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If You Build It, They Will Come: 3 Ways to Counter the Worst Line Ever for the Church

This line comes, of course, from Field of Dreams, the 1989 film with Kevin Costner. Great line, good movie, horrible model for the church. The line, and this line of thinking, infected the church (in North America) in the late 80’s. The problem then was that it worked. Buildings were built, programs were programmed, and they […]

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You Found Me

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Broken Love for Broken Things

Almost two years ago, at Christmas time, my black lab puppy, Max, then 10 pounds (now 95), pulled over our Christmas tree. Hearing the crash, I ran in from the other room, hoping that my puppy was okay. He was. In fact, he was quite pleased with himself, chomping on the low-hanging ornament that had occasioned […]

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On Farming and Churching

In his book Remembering, Wendell Berry tells the story of two farmers. The first has acquired 2,000 acres through a patient buying out of his neighbors’ farms. He converted all 2,000 acres to corn fields, because corn produces the most cash. In order to farm all of those acres, he went into debt so as to […]

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Rock Star Pastors: A How-Not-To Guide

Last summer, I saw the Flaming Lips for the first time. Actually, I’d never heard of them before, much to the chagrin of the middle-aged woman standing in front of my buddies and me at the outdoor festival concert in Salida, Colorado. She’d apparently seen the FL’s on multiple occasions all around the country. We, […]

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Three Essentials of Marriage: # 3–Bless Others

This is the last in a three-part series on marriage, inspired by the three wedding dishes that have survived 16.5 years of marriage. Essential # 1, I suggested, is praying out loud, and essential # 2 is telling your story. I hate it when cheesy phrases, especially cheesy Christian phrases, are true. I suppose that […]

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Three Essentials of Marriage: # 2–Tell Your Story

In honor of the three wedding dishes that have survived 16.5 years of marriage, I am writing about the three things that I have found to be essential to married life. Number One, I said, is Praying Out Loud. The second essential is about truth. I suppose it goes without saying that truth is important […]

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Three Essentials of Marriage: # 1–Praying Out Loud

We are down to three wedding dishes: one salad plate and two (chipped) cereal bowls. If I’m remembering correctly, that’s reduced from 40 original pieces, 8 each of the aforementioned dishes plus 8 dinner plates (all gone) and eight goblet drinking glasses (alas, all long gone). I vaguely remember when the first dish broke, probably sometime […]

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A Short Guide to Listening Prayer

Central to the practice of being a Christian is the discipline of listening to God in prayer. Jesus often withdrew to listen to the Father, and his followers are to do the same. What follows is a simple (and not at all complete) guide to this practice. 1. Set a Time to Listen. Listening to […]

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Prayer: A Slow Conversation

Of all the beings in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the Ents are my favorite. They’re trees–trees that move, and who have lived for thousands of years, trees that shepherd and protect other trees. They’re trees, trees that talk–v e r r y   s l o w l y. Entish, the language of Ents, […]

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