Jesus and John Wayne

After hearing tons of people talk about Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s book Jesus and John Wayne, I now fully appreciate what the hype is all about. She manages to articulate decades of development of the Church in America. Her journalistic abilities are impressive and she’s clearly done her homework.

Essentially, she explores how Donald Trump came to be dominantly supported (and empowered) by Christian voters. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t an anomaly. I would strongly recommend this book to every Christian, especially every Christian guy.

Here are a few quotes to give you a taste:


10,000 Steps to Being More Open-Minded

Most people are raised with ideas that are collectively treated as true. These may include ideas like:

  • Don’t go to bed angry
  • Drink eight glasses of water a day
  • You shouldn’t crack your knuckles
  • You need eight hours of sleep a night
  • Never swallow gum
  • Don’t swim immediately after eating

For kids who grow up in a religious home, this is especially the case. They are raised with generations of beliefs and traditions handed down (and usually enforced) to them. For Christians, they could be strict adherence to the Ten Commandments, or a specific way of reading the Bible, or a grouping of theological doctrines to agree with (and the other doctrines to disagree with). Much of the time, being given these types of lessons is a blessing as it allows you to glean wisdom from those who have gone before you.


My New Favorite Interview Question

I’ve interviewed hundreds of people in my career. Most of the people turned out to be a great fit, but as anyone in the hiring role knows, you are ultimately making a guess at how someone will do in a role that you haven’t seen them do in your organization. And sometimes you guess wrong.

I’ll never forget interviewing one guy as I began our time by lobbing him the easiest open-ended question I had: “So, tell me a little about yourself.” I then watched in bizarre amazement as he paused for a few moments, looked around awkwardly, and replied, “I don’t know, tell me about you.” That potential hire was an easy pass and a short interview.


Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

I’ve never been great at engaging daily in a financial budget, but it comes naturally for me to use what I think of as a ‘time budget.’ By that, I mean I mentally think through each day and ‘spend it’ ahead of time. That reality in addition to being an introvert can often make it hard for me to jump at last-minute social invites (much to the chagrin of some of my friends… and my extroverted wife).

I’ve always been fascinated by time, whether it’s time travel stories, the way God interacts with time, why some people thrive in the morning vs the night (or the other way around), or the humbling fact that all of us have the exact same hours in a day. Even the super-productive people.


The Life Written by Himself

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from

I had the chance to read an early copy of an upcoming update to an old book. It’s called The Life Written by Himself by a Russian Archpriest named Avvakum Petrov. The book comes out at the end of May but you can preorder it now (see: Amazon link).

This book certainly isn’t for everyone. That’s to be expected from the fact that it shares the thoughts of a 17th-century priest who lived in poverty and persecution in Russia. Yet the older I get, the more I realize how much we stand to gain from reading really old books.

The updated intro itself is worth the book as it offers a fascinating historical setup to Avvakum’s life and times. Avvakum stood up against a version of Christianity that joined itself together with the government of Russia to gain power and influence. This is something the church in America would benefit to reflect on as well. Beyond this, there are two reasons you might find to appreciate this book.

The first reason—and the best takeaway from this book—is its perspective on the nature of suffering, especially for a Christ-follower. Despite the difference in culture and times, I was incredibly moved by his account. Avvakum is tortured in numerous ways throughout his lifetime and is eventually killed for his faith. Yet he lives with boldness in the face of suffering.


Rethinking Police in America

One of the major headlines of the chaos that was 2020 was concern over the role of police in America. Movements such as #BlackLivesMatter raised the awareness of the unjust nature in how the police treat minorities.

Last year, when I preached about concerns of inequality in our justice system and then marched in a peaceful protest, many people assumed I was anti-police. The reality is that I served as a police chaplain for years. I continue to have many friends in law enforcement today. And I can honestly say that most police I know have a desire to serve others and a willingness to put themselves at risk to do it.

Yet I think it’s time we broaden the conversation to acknowledge that something needs to change. What we are doing collectively isn’t working, especially to the vulnerable among us. I don’t say this because of any issue I’ve personally had with the police. I say this because I’m learning to listen to many others who have.