Christianity

Abuse in the church—it has to end.

One time, I wrote a letter to Pope Francis. I know…ridiculous. What wasn’t ridiculous was the message I wrote to him: that before he goes off to save the climate and solve the refugee crisis and bring peace to the Middle East, he first needs to take care of priority number one—addressing sexual abuse in his church. The Catholic Church has gotten the bad rap of being the sole proprietor of sexual a...

Miracles & Healing

Miracles are news. You go on the internet, you get assaulted with clickbait about miraculous healings, the Shroud of Turin, airplane landings that almost went wrong, and the like. Do Christians really believe in all these things? Are they just gullible? What do they believe about miracles, anyway, and why? First of all let’s get it straight and say: Christians believe in miracles, but not necessar...

Who is God?

This is a tough article to write. It’s a portrait of the God Christians know—the God portrayed in the Bible and known down through the ages through what he does. And trying to describe such an overwhelming personality feels like being a mouse drawing an elephant, or a cricket describing the Milky Way. *Gulp* Here goes. The Basics Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God, the Lord is...

God Became Human

A great teacher, a historical figure, a wise man, a revolutionary… the descriptions of Jesus go on and on. But if you ask Christians to describe him, there’s one thing that comes to the forefront: Jesus is God himself, come as a human being. That’s what we really believe. And when we say human, we mean completely and totally human—with a human body, mind, and soul. Jesus wasn’t faking it.  He is G...

Why the Bible?

If you’ve spent any time with Christians at all, you know that the Bible holds a pretty central place in our world. But maybe you haven’t read it—most people haven’t. And so you might be wondering what the point of it is. What the Bible Is Not For Here are some of the things that are not the main purpose of the Bible. People may use it for these purposes on occasion, and most of them are valid, bu...

Sin

Are human beings just fine the way they are? What do you think? Is it OK that people starve because dictators purposely withhold food to maintain power? Is child abuse “just the way it is”? Is slavery fine? Is it all right for judges to take bribes from wealthy defendants to reduce or eliminate their sentences? Is child abuse all right, since it’s so widespread? Trying saying to your friends (or t...

Terrible World, Good God?

Pick any time of the day and turn on a news channel or check in with your favorite news website. It doesn’t matter which one. It won’t take long before you stumble across a story about something terrible: earthquakes, war, drought, epidemics, tsunamis, nuclear disasters, starving children, terrorist attacks, and the list goes on. At other times, bad things touch our own lives: cancer, miscarriages...

Prayer in Public Schools—The Laws Make Sense

Every year of high school I met with my fellow Christian classmates and friends during the designated Wednesday in September. We met to pray for our country. We met to pray for our school. We met to pray for each other. We met to prove that the First Amendment still gave us the right to profess our faith, even if a Supreme Court decision said we could not have school-wide corporate prayer. Most of...

If I identify as a Christian, does it have to be ‘all-or-nothing’?

Some people associate an ‘all-or-nothing ultimatum’ with identifying as a Christian: ‘You believe the entirety of the Bible and take it as fact, or none of it. There isn’t room to pick and choose.’ This is a big challenge for people who—by contrast—identify as Christian, but take more of a middle-ground approach on many of the issues the Bible raises. On one hand, I get it. Religion isn’t Chipotle...

We need to change what it means to be patriots.

It was our first Sunday attending church in our new city. We were in a city with many Lutheran churches, so we had our pick, but we decided to start with the church right down the street. It was Fourth of July weekend. The worship service was patriotic, complete with Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.” And this politically moderate Lutheran was ready to run out of the building. It’s not tha...

Dear Giant Church

Dear Giant Church— I want to come in, but I can’t see past the hypocrisy. Driving to my local grocery store, I pass 3 gorgeous churches. Towering three stories high with large windows and a solid brick exterior.  The sun shining down casts a beautiful glowing light on the cross raised high in the air. I’ve so often wanted to stop and ask, “Why is your church so big?” It’s puzzling to see so many c...

How One-Celled Bacteria Made Me Question Everything

As a young man I was gifted in science and math, so naturally I gravitated towards those subjects in college. When I first started my undergraduate education, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to be. I went from teaching, to chemistry, to pharmacy, and I’m sure I’ve missed a couple. But even if I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be, I was sure it would deal with science. And as I grew in my ...

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