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Quitting Church: A Q&A with Julia Duin

posted by Patton Dodd

Why do people stop going to church? This big question is the subject of Julia Duin’s small book, Quitting Church: Why teh Faithful are Fleeing and What To Do About It. Duin is not a disinterested observer of the phenomenon […]

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Rob Stennett vs. Marilynne Robinson

posted by Patton Dodd

I’m overjoyed that my good friend Rob Stennett has won the Award of Merit from Christianity Today for his novel The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher. (Here’s CT’s review of the book.) Stennett’s hilarious book is about a real […]

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What is spiritual restoration?

posted by Patton Dodd

Slate asked for an essay on Ted Haggard’s spiritual restoration. I’m okay with what I came up with for now, but the more I think about it, the more I think we need better thinking on what restoration looks like […]

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It’s Not TV; it’s Ted TV

posted by Patton Dodd

A blog might not be the best medium for an essay like this. But I want to offer some more considered thoughts on Ted Haggard and his HBO documentary; I hope this performs some kind of service in a story […]

Q&A with Alexandra Pelosi on “The Trials of Ted Haggard”

posted by Patton Dodd

Alexandra Pelosi is the talented filmmaker behind “The Trials of Ted Haggard”–though, as she put it in the New York Times yesterday, she prefers to be considered a maker of television, not documentaries. Fair enough, as her light, earthy, humanizing […]

A good tweet, no doubt

posted by Patton Dodd

I’ve been mulling a long post in defense of doubt. For the last few months, I’ve watched hard questions and varieties of doubt do a great deal of good among some of my Christian friends, and I’ve been reading Luke’s […]

Have you had Scripture Shock?

posted by Patton Dodd

Jeff Sharlet, in his review of Peter Trachtenburg’s The Book of Calamities at Search Magazine, coins a phrase–“scripture shock”–to describe reading rattling, blood-curdling Bible passages. Consider Psalm 137 (where the psalmist blesses the one who would bash the heads of Babylonian children), […]

Christianity without doubt

posted by Patton Dodd

Reading N.D. Wilson’s account of his father’s public debates with Christopher Hitchens put me in mind of a certain kind of Christian I’ve met a few times, and always with a shock: intellectual Christians who don’t doubt.  As I explained to […]

My 5 y.o. daughter on evangelism

posted by Patton Dodd

When she heard in church that she could tell people that Jesus was God:  “There’s NO WAY I’m doing that! People can just believe, but I’m not telling them!” Very Calvinist of her, no? 

Mormons and Evangelicals

posted by Patton Dodd

Dave Banack is Beliefnet’s new Mormon blogger, and this week he’s launched a discussion series for a book titled How Wide the Divide: An Evangelical and a Mormon in Conversation. The book is 10 years old, but the subjects in […]

How do you choose a church?

posted by Patton Dodd

We’ve just published an essay written by the priest at the Anglican church I attend, Holy Trinity Anglican. It’s an Anglican Mission in the Americas church, which is part of the African-American conservative Anglican movement that is splitting from the […]

Jake Busey’s Christian Killer

posted by Patton Dodd

A month or so ago I announced that I was looking for movies with Christian killers, and many of you helped out with titles that hadn’t occurred to me. I’ve since seen more religiously motivated violence on screen than I […]

Ted Haggard: Three Complex Issues

posted by Patton Dodd

Like Tony, I’d rather see the Ted Haggard story go away entirely. But it won’t, at least not yet, because Haggard feels he has more story to tell.  As Haggard’s former writer, I was called upon to comment or write […]

What Christmas taught me to believe

posted by Patton Dodd

A personal post for a personal time of year:  Christmas memories hold for me–as I imagine they do for a host of others–a mixture of pleasure and pain.  Some of my sharpest Christmas memories are from the mid-1990s, when I […]

Advent is for everyone

posted by Patton Dodd

Brief but beautiful reflection from Scot McKnight today: Christmas, if it is faithful to the original vision, is to be an event of including those who have not previously been included. It is an event that expands God’s people to […]

John Mark McMillan is a Keith Green-U2-My Morning Jacket Mashup

posted by Patton Dodd

When I became a Christian in 1993, I became a very radical Christian. (Read all about it.) On some days back then, the only music I could find worth listening to was this odd 1970s worship legend named Keith Green. […]

Anne Rice takes your questions

posted by Patton Dodd

Former-vampire novelist Anne Rice has to be one of the most fascinating public converts to Christianity we’ve seen in a great while, not least because she is being so open about how she moved from atheism to Catholicism and, from […]

Who said it?

posted by Patton Dodd

“Christianity…is a perpetual breeding ground for violence, abuse, superstition, war, discrimination, tyranny, and pride. Religion and spirituality is a bottomless pit breeding illusion, deceit, and oppression.”  Post your guess below. The answer appears after the jump (no peeking before you […]

Can Liberal Christians be Fundamentalists?

posted by Patton Dodd

So asks Scot McKnight, prompted by a feisty exchange he had with Paul Raushenbush and the commenters at Raushenbush’s blog, which was prompted by Steve Waldman’s interview with Rick Warren.  The “evangelicals vs. fundamentalists” moment was the part of the Warren […]

Rick Warren’s Job, and Other Highlights from the Beliefnet Interview

posted by Patton Dodd

During Steve Waldman’s interview with Rick Warren last week, Waldman mentioned Beliefnet’s survey of voters after the election. Among other findings, says Waldman, we learned that when asked to rank issues of concern, evangelicals who voted John McCain listed “reducing poverty” […]

Newsweek, the Bible, and Same-Sex Marriage

posted by Patton Dodd

If you’re not following this issue already, the place to begin is with Tony Jones, who, in calling the situation a “kerfuffle,” reminds me that we should all be using that word as much as possible, and who does yeoman’s work […]

Santa Claus and My Socratic Five Year Old

posted by Patton Dodd

Last night, while my wife was at her book club, my kids and I visited some friends. On the way home, my 5 year old, Isabel, calls out “Dad?” from the backseat.  “Yes, Bel?” “Did you know, um, that some […]

Richard Cizik Resigns from National Association of Evangelicals

posted by Patton Dodd

Cizik resigned because he changed his position on civil unions. Christianity Today has all the pertinent info, and an interview with NAE president Leith Anderson. Two moments from the interview I’d like to point to: First, this very good question from […]

In His Name All Oppression Shall Cease

posted by Patton Dodd

That’s the hope Christians cherish, and the center of our longing in the season of Advent. That line from “O Holy Night” was very much on my mind this morning as part of the process of a longer, personal blog […]

Is “Merry Christmas” a Tool of the Devil?

posted by Patton Dodd

I’m kidding. Mostly. But:  For the last few years, many conservative Christians have been concerned with the secularization of Christmas. Following the lead of Bill O’Reilly and others, they’ve spent a lot of energy protecting their right to say “Merry […]

Again: Why is Focus on the Family cutting jobs?

posted by Patton Dodd

The Colorado Springs Gazette revisits the issue. They quote yours truly to the effect that Focus’ influence among younger evangelicals appears to be waning. The balance of the article suggests that my guess-timation is misguided, and that Focus’ decline has […]

Farming Against the Anti-Christ

posted by Patton Dodd

Some of my colleagues and I have been following the discussion about how some Christians believe that (or have wondered if) Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ. While we think about putting together something on that story, in Other Anti-Christ News, […]

Beginning to Look a Lot Like Advent

posted by Patton Dodd

I wrote this (ahem) incredibly wise and insightful entry on Advent yesterday, and it was apparently lost in the ether. But that’s for the best–the truth is that I don’t have much wisdom or insight on a tradition that I’ve […]

Do Ed Young’s sex sermons speak to singles?

posted by Patton Dodd

The most emailed article at the New York Times right now is about Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Texas and his much-discussed sermon series on sex. As part of the series, he challenged all the married couples in his […]

Colorado Springs, 2-paper town

posted by Patton Dodd

A tale of two ledes: Focus on the Family just announced a layoff of 20% of its workforce–big news here in Colorado Springs, where the ministry is one of the ten largest employers. Here’s how our daily paper, the Gazette, reported […]

Cultivators and Creators: An Interview with Andy Crouch

posted by Patton Dodd

Andy Crouch’s Culture Making: Rediscovering Our Creative Calling is the Christian book of the year–its Publisher’s Weekly nod for best religion book won’t be its last. The concept of “culture” has been something of a snare for American Christians–we’ve critiqued culture […]

John Piper: Vote as if not voting

posted by Patton Dodd

John Piper’s engaged asceticism is timely advice for American Christians who are worshipping at the altar of patriotism and the electoral process. I wish he’d emphasize that “Godward purposes” are, in fact, a call to deal with the world in […]

Good questions from Culture Making

posted by Patton Dodd

Today’s blogged excerpt from Andy Crouch’s book at the Culture-Making site asks urgent, necessary questions. Forget about the election, and ponder this: If we believe that God is still on the move in human cultures, then our most basic questions […]

Andy Crouch: We are terrifyingly unserious

posted by Patton Dodd

A must-read essay from Andy Crouch: “Why I Am Hopeful.” Andy isn’t gleeful about the fractures we’re seeing in capitalist structures, but the coming hard times, he says, give us a chance to become people of better, deeper, more godly […]

The Dishonesty of ‘Fireproof’

posted by Patton Dodd

At The Daily Beast, Daniel Radosh (who, incidentally, started a Beliefnet book club for his “Rapture Ready”) uses the occasion of the Christian blockbuster “Fireproof” to make a larger point about insular Christian entertainment: Not only does it speak exclusively to […]

Crisis Pregnancy in Bulgaria

posted by Patton Dodd

Richard Mouw, the president of Fuller Theological Seminary, sent along this story by a woman who had a harrowing, inspiring experience with the delivery of her Downs Syndrome baby in Bulgaria. He heard the woman sharing her testimony in a […]

Don Lattin’s Jesus Freaks

posted by Patton Dodd

One of the most unshakeable reading experiences I’ve had in the last year is Don Lattin’s Jesus Freak: A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge. Taking a cue from Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, […]

If it’s happening in Colorado Springs…

posted by Patton Dodd

Brandon Fibbs, a longtime Colorado Springs resident, political junkie, movie reviewer for Christianity Today, and current DC resident, reads Timothy Egan’s recent blog post on cultural and political shifts in Colorado Springs and adds some observations of his own: I […]

Young Earth Wins Cameron Strang’s Facebook Poll

posted by Patton Dodd

Cameron Strang, the publisher of Relevant Magazine and the subject of much discussion this summer when he first accepted, then declined an invitation to pray at the Democratic National Convention, posted an informal poll question in his Facebook and Twitter […]

Max Lucado’s Lamentation

posted by Patton Dodd

This is pretty remarkable–you’d think that Max Lucado, of all pastors, would offer an encouraging word, delivered with a smile, about the economic woes facing people today. But instead, he delivers nothing short of a lamentation. The message, essentially, is […]

Soft Pre-Launch

posted by Patton Dodd

The sidebar over yonder tells you all you need to know about the readiness of this here blog. I have not had time this week to get things up and running as they should be (and just think of all […]

So You Think Christians Can’t Dance? (still testing 123)

posted by Patton Dodd

One reason I love my church: We hardly ever do offertory hymns like this.

This is only a test. Do not adjust your browswer.

posted by Patton Dodd

Stay tuned for a series of tests. If, in your lonely middle of thenight Internet Wave Riding, you should happen across this blog, notabene that it is only a test. A sidebar is coming, complete with neatowidgets. Real posts are […]

Previous Posts

The Last Text Message
Today is my last day with Beliefnet, and my last day as the author of this blog. The Text Messages archives will remain live at this location, but posting will cease. If that sounds gloomy, it's an accurate reflection of my mind this ...

posted 3:47:12pm Feb. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Quitting Church: A Q&A with Julia Duin
Why do people stop going to church? This big question is the subject of Julia Duin's small book, Quitting Church: Why teh Faithful are Fleeing and What To Do About It. Duin is not a disinterested observer of the phenomenon of church-dropping; ...

posted 4:03:51pm Feb. 03, 2009 | read full post »

Rob Stennett vs. Marilynne Robinson
I'm overjoyed that my good friend Rob Stennett has won the Award of Merit from Christianity Today for his novel The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher. (Here's CT's review of the book.) Stennett's hilarious book is about a real estate agent who ...

posted 2:36:44pm Jan. 30, 2009 | read full post »

What is spiritual restoration?
Slate asked for an essay on Ted Haggard's spiritual restoration. I'm okay with what I came up with for now, but the more I think about it, the more I think we need better thinking on what restoration looks like for very public, outspoken, ...

posted 9:00:56am Jan. 29, 2009 | read full post »

It's Not TV; it's Ted TV
A blog might not be the best medium for an essay like this. But I want to offer some more considered thoughts on Ted Haggard and his HBO documentary; I hope this performs some kind of service in a story that I hope will end--in its public ...

posted 3:57:44am Jan. 28, 2009 | read full post »

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