Christians

Abuse

You’re in a relationship, but the person you love never wants to see friends, visit family, or have them over. He or she complains if you’re on the phone with them, and asks where you’ve been if you’re more than five minutes late home from work. After a while, you realize it’s been months since you’ve seen or talked to anybody. You’re isolated and lonely. And things aren’t great at home, either… Y...

Church

Have you ever asked a Christian, or wanted to ask a Christian, “why do you even bother going to church?” I bother going to church, and I’m hoping I can answer in a way that makes sense. Speak up in the comments if it doesn’t. What the Church Is To answer your question, I need to start somewhere else—with what Christians think the church really is. You already know it means more than a building to ...

Being the Bible Instead of Quoting the Bible

I have read the Bible many times. Certain books and chapters received more re-readings than others, but I have read the whole thing through 3 or 4 times. At one time in my life, reading the Bible was very important. I wanted to talk to others about what I was reading, as you do when you get excited about anything in your life. I wanted to share. I was so excited I didn’t notice when others became ...

When Travel Raises the Hard Questions

Travel is trendy. Your local boutique store very likely sells coffee mugs and phone cases printed with “wanderlust” or “the mountains are calling” (insert trendy arrows and geometric designs), and you are tempted to buy these because you want to epitomize intrepidity, even while drinking coffee and scrolling your newsfeed on another mundane Monday at work. But why do we feel the tug to travel? I w...

When Church Lets Me Down

I always feel really comfortable walking into a church. I realize many people feel quite the opposite. I think I feel the way I do because I’ve had unusually good church experiences. I had a solid youth group in my teen years. Meeting my pastor in late high school/early college was a serious gift…he understood me really well and helped me through a ton of grueling, angsty transition at that point ...

Finding God Inside or Outside the Church

Once upon a time (to be candid, it feels like another lifetime), I worked as a parish minister. My experience included leading a small congregation in the city and serving as an associate on a large staff in the suburbs of Philadelphia. In both positions, I would visit men and women in nursing homes as well as others who couldn’t get out to church. I’d also try to call and connect with people who ...

Here’s a Wall I’m Okay With

Borrowed from Baptist theologian Roger Williams, the phrase “a hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world” has become a well-recognized description of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Officially adopted on December 15, 1791, the First Amendment prevents the government from passing any legislation that respects an e...

Raised Republican, Voted Democrat

I am a typical millennial. November 8th, 2016 marked only the second presidential election in which I was eligible to vote, and the first presidential election in which I was adequately informed in my vote. Four years ago, I watched about thirty minutes of one of the presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, I googled the platform issues for each candidate the n...

When it comes to religion, we’d better get an education.

The famous American playwright Wilson Mizner is attributed with saying, “I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.” Given America’s current lack of “religious literacy”—the knowledge of, and ability to understand, both your own religion and that of others—Mizner may very well be correct. Several years ago, the Pew Research Center put out its Religious Knowledge Survey. They found t...

Defined by Divide: A Poem

Today I tried. To understand the other side. Tried to cross the divide. A conversation overheard- offensive in almost every word. How to respond? With attack and hate? with protests, with rallies, with satire that deprecates? But you see, I know you- you love people, you serve my God, we may even agree on a thing or two. But with these words, these ideas, these fears nationwide, it is easier to de...