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Author Archive

    A Little Ditty ’Bout Jack and the Desert Monks

    In the gallows humor of this thing called Life, it’s usually in the afterglow of fulfilling our ultimate dreams that we wake up and ask, “What in the hell was I thinking?” Was it worth delaying marriage, foregoing children, neglecting aging parents and ignoring friendships, to find myself in my late-40s with a career fat […]

    Vulnerable: Rethinking Human Trafficking

    “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Tolstoy’s opening lines from Anna Karenina could easily be co-opted as the introduction to countless biblical stories. We barely get our feet wet in Genesis before the pool of family history becomes toxic. Adam blames both God and Eve for the […]

    When a Dragon Tried to Eat Jesus: The Nativity Story We Don’t Talk About

    I’m still searching for a Christmas card with a red dragon in the nativity, lurking amidst the cows and lambs, waiting to devour the baby in the manger. None of the Gospels mention this unwelcome visitor to Bethlehem, but the Apocalypse does. John paints a seven-headed, ten-horned red dragon onto the peaceful Christmas canvas. You […]

    The Philosopher from the 1800s Who Talked About Social Media

    Long before Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, there lived a man in 19th-century Denmark who foreshadowed them all. His name was Søren Kierkegaard. We recognize him as a philosopher and a pugilistic theologian. Plus, the guy could tell a story like nobody’s business. And in one of his stories, he all but prophesies the future soul […]

    The Great Things We’ll Accomplish in the Grave

    We’ve all had influential people in our lives who remain unaware of the impact they had on us. An elementary school teacher who inspired us to dedicate our lives to educating others. An older friend of our family whose kindness and generosity we’ve tried to emulate. Maybe it’s a random stranger who, like a guardian […]

    Walking Away from a Murder

    His girlfriend had recently got back together with him. He’d have been better off without her. But tell that to an eighteen year old who’s in love. She was all he had, and all he wanted. So when he lost her, he thought he lost everything. And when he got her back, he thought he […]

    Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

    Let’s start with the obvious: Christianity is an outwardly fractured religion. You’d think Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and bloody each other’s noses over, like, Every. Single. Thing.” Just for perspective, note that there are far more denominations than there are languages spoken around the globe. We’ve out-Babelled Babel. Even the most […]

    Book Smart and Gospel Stupid

    If you can tell me all about the Almighty’s mind-blowing power to fashion ladybugs, the Milky Way, and titanium from absolutely zilch, but don’t get around to talking about our re-creation in Christ… If you can marshal vast arrays of evidence to fight tooth-and-nail with those who deny the days of creation were seven twenty-four […]

    Theology Lessons from a Ghetto Star

    When the phone rang at his friend’s house, Tommy Shakur Ross picked up the receiver. And into his ears fell razor-sharp words that would keep falling and falling, shredding his insides in their violent descent… Tommy—who goes by Shakur—was a member of the L.A. gang, the Eight Trays. Raised by a minister father and church-going […]

    Laughing at Our Trophies

    A few years ago I ran my first half-marathon. And won. By accident. The northern panhandle city of Amarillo, Texas, boasts scant trees, passels of cowboys, and a handful of runners who—taking Bob Seger literally—are always “running against the wind.” It was no exception on September 1, 2009, when I lined up with hundreds of […]