The Real Crisis of Authority

So you may have noticed the parody that I published yesterday of this article in Christianity Today. Parody and satire are great for blowing off steam, but they don’t quite explain how the steam came to rise in the first place. So I want to talk more about this article by Tish Warren and address where I think the problem is.

To sum up the article, Warren points out that, just like the printing press, the advent of online blogging has created a “crisis of authority.” Namely, if someone is using the Internet to publish their personal take on the Bible, who holds them accountable? Where did they get their knowledge? Who ensures they aren’t damaging the church or leading people astray? Which, granted, are fair questions to ask. (And there are biblical answers. More on that in a minute.)

The first problem I had was the focus on women bloggers in particular. Warren admits that, historically, the institutional church has marginalized women, forcing them to step into the cyber sphere in order to have a voice. She also suggests that the church has done a poor job of giving women theological training with real teeth–choosing instead to entertain us with “funny stories, relatable prose, or charming turns of phrase.” All stuff I heartily agree with. But… Continue reading

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On Picking and Choosing

Image found at greythinking.com

I’m still working on my series about church authority. In the meantime, I’m inspired with many other topics that I want to tackle.

Today, I want to talk about the claim that Christians “pick and choose” which scriptures they want to follow. In my experience, it’s not so much picking and choosing verses out of context (which does happen to an alarming degree), but more about picking and choosing what kind of lens we use to interpret scripture. Make no mistake, everyone has a lens. No one approaches the Bible objectively, no matter how much one might claim to the contrary. 
Continue reading

The Purpose of the Holy Spirit

Revolutionary Faith has been active for nearly three years now, and “how to feel the Holy Spirit”—or some variation thereof—is still the top search term that leads people to this blog. My post “What Does the Holy Spirit Feel Like?”, published in the blog’s first six weeks of existence, remains the most accessed post on the site.

I understand the fascination. There is much about the Holy Spirit that remains a mystery. It is God’s powerful, dynamic presence in the Christian life, and its urgings can seem inexplicable.

However, the Holy Spirit has a purpose, and I fear too many believe that purpose is simply to be felt. Many people seek the Holy Spirit for a visceral experience or spiritual vision. It exists for much more than that. In fact, if you’re having a feeling without the Holy Spirit’s other manifestations, I would pause and seriously examine exactly what it is that you’re experiencing. It may be something other than the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

Vine, Branches and Fruit: A Meditation

Two summers ago, I rescued a sick, wilting hydrangea plant from my backyard. The previous owner of my home had planted it in a bad spot where it failed to thrive. So I moved it to a shady bed and very slowly, very tenderly nursed it back to health.

This year, for the first time, the plant is blooming: big heads of pink flowers. However, the plant itself is still rather small, and the blooms are large and heavy by comparison. The other day, I noticed a bloom about to break off under its own weight, so I cut it and placed it in a glass of water on my dining room table. I was over the moon. The bloom was gorgeous and lush with health. It brightened up the dining room for several days.

Then, after days of unchanged beauty, the bloom suddenly shriveled. The water I had placed it in was inadequate to sustain it forever. As I watched the flower fade, I thought about Christ’s parable of the vine and branches in John 15: Continue reading

Male Intimacy with Christ

I want to give a shout out to all of the men who have been reading these posts, specifically the male pastors who have offered words of praise and encouragement for my work on this blog. This one’s for you – because I think if we are to heal as a society, we need to minister to men as well as women.

Ok, guys, imagine this: You get to walk the earth with Jesus. Better yet, you get to be one of the twelve disciples. You’ve followed Jesus around for three years, seeing him do all kinds of amazing things. Earlier, you marched with him through the streets of Jerusalem while all of Israel had a party. And now you’re settling down to celebrate a big feast day together.

The end of the meal has come. You’re full of good food and even better conversation. Then Jesus stands up and begins to disrobe. Yes, you read that right. He’s getting naked. And now he’s bending down to take off your shoe. Naked. He says he’s going to wash your feet. Naked.

Do you let him? Continue reading