here are a few books you should read…
after working in the church for the last several years, i’m now partnering with my dear friend and colleague andrew marin in chicago – serving as the associate director at The Marin Foundation. it’s a perfect fit for my passions, experiences and desire to inspire thoughtful conversation and intentional movement toward reconciliation.
to learn more about our work in elevating the conversation between conservative and progressive communities, click here.
i talk with a lot of people, read a lot of books and drink an ungodly amount of coffee and guinness.
the lessons from the journey of navigating the pain of my past and the challenges of restoring what’s been broken leave much for me to embrace and much for me to leave behind on the WayWard path of learning to live and love like jesus.
i’m grateful for the friendships and communities of which i’ve been fortunate to be a part, and am continually in the process of learning, provoking, asking questions and challenging the status quo. i am convinced we can do better. my forthcoming (and first!) book Love Never Fails (IVP, march 2015), talks about this in regard to the cultural disconnect with evangelical churches and the gay community.
i’m energized by engaging in conversation with my readers, and look forward to hearing about your own journeys and challenges; figuring out how we can each walk alongside one another as we together learn to love well.
for many years in the first century following the early followers of jesus were called followers of the Way. his Way is simple–to love God and to love others in the Way of jesus christ. yet in that journey, we often falter. we become rebellious, errant, disobedient, unruly, arrogant, and contradictory to the Way of jesus.
in short, we become WayWard. it is only through and by the grace of God that we can turn from our own ways and again follow his with a broken and contrite heart.
the WayWard follower blog exists not merely to inspire conversation around loving God and loving others in the Way of jesus christ…but to inspire movement. through these writings and creative communication, i hope to inspire thoughtful conversation that creates intentional movement in building bridges between opposing worldviews in a peaceful and productive manner. in other words, i want reconciliation.
i want to encourage and be encouraged; to challenge and be challenged; to question and be questioned; to inspire and be inspired.
‘love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.’
this is beyond embarrassing.
it is un-christlike.
in the following video, ‘christian’ activists briefly disrupted a hindu invocation in the us senate, marring a historic first for the chamber in allowing an actual separation of ‘church’ and ‘state.’
there is a difference between things that are painful, and things that are destructive.
embrace the former, and reject the latter.
i am convinced we are in the midst of a seismic shift – a massive, historic reformation of the way we define what it means to follow jesus. how we understand the bible, the gospel, heaven and hell are being challenged and poked and prodded and picked up and looked at from the underside before being placed back on the shelf of ‘religion’ – and in many cases, the spot the good book is placed in on the shelf has moved dramatically from where it had initially been picked up.
many have found that in the midst of this shift, some voices – ones who may have helped forge their faith in the past – are no longer able to help them grow; in fact, they may even hinder their growth…holding them back from what they feel called forward to.
how can this be?
it’s no surprise that as humans we have an inherent propensity to gravitate toward individuals and ways of thinking which reflect our own personal convictions and biases. our ‘comfort zones’ are made up of the familiar – things which reinforce the world as we already interpret it.
this familiarity provides for us the comfort of the similar – we often surround ourselves with like-minded people – reflecting our belief systems, behaviors and preferred philosophies and perspectives.
this ‘sameness’ is indeed part of the human experience; and yet, left unchecked, it can also lend itself toward the sort of dangerous Groupishness i’ve discussed at length here on the blog in the past. creating a cultural norm of us/them || in/out and refusing to generously engage the Other can, in fact, lead us backwards to a sort of tribalism which is inherently inhospitable and ungracious.
striking that balance is an important part of creating space for civil dialogue and disagreement.
just moments ago, i stumbled across an Op-Ed piece on CNN’s blog.
unsurprisingly, it was written about the recent controversial execution by lethal injection tuesday in oklahoma – a ‘botched execution’ that went so wrong that the same news agency wrote previously that ‘it will also prompt many Americans across the country to rethink the wisdom, and the morality, of capital punishment.’
As it well should.
enter al mohler’s Op-Ed piece.
much to my dismay, the title of the article written by the widely respected president of the flagship school for the largest protestant denomination in our country (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) with 16.2 million members was this ::
how have we gotten the message of jesus so damned wrong?
‘but we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always caring in the body the death of jesus, so that the life of jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. for we who live are always being given over to death for jesus’ sake, so that the life of jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh.’
– ii corinthians 4:7-11
sometimes i fear rather than being seen as jars of clay containing the treasure of the abundant life giving message of christ, many within the christian community instead look like a bunch of crack pots.
earlier this week, the frontman for the band Jars of Clay posed some good questions via his twitter feed about a christian response to the LGBTQ community – a move he later apologized for, acknowledging that the venue of 140 characters or less allowed for a misinterpretation of his intended queries. as his blogpost explained, the line of thought was prompted from dan haseline watching the film 12 Years a Slave on an international flight following his sitting on a panel which was pummeled with questions surrounding gay rights in australia. admittedly, he said, he hadn’t given the question much thought, even of his gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the states.
as some of you may know, i’m currently in the UK visiting my colleague and dear friend andrew marin as he continues his studies as a PhD candidate at st. andrews university in scotland.
the two weeks leading up to my trip saw my regular posting schedule here on the blog suffer, and i’ve been relatively absent since arriving here in the UK; however, much attention regarding the conversations surrounding faith and sexuality have been at the forefront of the online world – from last week’s release of matthew vine’s book God and the Gay Christian to the frontman of jars of clay ruffling the feathers of many on his twitter feed.
i’ll be posting a couple posts in the following days about the aforementioned stories, as well as some thoughts of my own. stay tuned.