Ten Ways to Have a Better Relationship…With Your God

I’ve found some relationship advice I want to share. There is a world out there of magazine posts and blog articles giving us “5 steps to…” and “10 ways to…,” many of them centered on relationships. Seems easy. Here are ten ways you can have a better relationship with God:

1. Don’t Have a Relationship With Other Gods

Exclusivity and fidelity to God are a no-brainer, but sometimes we give in to that craving to have more. We can’t forget who is Lord of our life. Continue reading

Renovating My Heart with God, a Friend, and Dallas Willard

Despising self-help books, I am always skeptical of any non-fiction book advertised to guide me into helping myself make myself feel better, live better, do anything better for my mental and emotional health. Most of them out there are written by jack wagons. Ironically, it is the fixation on the self itself that make such a genre as “self help” complete malarkey.
Continue reading

Did God Harden Pharaoh’s Heart? YES or NO—I need to know!

You’re Moses, and you want your people freed. After decades of oppression by this ugly empire you were brought up in but fail to accept, you want your people to be delivered. Yet Pharaoh, the self-claimed ruler and “god” of Egypt, refuses the gesture. You don’t get it. Ten plagues later, he doesn’t get it. You don’t get that he doesn’t get it. Is he even human? Well, he thinks he’s above human.
Continue reading

A Church Who Loves the Idea of Racial Diversity

At our church we are very passionate about diversity.  We may not have a diverse family in our belief community, but we believe in having one.  We are very quick to tell you we are very diverse, and just as quick to tell you that we are not as diverse as we would like to be.  We know you are looking for a church with ethnic diversity, but if you happen to be white, don’t be afraid of tampering with our ethnic variety ratio by joining. We are neither Jew nor Greek, neither black nor white, neither Polynesian nor Cambodian, neither Serbian nor Turkish, neither Guatemalan nor New Guinean—but our home page photo sure is.  You can’t find a more inclusive congregation than that.  Even photo models who have never even heard of our church are members.

We love to use photos of diverse, happy herds of people, people gathered into tight groups on an invisible plane, surrounded by an endless sea of white background.  Always a white void we contrast against, always white and pale.  Anyway, we are desperate to appear to visitors and seekers as a colorful cast of differing faces all unified in racially diverse solidarity, and we will pay whatever price we can for those photos, even if none of us are in them.  We will put those stock photos on our website, photos with a decent ratio of males to females, and a spectrum of whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, and maybe even one Pacific Islander.  Some churches hope that one day “Muslim” will be added to the wish list, while other churches hope that one day the distinctions between “Arab” and “Muslim” will be more widely known

Continue reading

Book Review: A Farewell to Mars

Brian Zahnd remembers when he, a pastor, threw a huge party for the beginning of the Gulf War—when he, a Christian leader, celebrated the invasion of a country and the use of the sword. Since, he has repented. He even says it was the worst sin he ever committed. A Farewell to Mars is part confession, part instruction, a book about why he left the effective worship of war and chose to worship only God alone.
Continue reading

Book Review: Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller

I am not attacking right theology. I am simply making theology a window rather than a wall.”

I had not read anything by Donald Miller since reading both Blue Like Jazz and it’s companion book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” Then my brother recommended Searching for God Knows What. I was searching for a good book. Donald Miller was searching for God. Again. In a way, I was reminded of how I seek after God, even when I think I’m not.
Sometimes Donald Miller, founder of Storyline Blog, feels like being a Christian is like trying to be in the circus, and everyone is watching him to make sure he does everything right and doesn’t mess up. In fourteen chapters of deeply personal writing (with titles like “Santa Takes a Leak,” “Why Nudity is the Point,” and “How to Kill your Neighbor”) Miller dares us to see Christianity as something not defined by formula, but by relationship.

Continue reading