A Little Help with the Relatives

I just had to share this TikTok series from @mrs.frazzled where a kindergarten teacher and gentle parenting adherent uses her skills on relatives at the holiday gathering. They're hilarious, but also contain some wisdom you might find helpful. https://www.tiktok.com/@mrs.frazzled/video/7302588223883267374?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7301743293395322414 https://www.tiktok.com/@mrs.frazzled/video/7301081269260127534?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7301743293395322414 https://www.tiktok.com/@mrs.frazzled/video/7301468875416276266?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7301743293395322414 These hilarious videos are an excellent reminder that even (or perhaps especially) during the holidays, bad behavior is not okay, loving people means respecting them and children get to have boundaries, too. ...

Read More

A Hard Drinking Tattooed Country Music Christianity

Note: the songs mentioned and shared in this post have some strong language. Some thirty years ago, Tex Sample wrote a book called Hard Living People and Mainstream Christians. He challenged mainline churches to break the bonds of middle/upper class captivity and reach out to those who live, well, a little bit harder. We didn't listen very well then, but perhaps country music is calling on us to rethink ...

Read More

Full discIosure: I am daunted

There is a quote often attributed to the Talmud, but more accurately described as a loose translation of a portion of the Pirke Avot that is commentary on Micah 6:8. Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. While I agree with the premise and ...

Read More

Forgiveness is not a weapon

I talk a lot about not using the Bible as a weapon--aka using scripture to hurt and harm others. Scripture is often mis-used to exclude and shame people. All too often, it is scripture taken out of context and sometimes the "scripture" wielded is not even actually in the Bible. We don't usually associate forgiveness with weaponry, but it is used all the time to guilt, shame and ...

Read More

When the fear gets you

If you've followed me for anytime at all, you know that I believe that fear is the antithesis of the Gospel. We are called over and over again to Be Not Afraid throughout the Old and New Testatments. But of course, sometimes the fear gets us. I imagine most of you have heard about the killing of Jordan Neely on the NYC subway, and the subsequent arrest of former marine ...

Read More

Transgender Day of Visibility is March 31

As humans and as Christians, we need to stand up and speak out for our trans neighbors. Please take a few minutes to watch this video and hear my thoughts on why it is critical that we support trans people in our families, our churches and our communities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-muNI_OmBA How will you support the trans people in your community on March 31 and beyond?

Read More

You (not your pastor) May Be the Reason Your Church Isn’t Growing

Full disclosure: you may not be the reason, either. There are many, many reasons church attendance is down--changing demographics, work schedules, busy lives, youth soccer/hockey/volleyball--the list is long. You could be doing all the "right" things and still not see your congregation growing in number. However, there is one sure-fire way to make sure a church won't grow: if the congregation is more concerned about meeting their own ...

Read More

Why Aren’t We Louder about Anti-Semitism?

So, yeah. It's embarrassing. Embarrassing is not really the word. Convicting. That's it. It's convicting. That Christians like me only pay attention to anti-semitism when someone like Kanye West puts it in the headlines. Like it's not always there. Like our Jewish neighbors don't deal with it all the time. I've done a little reflecting on why I don't pay more attention (not making excuses) and on how our Christian ritual ...

Read More

Gospel Night at the Strip Club

One of the things that's making me happy this week is the newly released concept album Welcome to Lindeville created by Arkansas native Ashley McBryde and friends. It's the story of the people in the fictitious town of Lindeville, named after the late songwriter Dennis Linde (who brought us--among others--the classic Good-bye Earl). Lindeville doesn't sugar coat life in small town America. It lays out all that's funny, ugly and ...

Read More

How Not to Lose A Pastor

Disclaimer: most of what is posted here at Doubting Believer is designed to lift up and encourage. This is not that kind of post. As a free-range pastor, I spend a lot of time talking with caged...um, I mean, traditionally placed pastors and educators. They're tired. They're discouraged. They're exploring other options. And, if you're part of a church community, chances are it's at least partly your fault. I ...

Read More