Vacation Posts

Perfectionism is the Voice of the Oppressor

In her book on writing, author Anne Lamott says that “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft” (Bird by Bird).

I think this applies to far more than early drafts of things we write.

We’re all tempted to appear as if we’ve arrived at some perfected version of ourselves. This is the version we project of ourselves on social media and online. This is the version of ourselves we usually show professionally. This is the version of us that people who don’t really know us believe.

The problem with playing this game is that it leaves you no room for growth.


Where is Jesus Headed?

I was having a conversation with my kids this week when one of them asked me to explain Judaism. Essentially I told them it represented the Old Testament part of their Bible without a belief in Jesus. To which they asked, “Don’t we believe in the Old Testament?” I replied that we did, but then I casually said the phrase: “Christians are Jews who kept going.”

By that I mean our faith is built upon a similar foundation to that of Judaism, but we found what the Old Testament was pointing to in the person of Jesus and that launched us into an entirely new journey of focusing on Him. But did that journey end with the New Testament? Or said differently, if the Old Testament is pointing to Jesus, what is Jesus in the New Testament pointing to?

Admittedly, there is much in Christianity in America that I consider falls far short of the person of Jesus. Just because we’ve generally accepted an idea or it’s been around for a while does not necessarily make it true.

One of the most underrated things Jesus ever said is found in John 16.


Holding the Church Accountable

I’ve been watching an incredibly sad story play out in a church community I love. There’s a church called The Meeting House in Canada that I’ve been connected with for a bit now. It recently came out that Bruxy Cavey (the Lead Pastor) was being accused of sexual abuse from a member in their community.

Not only have I been a big fan of The Meeting House, I’ve been a big fan of Bruxy. He’s helped me work through theological nuances on a number of topics. He endorsed my last book. He and I even talked briefly about the possibility of starting the first U.S. campus for the Meeting House after I left my last church. It’s a devastating feeling to learn that someone you have immense respect for has abused his power in such a profound way.

Yet my heart primarily breaks for this woman and the hurt and shame she has had to carry. When I was a Lead Pastor I resigned my position in our church after I fundamentally disagreed with the direction our eldership was going. That caused me to feel more isolated and alone in our community than I ever could have imagined. I cannot even fathom the depths of trauma this woman has gone through and continues to go through as she brings this to light. Especially as her voice has not been fully listened to in this process.


The Reality of Two Churches

“The task of prophetic ministry is to hold together criticism and energizing, for I should urge that either by itself is not faithful to our best tradition.”

Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination

The quote above comes from one of my favorite books. I just finished my sixth read-through since I discovered the book in 2017. I love the two words he’s picked here and the way in which our faith is best expressed through both of them. We must be critical of what needs to change and energetic in offering something new.

But here’s the catch, there aren’t many expressions of Christianity today that do a great job highlighting both energizing and criticizing. In fact, it seems more clear than ever we’re witnessing a modern schism in the church between the institutional church and the deconstruction community.


How to Pray for Ukraine

When we feel helpless in the face of evil, our theology matters. Oftentimes evil done to us or others can actually bring out the worst in us (which is one of the strategies of evil). This is why our view of God matters. Free will is real and God by nature of love is non-coercive. God responds to us in moments like these.

I’m reminded of the quote Stephen Colbert recently rattled off from memory: “We must not be frightened nor cajoled into accepting evil as deliverance from evil. We must go on struggling to be human, though monsters of abstraction police and threaten us” (Robert Hayden).

These are moments to commit to praying by asking and inviting God to intervene. You may not know how to pray or what to pray for as you watch the news unfolding. Here are a few ideas.


The Answer Has Nowhere to Go

If you’re anything like me, you may find it hard to understand how people seem unable to see certain things. Part of maturity—as well as humility—is acknowledging we don’t know what we don’t know. But it can sometimes be painfully easy to see what someone else doesn’t know, even if they can’t see it.

There are people like Sean Feucht and Joe Rogan who are often brought up in conversation amongst friends of mine. Most of what Feucht and Rogan say I find utterly ridiculous and counter to Jesus. But people I love and respect sometimes don’t see it that way.

How do we bridge this gap? More personally, how we do help those we care about to see the things we see that are important to us? It’s a question my friends are likely asking me in return. Regardless of where you land on your beliefs, I think this is something we can all resonate with.