The Common Good

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COMMENTARY: It’s Time for Baby Boomers to Cede Control
Originally Posted: 09/11/2012 - 4:34pm | Type: Blog

As baby boomers start clicking the senior citizen box on travel fares, I want to say a word to my generation and to the one that preceded us. It is time for us to get out of the way. ...

From Shame to Grace
Originally Posted: 11/05/2012 - 1:11pm | Type: Magazine Article

Stacey Schwenker Ashamed No More: A Pastor's Journey Through Sex Addiction. IVP Books PASTOR T.C. RYAN s ...

Why the Church is the Best Place for a Pussy Riot
Originally Posted: 08/30/2012 - 5:24pm | Type: Blog

As a faith-based community organizer, I spend a great majority of my time trying to get political issues into the church so that the gospel can be relevant to the reality of those on and off the pews. Therefor ...

Church No More: Part 6 — Back to Church Again
Originally Posted: 08/30/2012 - 11:04am | Type: Blog

The saying “you can't go home again,” probably originated from Tom Wolfe's novel, You Can't Go Home Again. It's the story of an author who leaves his home, writes about it from a distance a ...

Survey: Economy Continues Negative Effect on Churches
Originally Posted: 08/29/2012 - 8:18am | Type: Blog

The economy continues to weigh on pastors, with a new survey showing that nearly two-thirds say it has affected their churches negatively. The economy continues to weigh on pastor ...

Tyler Clementi’s Parents Leave Their Church Over Homosexuality Views
Originally Posted: 08/28/2012 - 7:37am | Type: Blog

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — The parents of Tyler Clementi have left their longtime evangelical church due to its views on homosexuality. RIDGEWOOD, N.J.  — The parents of Tyler Clementi ha ...

Mars Hill Bible Church Names Rob Bell’s Successor
Originally Posted: 08/24/2012 - 10:23am | Type: Blog

In an email sent on Wednesday to members of the Grandville, Mich., church, leaders announced Kent Dobson had accepted the lead position. GRANDVILLE, Mich. — Mars Hill Bible Church ...

No Need to Fear
Originally Posted: 08/17/2012 - 4:05pm | Type: Blog

Not too long ago someone warned me that our government would soon “come after churches that don't toe the party line.” Another told me that our government was out to destroy the Christian faith. I think t ...

Church No More: Part 5 — Far Too Little Sabbath in the Sabbath
Originally Posted: 08/14/2012 - 1:13pm | Type: Blog

More than two months into my sabbatical, I now have to say, “Boy was I wrong.” People who are not in church are on sabbatical, more so than I am. Editor's Note : Th ...

Flash Mob Ministry: A New Model for Instant Church
Originally Posted: 08/08/2012 - 2:33pm | Type: Blog

Show up somewhere, notice the needs, address them and invite others in to hear a good word, then go out and change the world. Blaine is the kind of young man who seems to have bee ...

Narrative Theology: 'You Might As Well Love'
Originally Posted: 08/08/2012 - 9:01am | Type: Blog

Last Sunday, the Catholic singer/songwriter/poet/theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama (who hails from County Cork, Ireland), took to Revolution NYC's "barstool pulpit," to share stories, poems, and wisdom ...

The Weight
Originally Posted: 10/24/2013 - 11:16am | Type: Blog

In fact, why aren’t there many chicken restaurants in neighborhoods like this? Why aren’t these wonderful shining examples of Christianity and life lining up to alleviate the suffering in these places? If we w ...

Church No More: Part 4 — I Don't Want to Go Back
Originally Posted: 08/03/2012 - 11:34am | Type: Blog

I do not want to go back to Church because life outside of Church is better. It just is. There's no dogma complicating the path to God. It is more than refreshing to escape the games church-folk play with ...

Are the Culture Wars Real? A Case for Heresy
Originally Posted: 08/02/2012 - 1:50pm | Type: Blog

A growing number of people just don’t seem to believe that the Christian Church, in all its many forms, has much to offer them. Growing up, I heard things at camp and in youth gr ...

Between a Rock and a Hard Place in Today's Church
Originally Posted: 07/27/2012 - 12:36pm | Type: Blog

For those of us in lay or ordained leadership, the stress of trying to please everyone, or the difficulty of being honest about what we know really must change with people we truly love and admire, often sucks ...

Despite Doubters, Mainline Protestant Churches Poised for Success
Originally Posted: 07/17/2012 - 5:17pm | Type: Blog

Commentators see decisions they don't like — such as the Episcopal Church's recent endorsement of a rite for blessing same-sex unions. They see declines in church membership. They pounce. ...

A Higgs Boson Walks Into a Church ...
Originally Posted: 07/16/2012 - 1:37pm | Type: Blog

Thanks to Steve Knight for alerting me to this joke, which has become one of my instant favorites. After all, it combines two things I dig: nerd humor and theology (also nerdy). ...

Can Christianity Be Saved? A Response to Ross Douthat
Originally Posted: 07/16/2012 - 1:28pm | Type: Blog

So, Mr. Douthat asks, "Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?" But I wonder: Can Liberal Churches Save Christianity? The twenty-first century has yet to answer that, but I think we may be surprised. ...

Public Jesus: How Churches Can Talk about Politics in an Election Year (Without Killing Each Other)
Originally Posted: 07/12/2012 - 10:40am | Type: Blog

How can churches have a healthy conversation about politics in the middle of a national election without demonizing the opposition and causing disunity? Learning to speak as a Chr ...

Church No More: Part 3 — The 'C' Word
Originally Posted: 08/03/2012 - 11:51am | Type: Blog

I have a confession.(That's rich, right? A minister confessing.) I have a hard time telling people I'm a minister. Yes, really. I actually tend to handle it this way: ...

QUIRK: Is Your Town Red or Blue?
Originally Posted: 07/06/2012 - 12:24pm | Type: Blog

We're not talking Republicans or Democrats; we're talking Church or Beer. A new map has divided the country into red and blue ... but this one has nothing do do with pol ...

This Week in Religion: Friday July 6, 2012 (VIDEO)
Originally Posted: 07/06/2012 - 11:22am | Type: Blog

Do Not Display (Church, Higgs-Boson, LGBT, Mormonism, Racial and Social Justice, religion news, Faith and Politics, Quick Read) Church,Higgs-B ...

Wild Goose 2012 Reflection
Originally Posted: 07/03/2012 - 10:00am | Type: Blog

For the first hour I was there as I nearly passed out trying to set up a tent in the sweltering heat, I was in a panic mode wondering why I was stupid enough to subject myself to the discomfort and imperfectio ...

Wild Goose: A Sacred and Safe Place
Originally Posted: 06/29/2012 - 12:56pm | Type: Blog

In many hours of talking to Mike over the past few years, he has told me tales of horrible religious abuse; of being denied food because he had not said the appropriate prayer, of being evicted from the gospel ...

Life in Translation
Originally Posted: 06/29/2012 - 8:52am | Type: Blog

I have been thinking about the church of my youth. I have been remembering, if you will, as a guy who has read too much Updike (I'll never forgive him for the Rabbit books) might remember his youth. ...

How the Wild Goose Cured My Heebie-Jeebies
Originally Posted: 06/28/2012 - 8:04am | Type: Blog

I imagined the spaces and places other than church that might be out there for churchless people “like me.” Bars? Starbucks? Soccer games? Bars? (Sorry, did I mention 'bars' already? I get a bit dist ...

When All the Church Can Say Is 'I'm Sorry'
Originally Posted: 07/01/2012 - 12:43pm | Type: Blog

The whole experience was exhilarating, partly because it started out being utterly terrifying. It could have gone very differently, and in a different context, it still might. But that doesn’t mean that more p ...

Donations to Religious Institutions Decline for Second Straight Year
Originally Posted: 06/21/2012 - 4:01pm | Type: Blog

Post-recession America is beginning to open its wallet to charities again, but is not giving as generously to religious institutions. WASHINGTON — Post-recession America is begin ...

Love Greater Than Our Differences: Christian Piatt's Interview on ChurchNext
Originally Posted: 06/21/2012 - 9:53am | Type: Blog

I spoke with Chris Yaw recently, host of an online program called ChurchNext. On it, he has dialogues with a number of church leaders about the current state of organized religion, the changing face of Christi ...

Church No More: Part 1 — Walking Away From Church
Originally Posted: 08/03/2012 - 11:43am | Type: Blog

This minister is walking away from church — well, at least for the next three months. I'm rewriting the old African-American spiritual “Down By the Riverside.” (Don't ...

Missional Church: A Paper Revolution
Originally Posted: 06/06/2012 - 4:12pm | Type: Blog

Sometimes we want to believe that a new ad campaign, worship service or big, expensive mission trip will give us the charge we need to turn things around in the church. But what if the real revolutions take pl ...

Church of the Laptop-Bound: Sunday June 3, 2012
Originally Posted: 06/04/2012 - 7:59am | Type: Blog

Couldn't quite get yourself together to make it to church this weekend? We've got you covered. Here for you edification and instruction, are three good lessons in video and audio form, from pastors T ...

Deliver Us From Smugness
Originally Posted: 05/31/2012 - 7:59pm | Type: Blog

It is not the imperfection or presence of conflict themselves within the Communion of the Saints that too many of those who would not call themselves Christians find repellent. It is how the church deals with ...

The Naked Pastor: Three Ways to Leave the Church
Originally Posted: 05/23/2012 - 10:26am | Type: Blog

Paul Simon says there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. The Naked Pastor figures there must be at least three ways to leave your church. Paul Simon says there must be 50 ways ...

Agape Doesn't Mean "Potluck"
Originally Posted: 05/15/2012 - 4:01pm | Type: Blog

If we knew that the people entering the doors of this, our little House for all Sinners and Saints, were actually Jesus’ friends, that they were those whom Jesus loved then despite what we thought of their per ...

We All Need A Spotter: Church and CrossFit Gym
Originally Posted: 04/30/2012 - 8:56am | Type: Blog

I was talking to my husband about why I am loving Crossfit and it made me realize that it is for some of the reasons I love church. I can’t lift my arms. They scream in muscle ...

Praying After Your Food
Originally Posted: 03/27/2012 - 10:55pm | Type: Blog

While I believe in the principle of church-state separation, there are times when it is taken too far. Today’s example is a food pantry in Seymour, IN. While I believe in the pri ...

Lapsed Catholics Explain Why They Leave Church
Originally Posted: 03/26/2012 - 7:24pm | Type: Blog

TRENTON, N.J. — As part of a survey to understand why they have stopped attending Mass, a few hundred Catholics were asked what issues they would raise if they could speak to the bishop for five minutes. The ...

Four Reasons Why I Came Back To Church
Originally Posted: 03/26/2012 - 6:38pm | Type: Blog

I’ve written a couple of pieces recently that have gotten a lot of attention about why younger people tend to walk away from church. Some readers suggested I might also post a piece about why young adults come ...

What is Church 2.0?
Originally Posted: 03/15/2012 - 12:54pm | Type: Blog

Here is a condensed version of a workshop I offer on the concept of “Church 2.0.” I talk in it about the popularity of things like the “Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus” video and Mark Driscoll’s Acts 29 Net ...

Young Evangelicals: Unaffiliated Does Not Always Mean UnChristian
Originally Posted: 03/14/2012 - 4:43pm | Type: Blog

While some of my fellow millenials are jumping ship on Christiainity--many are not so much leaving the big-C “Church,” as they are leaving established churches. There has been a l ...

Four More (BIG) Reasons Young Adults Quit Church
Originally Posted: 03/12/2012 - 11:17am | Type: Blog

There are a plethora of reasons young adults are leaving the Church. Adding to yesterday's list, Christian Piatt explores more. There has been a surprisingly positive respons ...

Seven Reasons Why Young Adults Quit Church
Originally Posted: 03/11/2012 - 4:05pm | Type: Blog

From time to time I revisit the question: Why are young adults walking away from religion? Although the answer(s) vary from person to person, there are some general trends that I think apply in most cases. ...

Who Hijacked My Church?
Originally Posted: 03/01/2012 - 5:46pm | Type: Blog

“Church folks are just too political!” When people are asked why they have decided to leave the church, this has become an increasingly popular response. And, sadly, it is a particularly popular response for ...

TRANSCRIPT: Barack Obama and The God Factor Interview
Originally Posted: 02/22/2012 - 5:43pm | Type: Blog

In 2004 I met then-State Sen. Barack Obama at Café Baci, a small coffee shop in Chicago. We spoke for more than an hour. He came alone. No handler, no spokesperson, no notes. He seemed to be relaxed and at eas ...

Gospel Great Marvin Winans to Lead Funeral for Whitney Houston
Originally Posted: 02/16/2012 - 12:42pm | Type: Blog

NEWARK, N.J. — Grammy Award winner and longtime family friend Marvin Winans will deliver the eulogy for Whitney Houston during her funeral Saturday (Feb. 18) at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, the chur ...

Something in the Blood
Originally Posted: 02/14/2012 - 4:00pm | Type: Blog

Once in a while, we have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of grace in the middle of the worst humanity has to offer. And it’s in those moments that I tend to recognize God in our midst. ...

Pete Hoekstra and Cultural IQ: Why It Matters to the Church
Originally Posted: 02/09/2012 - 10:08am | Type: Blog

Our nation is moving rapidly towards racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity, and American Christianity is bearing witness to these dramatic changes. Workplaces, congregations, conferences, and readerships are ...

What Next for the Occupiers?
Originally Posted: 01/09/2012 - 12:33pm | Type: Magazine Article

Bill McKibben There are many things they seemed to hold in common, not least an instinctive nonviolence, contrasting so sharply with the ...

New and Noteworthy
Originally Posted: 01/05/2012 - 12:44pm | Type: Magazine Article

Julie Polter Widow, Queen, Lover, Warrior; Faith in the Struggle; The Message; ‘Do Not Cast Me Away.’ Widow ...