You guys have been amazing in your support of this blog! I never imagined that I would be listed as #6 on a ranking of top 25 Christian blogs when there are dozens of Christian blogs who have much larger daily readerships than mine. I didn’t deserve that honor. It’s a reflection of the dedication of my core readership. Anyhow, I’ve just set up a facebook page for this blog to consolidate my facebook sharing in one place. I was nervous about doing it, since having only a few “likes” exposes how small your readership is. So if you’re on facebook and you’re willing to click “like” on that page, I appreciate it. The only reason I engage in this silliness is because I want to pitch a manuscript to publishers as soon as I can show I have a big enough platform (they give you forms where you fill in things like “number of likes on your facebook page”). I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m so grateful for how gracious you’ve been in your support.
I’ve been experimenting with different subtitles for my book Mercy not Sacrificeand I’m very interested in your opinion. I think I’ve narrowed the focus to critiquing and offering suggested alternatives for the “getting saved” phenomenon that predominates evangelicalism. So my audience is going to primarily be “Blue like Jazz” type evangelicals. But I’d love to package it in such a way so that mainliners or non-believers could get something out of it. I realize the subtitle isn’t that big a deal but I’m going to keep on mulling it over until I pick one so help me by choosing one of the following or proposing your own. Continue Reading
Getting saved. These two words describe the best-selling product of one of the most successful industries of the last half-century: the American evangelical church. If it were a publicly traded company, investors who bought shares in the early 1970’s would be looking at capital gains of some thousand-fold at this point. Mainline Christians and Catholics get confirmed; Orthodox do whatever they do; but evangelicals, we get saved. And some of us, at least according to twitter, get #oversaved (look it up). The way that you prove you’ve been saved is through your zeal to get other people saved. It’s a genius business model, if that’s your goal. I happen to think that the mystery of Christ we are called to embody has been painted over by a man-made commodity we’ve been given to consume. Continue Reading
I have reduced my book to seven chapters and have given it a new title: Mercy Not Sacrifice: Salvation for Recovering Evangelicals. It may be too bold; I almost feel like checking the sky above me for lightning. My brother John Meunier had challenged me to come up with a unifying theme, and last night in Bible study we read about Zacchaeus where Jesus says, “Salvation has come to this house.” So it hit me this morning that there’s one question that evangelicals think we know the answer to but really ought to step back and reconsider: What is salvation? I propose 7 answers. Continue Reading
I desperately need your help and feedback in pulling this book together. I have shared below summaries for the introduction and the 16 chapters of Mercy Not Sacrifice. I know this is a really long blog post, but it would mean so much to me if you would look at it and help me make some decisions that I haven’t yet been able to make. Paste it into MS Word and print it out if it’s easier. I’m going to be discouraged if nobody responds. I can’t help it. As I learned in church-planter training, God made me a diva for the sake of my calling. If I ever actually publish this thing, I’ll say nice things about you in the front and help you with yours if you ever write one. Continue Reading
Between 1910 and 1915, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles published a twelve volume series of essays entitled The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, which would become the basis for the fundamentalist Christian movement. These essays were published in a polemical context in which Christians battled the scientism and historical critical Bible scholarship that seemed to threaten the very existence of our faith. Today’s polemical context is different. Today’s Christianity has turned into a triumphalist political voting bloc that enshrines middle-class social propriety as the entire content of Christian morality. Today’s Christianity uses megachurches to smother smaller churches the way that Walmart did twenty years ago to the mom and pop general stores that used to exist. Today’s Christianity has uncritically embraced celebrity culture and become just another niche market defined by the same capitalist forces as the secular world. Today’s Christianity takes the side of those who crucify over those who are being crucified. Today’s Christianity does not think in terms of bearing witness, but protecting its own interests. So it’s against these and other heresies of our day that I define my twelve fundamentals, which I hope to develop into full-length essays of their own and refine according to your critique and feedback. So please read and tell me what redundancies and heresies you see. Continue Reading