Example of Making Abstract Theology More Earthy

I wrote an article this week on the need to put abstract theology to death, or at least dial it back quite a bit. Take a peek if you can.

I received some pushback on the article, both here at the blog and on Facebook. And I welcome the pushback. It helps refine my own thoughts.

My whole point is that, many times when we talk about theology, it is in very lofty, ethereal and abstract terms. It’s not really practical, human, earthy. This happens when we talk about God, Christ, church, salvation and a host of other theological topics. Continue reading

That R-Word


There are many words that probably don’t roll off our lips with ease. One of those words is the R-word: repentance. Perhaps we put up a good front, chant it regularly, but despise it on the inside. That’s been me, at times.

Many might imagine the word repentance as a simple sorry. That’s not what it means.

Many might imagine the word involves self-flagellation. That’s not what it means either.

But it’s a real word. A necessary word. And, yes, even a hard word. Continue reading

Who Is the Pastor?


It’s a well-used word within the Protestant-evangelical community. And we have all sorts of ideas of what a pastor is, or at least should be.

He’s the guy (and, yes, male only, some would say) who delivers the 45-minute homily every Sunday morning (or 50 our 52 Sundays). Or he is to make sure doctrinal purity is maintained within the church, in accordance with biblical standards. Or she’s the one who visits the sick in the hospital or home. Or he or she make the direction and vision known to the church. Or she is the one to implement different programs that the members would like to see within the church community. O, problem of all problems, the pastor functions as the CEO of a corporate-esque entity.

And there are probably a host of other ideas out there.

But, as I was recently reading J.R. Briggs’ Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure, which I reviewed here, there was a very brief statement that caught my attention. It spoke of the main responsibility of a pastor. This was not Briggs’ own thought, but rather the relaying of words from long-time pastor, Eugene Peterson: Continue reading

Interview with Eugene Peterson


Last week, Religion News Service blogger, Jonathan Merritt, posted an interview he had with Eugene Peterson.

As I’ve shared plenty of times, I appreciate the pastoral writings of Peterson. I’ve read a few of his books and reviewed them: Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, Eat This Book, and The Contemplative Pastor. And I plan on reading quite a few others.

I’d encourage you to read Merritt’s interview with the now 81-year old Peterson. He asks 8 particular questions, and I really appreciated the final question and answer:

Continue reading