Three of My Favorite Un-Cheery Christian Songs

If you missed it in my Saturday wrap-up, Leah Libresco’s analysis of the unrelenting cheeriness of contemporary Christian music (CCM) is well-deserving of your attention. Looking through the last five years’ worth songs to wind up Billboard’s year-end Christian Top 50 charts, she found striking lyrical imbalance: There were 2.5 times as many mentions of “grace” as “sin” in … More Three of My Favorite Un-Cheery Christian Songs

“Tell It Like It Is”: How the Church Should Respond to Trump

During our travels over the holiday weekend, we visited a church and witnessed an odd, telling moment. Looking for a negative sermon illustration at one point, the pastor spontaneously mentioned “the presidential candidate who says he doesn’t need God’s forgiveness.” As best I can recall, the pastor didn’t even say Donald Trump’s name, but he clearly thought he had crossed … More “Tell It Like It Is”: How the Church Should Respond to Trump

Thursday’s Podcast: Preaching (and Listening)

If you’ve been waiting for Mark — one of the best preachers I know — to talk about preaching and proclamation, this episode is for you. If you’ve been waiting for Sam to help us think through the importance of Christians taking up what Krista Tippett calls a “ministry of listening,” this episode is also for you. And if … More Thursday’s Podcast: Preaching (and Listening)

Patriotism, Love, and Grace: An Independence Day Meditation

This 4th of July weekend I’m feeling more patriotic than I have in years, thanks to two speeches by Pres. Obama. First, his speech this past March at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Obama remembered the civil right activists who fifty years earlier had been brutally attacked during their peaceful march to Montgomery: As … More Patriotism, Love, and Grace: An Independence Day Meditation

A Day of Listening: Andrew Sullivan on Marriage

Yesterday morning I had the chance to talk to a group of pastors pursuing their D.Min. degrees. Invited to share a parting comment, I encouraged them to cultivate what Krista Tippett has called a “ministry of listening.” I suggested that that was particularly true for us white, straight, middle-class men in America who are accustomed to having our … More A Day of Listening: Andrew Sullivan on Marriage

The Prodigal Father

It’s a testament to the power of Jesus’ parables that you can hear one for what seems like the millionth time and still find something new in it to ponder. For example: the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), which was our lectionary text earlier this month. As familiar as it is, I sometimes … More The Prodigal Father

Unhappy Valley

Some quick thoughts about what’s happened at Penn State in recent days, including the student rioting last night… First, I feel for people like sportswriter Michael Weinreb, who experienced an idyllic upbringing in State College — his father was on the Penn State faculty — and had a good experience at PSU himself. Despite that … More Unhappy Valley