Fixer Upper, Church Edition

Such buildings are both too expensive to maintain and too static for the kind of mission contemporary congregations envision for themselves.

Searching High and Low: How Your “Life Doctrine” Shapes You

The trouble with a high anthropology is that when you don’t achieve the extraordinary, and your life isn’t totally amazing, you may feel as if you’ve failed.

Why Rules Matter

What people tend not to see as they cheerfully dismiss their own rules of the road is the way that this empowers bad actors.

Loan Forgiveness: What Would God Do?

The Bible is actually pretty clearly in the debt-forgiveness camp.

A Less Christian Nation…

A generation, perhaps two, have grown up without the trappings of a Christian culture.

Pope Francis Pays Penitence in Canada

“I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” said Francis, speaking at the site of what was once one of the largest residential schools in the country.

After 15 Years, the Episcopal Bishop of Olympia Decides to Retire

Rickel insists he “never stopped having fun” but he has faced thankless challenges. 

Scary: Christian Nationalists with All the Answers

If you want to turn Jesus into the lead guy for the forces of vengeance and retribution, you really have to distort him beyond all recognition.

Of Victim Narratives and Radical Honesty

Seeing ourselves only as helpless victims is seldom true and never helpful. Accepting responsibility is actually empowering.

The Diverse, Dramatic History of Northwest Religions

Why was Mt. Rainier regarded as a female god? What started the bitterness between Whites and Indians? Why did revivalists work so well in the Pacific Northwest?

Seattle’s “Moral Majority”: Reverend Mark Matthews’ Outsized Role in Early Seattle

There were few matters in our post-Alaska Gold Rush town of 80,000 that failed to inspire Doctor Matthews. 

How ‘The Prince of Lies’ Has Split and Infected Evangelical Churches

There is a demonic power that is at work in our country today. And at work in some “churches.”

Seattle Church Closure Provokes Pushback

"Aroused by the looming threat of closure, the wider community organized, filling the church hall that night to confront Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo."

Polarized Frenzy: Is There Room for the Moderate?

The immediate effect of the leak has been to ratchet our polarization higher and tighter — which may have the intent of the leak.

Russia’s War and a Struggle for Civilization

The war casts a sharp light on the fact that this is not for us only an external conflict. It is, and perhaps even more importantly, an internal conflict.

“If I Remain Silent, I am not a Priest”

“We don’t have to repeat mistakes of those Christians who supported the German government when they invaded Poland many years ago.”

Ukraine Fallout: An Orthodox Awakening May be Stirring in the Russian Orthodox Church

For more than a decade, Russian imperial bullying has been paralleled by the bullying of other Orthodox communions by the Patriarchate of Moscow, as it seeks hegemony in the Orthodox world.

The Church of the Imperfects, the League of the Guilty

The church is not a gathering of the righteous, the perfect, those without fault or blemish, not to mention catastrophic failure. It is a gathering of those who know they stand in need of grace and mercy. It is a gathering of the “League of the Guilty.”

The Ukrainian Challenge to All of Us

In America, and particularly among its elites, we’ve been living for some time in what philosophers term post-modernity. One of the hallmarks of post-modern thought is the idea that there isn’t really anything that can be called truth, there is only power.

Of “Just” Wars and Moral Responsibilities

One of the problems with the just-war tradition for Americans is that America has overused it.

Uncomfortable Dance: The Religious Factor in the War in Ukraine

Orthodox Christianity is divided between Moscow and Istanbul, and the Ukrainian church is a key battleground and proxy.

In Apocalypse, all is Revealed: Lessons from COVID (and the Olympics)

The virus has done what viruses do — take advantage of the vulnerabilities of an unhealthy host. It is this that has been revealed, or “apocalypsed” to us.

Digitized Worship, a Blessing for a Time, Is Now a Threat to Churches

Will the church go with the increasingly digitized modern, or post-modern world, where more and more of our interactions are disembodied and distanced?

Mind the Gap: The Case for “Mediating Institutions”

Libertarians tend to emphasize the role of “mediating institutions” as a bulwark against the state. But I think they also serve, and perhaps are even more needed, as a bulwark against very large, concentrated, global corporations.

Why Young People are Leaving the Evangelical Church

What if people don’t leave the church because they disapprove of Jesus, but because they’ve read the Bible and have come to the conclusion that the church itself would disapprove of Jesus? That’s a crisis.”

When Bigger isn’t Better: Welcome Back the Mini-Church

While small congregations can fight an inferiority complex, the truth is they can and are doing real ministry even if they are small, maybe because they are small.

Religious Missionaries in the Northwest: Feuds, Failures, and Fevers

Catholics may have enjoyed more early success than Protestants in the Oregon-Washington country. 

Light Against the Dark: The Faces of Fanaticism

Reflections on the torn faces of survivors of the terrorist attack in Paris. One says, "I made it out alive, but now I am dead among the living."

Pope Francis To US Bishops: Stay Out of Politics!

The Pope had a long chat with reporters during a return flight from Slovakia to Rome. He was asked about the communion flap in the United States.

Should Churches Continue On-Line Worship After the Pandemic?

For me, in-person worship, the worship of a gathered community, falls in the category of “burdens that we should not want to be rid of.”