you think, Simon?  When the kings of the world collect taxes or duties, who do they collect from?  From their own families, or from outsiders?’ ‘From outsiders,’ he replied. ‘Well then,’ said Jesus, ‘that […]

Ben Stein Talks Christmas, Political Correctness and the Disappearance of God

Probably most of us know commentator, author and actor Ben Stein from his taking attendance in the 1986 movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”  Here Stein, a God-fearing Jew, shares his views on the merits of Christmas and why at this […]

The Octopus and the Quarter

“How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!…It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Mark 10:23, […]

The Playground Police

Did you know that there are now apparently playground police   officers?  I got stopped by one yesterday. She was in full uniform.  The real deal: a City of Atlanta officer with badge, belt and holster to show for it. […]

Space Dog: The Animal of Regret

The first-ever animal to orbit the Earth and to die in space was a dog named “Laika” (Russian for “Barker”).  When the Soviets launched Sputnik 2 in 1957, Laika out-performed two other dogs to earn the dubious honor of participating […]

“Supply-Side Jesus”

Al Franken was more creative than I am this morning.  Besides, the “gospel” in certain politicans’ rhetoric about how to fix America’s unemployment crisis really does resemble this sometimes:  Like the other day when Rick Perry told the New York […]

Previous Posts

In the Clear: Meditations on Cleaning House
The last few weeks have comprised a massive de-cluttering initiative in preparation for a home renovation, as we clear out junk from our basement, attic and just about anywhere useless stuff has managed to accrue. What Do We Throw ...

posted 2:04:34pm May. 20, 2015 | read full post »

For All Restless Souls—The Love-Hate Memoir of One Churchgoing Gal
My review of Rachel ...

posted 12:13:35pm May. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Upcoming Review of Rachel Held-Evans' Latest Book
Yesterday I submitted a final, much-revised manuscript for The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Addictions (InterVarsity Press, 2015)—which hopefully means I can be back at this intersection between God and life at ...

posted 3:55:35pm May. 12, 2015 | read full post »

"The Power of Introductions," Via Bruce Strom and Gospel Justice
I've featured the work of my friend and inspiration Bruce Strom, a lawyer who directs the organization Gospel Justice Initiative, at this intersection before. Bruce once had a cushy job as the senior partner at a corporate law firm, but he gave ...

posted 11:06:21am May. 05, 2015 | read full post »

5 Spiritual Lessons from Editing The Recovery-Minded Church
The edits to The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Additions (IVP) have been substantial and time-consuming, thanks to a ...

posted 10:23:02am Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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