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There are two sermons Pastors can give each year that pretty much write themselves. They come on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

The first of these sermons go like this.

Not every Mom is Mrs. Brady

Mom’s are kind and generous and self sacrificing. They are the first person to teach you what love is. Let’s take a look at Hannah . . .

I refuse to give that sermon. Because, while not always a lie, it isn’t true.

I’ve sat up all night with kids whose mother beat them with a broom stick after the umbrella she had been using broke.

Now apply that easy Mother’s Day sermons to these kids lives. Is that what love is?

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One day, almost five years ago, my wife and I were hanging out in a used book store. We went there because she was looking for spanish art books for her classroom. Not interested in this at all, I checked out the vinyl records (where I discovered an extensive collection of Neil Diamond and only Neil Diamond) and then went over to the Religion/Philosophy section.

Usually at these stores all you could find was stuff like 90 Minutes in Heaven or Your Best Life Now. If you were lucky there might be a copy of Desiring God, probably abandoned by a young Calvinist as he grew out of that.

Dallas Willard The Divine ConspiracyThis day I noticed a pretty thick book called The Divine Conspiracy. I had never heard of it. At the time I was interested in reading the new atheists for the sake of the raging they made me do, and assumed this was the same. But when I picked it up I saw it was by Dallas Willard, a name I was only vaguely familiar with. The inside cover had a stamp from the previous owner; I actually knew them, so I bought it just because I thought that would be interesting.

I didn’t know that the book would be so paradigm shifting for me.

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I’ve been blogging here for just about a year, and in that year I have been reading other blogs more frequently to get a better idea of how to blog. Blogging is a form of media all its own and the type of posts you make have to fit the format (for instance, lists are huge). Seeing the way others do it has helped me to understand how I do it.

It has also caused me to see some topics that I never want to see posted about again. I think every blog has written this kind of post because they’re easy and comforting (or only a little challenging) and get shared like crazy. No seriously, I see one of the following shared on Facebook at least once a week.


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The last few weeks I have heard some strange things from Christians. Mainly the sentence, “I hope he dies.”

First, it was Kermit Gosnell. The man charged with murder for killing babies he was supposed to abort.

Then it was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second Boston marathon bomber. After the long manhunt that lead to his capture I saw many relieved tweets and status updates that said, “So glad they caught him, can’t wait for him to be brought to justice” or “Hopefully justice will be served” or “Too bad Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty, this guy deserves justice.”

And every time I saw the word justice I couldn’t help but think this:

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As part of my ongoing attempt to expand my understanding of Christianity I have been reading old books. To find out why I would do such a thing check out my previous post about that very thing.

AthanasiusThe introduction to this month’s book is what started this whole project so I figured I should read it.  Also, being a vocational Christian thinker and not having read On the Incarnation is like being an American Lit professor and having not read Grapes of Wrath. This book is just that big and important (for a 70 page book).

Just like any great classic it is timeless, but is best understood by knowing the time it came from. So, just like always, we start with a little cultural context for St. Athanasius.

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The other day my three year old son stubbed his toe for the first time ever. I don’t know how it happened, but he stubbed it pretty bad. He needed a band-aid for real and not just for the psychological benefits. As I put a band-aid on him he asked me if I need one too.

“Sure, bud.”

“On your toe, so we can match band-aids.”

So we put a band-aid on my big toe and I left it there for the rest of the day.

The strangest thing happened that night. My wife pulled the sheets up quickly and I winced as they rubbed against my feet because I thought it would hurt my stubbed toe.

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obrienThis week the completely unsurprising happened: a high profile Christian resigned his position because of inappropriate sexual relationships. This time it was Keith O’Brien, but he wasn’t the first and he (unfortunately) won’t be the last. In fact, if I optimize this post to show up on google as “church guy resigns because of sex” it could very well be my most viewed post ever because this happens so unbelievably often.

In this particular case, O’Brien has had some pretty ugly things to say about the LGBT community. But, as it turns out, he himself has had a few sexual encounters with young priests.

Why does this happen? And why does it always seem to be person who has taken a strong stand against the very thing they are exposed as doing?

That stance is actually exactly why it happens.

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It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones. -C.S. Lewis

Recently someone asked me which books and authors have been most influential in my spiritual development at different stages of my life. I answered Soren Kierkegaard, C.S. Lewis, Rob Bell, and Jacques Ellul.

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