01 Jul 2019

The Logic of Closed Communion

A few weeks ago, I found myself having a fruitful discussion about Christian unity with a nondenominational friend. His concerns echoed many of those voiced by Peter Leithart in The End of Protestantism—fragmentation over comparatively insignificant differences, the mandate of Jesus that his followers be one, and so forth. And I tend to think that many of those observations have force: in a cultural moment where questions of orthodoxy seem less and less bound up

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25 Mar 2019

On Washing, Wiping, and the Depth of Glory

Let me begin with a warning for the reader: My purpose in this post is to praise the depth of divine condescension in a way that eschews politeness. And in so doing, I’m going to talk about poop. You have been warned. My four-year-old is now daytime potty trained. This is a huge accomplishment for him and a great relief to his father and mother. Increasingly, he doesn’t even need help finishing up in the

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26 Sep 2018

Brief Reflections on Christian Leadership

In many circles, leadership is a common buzzword. Politicians, company executives, social scientists, pastors, teachers, professionals, generals, people who give TED talks, and seemingly everyone else is talking about leadership—what it means and how it works. I must confess that I too am interested in leadership; from my desk, I count no fewer than six different books with “leader” or “leadership” in their title.1 While I’ve found such books to contain much valuable information, I’ve

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31 Aug 2015

What Do We Want?

The rich man of Matthew 19:16-26 frightens me because I am like him in so many ways. Not because I’m rich: and make no mistake when it comes to material things I have more than I need. But because I have the same attitudes as the rich man. I want a list, I want a legal document that I can present at the pearly gates that says “admit one.” I think in my mind that

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30 Mar 2015

An Open Letter to Christian Bakers in Indiana

Dear Bakers, You have been getting a lot of attention recently, especially since the new law passed that would likely allow you to refuse to make cakes for gay weddings. It’s certainly worth asking how to interpret the First Amendment on this issue, but perhaps first we should ask what the gospels say. As you may remember, Jesus’s first miracle was at a wedding party. He provided wine for a bunch of people who were

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14 Jan 2015

Everyday Warrior

I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey. First he was a conspirator, now he’s a jester. He’ll end up by becoming a wizard—or a warrior!1 Foreshadowing—it’s part of what makes stories worth re-reading. While you may not always catch it the first time through, additional readings can highlight the hints that the author left to key you into what was coming. In Frodo’s quip above, we have an example of foreshadowing

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04 Dec 2014

When My Impact Is Small

At a retreat several years ago, I had the chance to combine a few of my favorite things — great people and making music. Part way through one of our evenings, I pulled out my Mountain Dulcimer, was shortly joined by a Guitar, and we were shortly joined by a group of folks singing along. As we went around picking out hymns to sing though, I began to question the necessity of my contribution. At

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20 Jun 2014

Real Work Has Its Reasons

Vivid memories are stored for numerous reasons – from shock or surprise, to excitement or pain. One such memory of mine is of a friend picking me up for a weekend adventure. Five minutes into our drive, she asked the question that made my hackles rise, “How long do you see yourself working in your current position?” Even now my heart rate increases and my blood pressure rises. I hear her underlying question, “When are

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