Gay Bars and Megaphones

The following is a paper I recently wrote for a class in Diversity as part of my graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The project was to experience a minority group in their environment and report on how the experience affected me. I chose the LGBT community and a local gay dance club/bar for…

The Tradition of Hating Tradition

The tradition of hating tradition is a phenomenon found in abundance among many Christians today. Having spent 19 years in the independent Evangelical movement, I know the dizzying freedom one feels when he rejects “religious tradition” in the name of “having a personal relationship with Jesus,” as if the two were mutually exclusive. In my…

“I’m spiritual, not religious”

“I’m spiritual, not religious” I wish I had a back massage for every time I’ve heard this line. What gets me most is the presupposition it stems from, that “spiritual” is the assumed equivalent of “good” and “religious” is the assumed equivalent of “evil.” Who made up this language game? Honestly, who decided that “spiritual”…

The Finest Argument Against Christianity

If I were an atheist, and wanted to land a right hook on the chin of Christianity, I would aim first at its disunity. If one took serious inventory of the differences between Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Reformists, Pentecostals and the endless myriad of non-denominational churches (some estimate such churches to be numbered in the…

The Tithe: A Modern Obsession Gone Way Off Course

It was the winter of 2004 when during a leadership meeting our pastor warned our church staff that if we were not tithing we would be removed from our leadership positions, no questions asked. It was explained that one could not be a devout Christian without tithing, and if one was not a devout Christian…

The Individual and the Church: John Zizioulas and the Eastern Orthodox Perspective

John Zizioulas is the Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan (Bishop) of Pergamon, Greece, and a highly influential theologian noted for building bridges between East and West. His landmark book, Being as Communion, introduced his basic ecclesiological outlook of the church as koinōnia, or communion. By “communion,” Zizioulas has in mind something belonging to the ontology of being…

The Individual and the Church: Helmut Thielické and the Lutheran Perspective

Helmut Thielické’s ecclesiology and anthropology, like Rahner, was unique in that he was greatly influenced by the events of WWII. As a German theologian and pastor living under the harsh realities of the Nazi-Regime, and side-by-side with Russian communism after the war, Thielické became a world authority on the destructive nature of collectivism when fused…

“Effortless Christianity:” What say you Christ, Peter, James, John, and Paul?

The approach to the faith for many adherents of the Effortless Christianity movement is that of a Zwingli-influenced doctrine of Sola Scriptura; that is, a reliance on Scripture alone combined with a dedicated rejection of Holy Tradition. It is interesting when one claims to be an adherent of both effortless Christianity and the doctrine of…