Religion

The Sublime and Silicon Valley

“The sublime—whether a feature of the natural world, or of UFOs, or of religious experience—is a sense of our own vanishing smallness before something impossibly vast: a mountain range, a churning ocean, the universe, God. What we get in return for being so existentially demeaned is freedom from the tyranny of our own personalities, a sort of liberating oblivion. But data-extracting platforms don’t sublimate our personalities; they multiply and magnify them. And the Data Sublime, …

The Sublime and Silicon Valley Continue Reading >

I’m 40 now and it took me all of my adult life to come to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s Supper because of my Baptist upbringing

Similar story to mine here… reflecting heavily as we prepare to enter Lent yet again: Having been raised in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, I never had learned to be sentimental about the Lord’s Supper; it was something we observed once a quarter on a Sunday night so that no one would confuse us with the Catholics and so that non-church members were less likely to be present. And thus, even as a pastor, …

I’m 40 now and it took me all of my adult life to come to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s Supper because of my Baptist upbringing Continue Reading >

Sam’s Bible Read Through Plan

I’m making something for you that’s available here for you to make a copy of for your own use, download, print, or save for your own additions and edits. It’s a work in progress and will be continually worked on in the coming weeks. But you can start using it now. Over the last several months on Instagram, I’ve been posting images and short thoughts that come to me during or after my daily Bible …

Sam’s Bible Read Through Plan Continue Reading >

Church prep for the economic downturn

Economic forecasts are pointing to a rocky 2019 and 2020 for the global economy due to a variety of causes. Pre-2007, the thinking was that nonprofits, charities, and churches were more “Recession Proof” than enterprise or commercial ventures due to the patterns of previous economic downturns and market corrections. While giving from individuals and foundations dipped, they didn’t suffer dramatic drops and tended to hold steady in giving amounts compared to previous years. However, the …

Church prep for the economic downturn Continue Reading >

Mary’s ‘Magnificat’ in the Bible is revolutionary — so evangelicals silence it

I certainly had never heard of the term “Magnificat” until college. It’s difficult to divorce biblical passages such as these from contemporary politics when we are in a season of listening to footsteps. Good read in these closing days of Advent 2018: Why has this song been forgotten, or trimmed, for so many people who grew up evangelical? It could be a byproduct of the Reformation, which caused Protestants to devalue Mary in reaction to …

Mary’s ‘Magnificat’ in the Bible is revolutionary — so evangelicals silence it Continue Reading >

Patron Saint of Pit Bulls

Every morning, Flatt wakes up compelled by that simple mission: He has to save a dog—especially ones that everyone else has given up as lost. June received reconstructive surgery for her injuries and joined the ranks of damaged creatures salvaged by Friends to the Forlorn (FTTF), Flatt’s Dallas, Georgia–based animal rescue operation, which has worked with every canine breed from Chihuahuas to Mastiffs but specializes in pit bulls. He takes on the fighters and the …

Patron Saint of Pit Bulls Continue Reading >

The God of Progress

An intriguing essay on a point that has been made repeatedly about American religion, particularly its inextricable connections to cultural materialism and scientific progress… Our modern world tries extremely hard to protect us from the sort of existential moments experienced by Mill and Russell. Netflix, air-conditioning, sex apps, Alexa, kale, Pilates, Spotify, Twitter … they’re all designed to create a world in which we rarely get a second to confront ultimate meaning — until a …

The God of Progress Continue Reading >

Churches, We Need to Talk About Website Accessibility (and Discrimination)

“Failure to comply with Section 508 of the Department of Justice’s ADA (American with Disabilities Act) Standards for Accessible Design could expose your company to hefty fines, the risk of expensive criminal and civil litigation as well as a reputation for being unfriendly to the disabled.” https://userway.org/ I’m going to make a rant here. Forgive me (or just don’t read if you’re not up for a Sam Rant™). Cheap website builders really upset me. For a …

Churches, We Need to Talk About Website Accessibility (and Discrimination) Continue Reading >

“My political views match those of most people at my church.”

More than half (57 percent) of Protestant churchgoers under 50 say they prefer to go to church with people who share their political views. And few adult Protestant churchgoers say they attend services with people of a different political persuasion Via LifeWay Research

Stitching together reality

The reason why we experience reality as a movie when it’s only a collection of pictures can be at least partially explained by our rhythms of attention. About four times every second, the brain stops taking snapshots of individual points of focus — like your friend on the corner in Times Square — and collects background information about the environment. Without you knowing it, the brain absorbs the sound of the crowd, the feeling of …

Stitching together reality Continue Reading >

Batman doesn’t believe in God anymore

In the story, Catwoman leaves Batman, whose secret identity is billionaire Bruce Wayne, at the altar. This leaves Wayne in a questioning state, where he explores his life and reflects on his theological background — he had been raised as a Christian by his father, Thomas.In one exchange with another character, Wayne is asked, “Do you believe in God?” to which he replies, “I used to.” Source: Batman No Longer Believes in God: DC Comics …

Batman doesn’t believe in God anymore Continue Reading >

An observation on “Church ‘Marketing’”

Hyperbole aside, this is ridiculous. It’s called the gospel. Marketing is not a negative phrase or concept that churches or religious orgs should shy away from. “Navel-gazing” and “not spreading the word,” however, are according to the Gospels. The marketing of the church is an invention of the Antichrist. If you have to ‘sell’ your Church, it isn’t a Church that you’re selling and you are a pagan pretending to be a Christian. — Read …

An observation on “Church ‘Marketing’” Continue Reading >

Response to “America’s Empty-Church Problem”

Maybe it’s the values of hierarchy, authority, and tradition that churches instill. Maybe religion builds habits and networks that help people better weather national traumas, and thus retain their faith that the system works. For whatever reason, secularization isn’t easing political conflict. It’s making American politics even more convulsive and zero-sum. Source: America’s Empty-Church Problem – The Atlantic This piece does a good job in summarizing the overall tilt towards secularism in America and its …

Response to “America’s Empty-Church Problem” Continue Reading >

Church Marketing and Political Issues

Six-in-ten religiously unaffiliated Americans – adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – say the questioning of religious teachings is a very important reason for their lack of affiliation. The second-most-common reason is opposition to the positions taken by churches on social and political issues, cited by 49% of respondents (the survey asked about each of the six options separately). Smaller, but still substantial, shares say they dislike religious …

Church Marketing and Political Issues Continue Reading >

Why People Do or Don’t Go To Church

Interesting stats about the reasons Americans attend or do not attend church regularly… “For instance, two-thirds of people who cite logistical reasons or that they “practice their faith in other ways” as very important factors in keeping them away from religious services identify with a religion (primarily Christianity), as do 56% of those who dislike features of particular congregations or religious services. Roughly half of those who say they practice their faith in other ways …

Why People Do or Don’t Go To Church Continue Reading >

“God said to Abraham give me a son…”

In Genesis, God prevented Abraham from carrying out the act. However, the papyrus text tells the story differently, suggesting that Isaac was indeed killed. This echoes the way the story is told in a number of other ancient texts, Zellmann-Rohrer said. — Read on www.newsweek.com/1500-year-old-ancient-egyptian-papyrus-contains-stories-biblical-human-891667

Romans 13 and American Appeals to Authority of the Government

Good read on the historical uses of Romans 13 in American history to justify obedience to the government in light of our Attorney General’s use of that text today to defend the deplorable and immoral and utterly un-Christian internment camps we’re setting up along the Mexican border for children that we’re forcibly separating children from their asylum-seeking parents… As I wrote at my own blog, I’m not sure we should “act as if the New …

Romans 13 and American Appeals to Authority of the Government Continue Reading >

“Where did Angels come from?”

I got asked that question during a Sunday School class on Old Testament conceptions of the divine a few years back. I struggled to gather my thoughts quickly and do that Middle School Teacher “Well, actually… it’s very interesting you see…” thing. But it is a long and interesting history to process how we went from the regional deity of Yahweh to having monotheism to having the middle tier of gods deleted and the lower …

“Where did Angels come from?” Continue Reading >

Fear and Preaching in Sin City

It is possible — even essential — to take a stand against things that are morally wrong without taking sides between Republicans and Democrats. We are currently hamstrung by the myth that to work against things like racism and sexism and mistreatment of refugees is to take sides on politics. There are some things to which there are not two sides — things the church must condemn as morally wrong whether they are advocated by …

Fear and Preaching in Sin City Continue Reading >

Scroll to Top