Thoughts about how Christianity affects our every day lives

"These Christians Are Weird . . . But They Love"An interview with Philip Yancey about his new book, Vanishing Grace
"These Christians Are Weird . . . But They Love"

I had the privilege of talking by phone with Philip Yancey about his new book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? A few of the questions we discussed made it into the November issue of CT Magazine (A Church for Outsiders), but today I get to offer you another sliver of our conversation. ...

Heaven and the Theology of ButterA Small Talk guest post by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
Heaven and the Theology of Butter
Image: Snugg/flickr

As the writer of the fifth installment in our Small Talk blog series, I am delighted to welcome Natasha Sistrunk Robinson. Natasha first wrote for this blog back in August, and I invited her to turn her attention to the theological lessons learned from the little voices in our midst. This series began ...

Jesus Loves the Little ChildrenAnd yet I've resisted being like a child my whole life.
Jesus Loves the Little Children
Image: Wilson X/flickr

Last week I started to wonder if I was the only adult who hates Halloween. I hold no religious objection to this holiday. I don’t even mind the candy. I just don’t like decorating or costumes or the self-imposed pressure and implicit competition with other mothers to be GOOD (by which ...

Why We Still Go To ChurchIt's inconvenient and inefficient and sometimes doesn't even feel spiritual. But I'm glad we keep showing up.
Why We Still Go To Church
Image: pdbreen

According to a 2010 Gallup poll in 2010, 32 percent of people in the state of Connecticut attend church weekly or nearly every week. The numbers look similar for the rest of New England. In our small Connecticut town, about 60 people show up to church on a typical Sunday, representing close to 2 ...

Sex and Sunday SchoolA Small Talk Guest Post by Megan Hill
Sex and Sunday School
Image: tamarajohnsonbelieves/flickr

In anticipation of my new book, Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most, each week I'm featuring a different writer for a guest post. These posts dicuss the ways children's questions, comments, or actions have prompted deeper reflection for the adult. The series began with ...

How Godparenting Brought Me Into the Family of GodA Small Talk guest post by Katelyn Beaty.
How Godparenting Brought Me Into the Family of God
Image: Ceyla de Wilka/wiki commons

This Friday "Small Talk" series is an opportunity to consider the ways God uses children as "vehicles of grace" in the lives of adults. The idea comes from my new book, Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most. In the second post of the series, Katelyn Beaty ...

Are Faith and Science Compatible? Hanging out with Christian scientists taught me even more about the nature of God.
Are Faith and Science Compatible?
Image: c@rljones/flickr

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a conference hosted by The Biologos Foundation. In some ways, I felt like an odd duck. Biologos is an organization dedicated to demonstrating the compatibility of modern science and evangelical faith. I’m all about evangelical faith, but I haven’t ...

Why I Don't Like Being Called ReligiousAnd how I'm learning to embrace it anyway.
Why I Don't Like Being Called Religious

We moved to Connecticut two years ago. It took nearly as long for people to start telling me that I am “religious.” It usually comes as an explanation for why I won’t like something or why I wouldn’t know about some local gossip. It almost always seems to mean that I am an ...

Don't Worry, Be Happy—According to JesusRemembering the reason and way to let go of our worries.
Don't Worry, Be Happy—According to Jesus
Image: Alon/flickr

Recently, I was reading the Bible and thinking about Bob Marley. In the parable of the four soils, Jesus describes worry as one of the things that thwarts our spiritual growth (the other thing he cites as a problem is pleasure, which is a post for another day). A few chapters later, he commands his ...

Sabbath is Not a Means to More Productive WorkIt's time to stop optimizing the Lord's Day. A guest post by David Zahl.
Sabbath is Not a Means to More Productive Work
Image: Alex Gregory/New Yorker

In our final post of four related to understanding, celebrating, and receiving the gift of the Sabbath, David Zahl reflects on our tendency to want to work, even as we rest:

A few months ago, The New York Times ran a remarkably astute editorial about the state of American sleep. Apparently the Centers ...

The Delicious Invitation to Rest"It's not anxiety we find in the piles of the undone..." A guest post by Jen Pollock Michel
The Delicious Invitation to Rest
Image: ali edwards/flickr

I confess that I am more of a Sabbath-breaker more than a Sabbath-keeper, although it was ten years ago now that I began to rally some frail faith for practicing the habit of weekly rest. Ten years ago, I was the mother of three very small children: a preschooler, a toddler, and a small baby. The ...

The Jewish Roots of Christian SabbathIn a guest post, Michelle Van Loon begins to unwrap the gift of Shabbot
The Jewish Roots of Christian Sabbath
Image: timsackton/flickr

Where I come from, Shabbat begins at dusk on Friday nights, and ends when the first three stars become visible on Saturday evening. The twenty-five or so hours from Friday evening through Saturday evening are meant to be a time of restorative rest and reconnection with God, family and faith community, ...

Who is the Sabbath for? Some thoughts on the differences in the Biblical accounts of the Sabbath commandment, and on why that matters to us now.
Who is the Sabbath for?
Image: Sky Noir/Flickr

I've been thinking about the Sabbath—this weekly day of rest, or is it a day of worship?—for years now. It first piqued my interest in college, when a Christian friend of mine decided to stop doing homework on Sundays. I was intrigued—he looked so happy and relaxed outside throwing ...

Does Grief Ever Go Away?What if grief could be more like embarking on a sturdy sailboat for a journey and less like capsizing in a tsunami? A guest post by Jonalyn Fincher
Does Grief Ever Go Away?
Image: Luke/Flickr

The word that sticks with me is "still". Are you still upset about that? Are you still hurting? Are you still grieving?

For many of us, yes, we still are. We are still working on what that loss has done to us, living tentatively, with pain right beneath our skin, so near that we work hard to ...

Want a Better Devotional Life? Buy a Bird FeederWhat my grandfather and my son taught me about patience, love, and a gentle spirit.
Want a Better Devotional Life? Buy a Bird Feeder
Image: Gary Simmons/Flickr

I asked my mother for a bird feeder for my birthday. I'm not sure what inspired my request. Unlike her, I've never been much of a naturalist. My one attempt at a vegetable garden failed. I often need someone else to point out the beauty around me because I find myself lost in an abstract ...

The Song Jesus Sang on the CrossJesus' final words communicated both despair and hope
The Song Jesus Sang on the Cross

Just before Jesus died, according to Matthew and Mark, he cried out in a loud voice, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It's a question that has rung out ever since, as Jesus' followers continue to wonder exactly why he uttered this "cry of dereliction" among ...

God Loves Rich People TooChristians need to adopt Jesus' attitude toward the one percent
God Loves Rich People Too
Image: greenkozi/flickr

It's been six years since the beginning of the Great Recession. Six years of conversations about unemployment, underemployment, mortgage-backed securities, and millions of Americans who have seen their fortunes fall. Six years of bemoaning Wall Street. Six years of reports about growing wealth ...

What Happens When we Turn (For Real) To GodThis Lent, I've learned again that He runs to meet us and welcome us home
What Happens When we Turn (For Real) To God
Image: archer10 (Dennis)/Flickr

Repent sounds like such a religious word, like street preachers shouting, like moralists wagging fingers. But I learned a long time ago that the literal translation of "repent" is to turn around. "Hey, buddy, you're headed in the wrong direction"—that sounds like a helpful, ...

Why Pope Francis is Right About ConfessionI'm not planning to become Catholic, but I am grateful for the Pope's example
Why Pope Francis is Right About Confession

Last Friday, Pope Francis broke with tradition when he knelt down at a confessional in public view and gave his confession to an ordinary priest. Typically the Pope confesses in private, but after preaching a sermon in which he talked about our common sinfulness, he also personally demonstrated his ...

Lent: Does God Really Care About My Diet Plan?Lent helps me join Jesus in erasing the line between sacred and secular.
Lent: Does God Really Care About My Diet Plan?
Image: Waldopepper

I had a roommate in college who went out (to a party, that is) four nights a week. If she returned to our room at all, it was usually long after I had gone to bed. Much as I enjoyed her company, I saw us as very different. I was organized and well-behaved. She was wild and messy. So I was surprised ...

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