Why I’m a Fan of Deconstruction

There’s quite a bit of discussion right now about the idea of ‘deconstruction’ when it comes to your faith. In case you’re unfamiliar with that term, here’s a definition I find helpful: “Faith deconstruction is the systematic pulling apart of one’s belief system for examination. For Christians, that can mean a wide array of questions ranging from the theological to the practical” (source: Backyard Theology).

Much of what is being said is about deconstruction (notably from those in formal positions in the church) is bold and harsh.

  • Exhibit A: Recently an article went viral for giving four reasons why people deconstruct. Two of the reasons were a “desire to sin” and people looking to get “street cred” (source: The Gospel Coalition).
  • Exhibit B: The popular megachurch pastor Matt Chandler recently went viral for referring to deconstruction as the “sexy thing to do.” You can hear him say this in the 30 second clip below.

The Holiday Playlists

Back for its second year… my Thanksgiving playlist! Yes, you read that right. You didn’t know such a thing existed? It doesn’t really, so last year I made my own. Admittedly, there isn’t as much to choose from here which is why I hope you’ll enjoy the efforts I made.

I used a few criteria in making this list:

  1. Music that is obviously about Thanksgiving. There isn’t much of this, but I found a few gems.
  2. Music about things that happen at Thanksgiving. Here I included songs about food, friends, family, home, etc.
  3. Music that captures the right vibe of Thanksgiving. This one is by far the most subjective, but there’s some good stuff here.

It’s now more than a hundred songs so it should last you long enough for your get-togethers. Once in Spotify hit the heart icon to add this to your music. Without further ado, here is my free playlist for you to enjoy:

Bullies and Saints

Bullies and Saints

I recently finished a terrific book by John Dickson called Bullies and Saints. He presents the topic as “An honest look at the good and evil of Christian history.” Anyone who’s studied this subject knows there’s plenty of both. As an Anglican from Australia, Dickson has a good perspective in which to present the material.

Dickson talks about the early church (before Constantine) introducing a melody that is often obscured throughout the later history of the Church. This is a valuable metaphor, as indeed we can acknowledge when the song has changed but also acknowledge when it starts to sound familiar again. He refers to the first three centuries sounding like “One long harmonious performance of Christ’s original melody.”

Dickson presents the ‘melody’ as a love for enemies and the belief that all people are made in the image of God. I heartily agree the best versions of the Church have these characteristics and the worst do not. As Dickson argues, “Christ’s melody remains beautiful—dare I say unique. And when Christians perform it, they leave an indelible mark on the world.”

Do We Agree on Easter and Christmas?

Do We Agree on Easter and Christmas?

I spent this week with a group of pastors I’ve met with for years now. We gather twice a year and share the highs and lows of ministry and life in general. My dad leads the group and invited his friend Joe Tosini (back right in the picture) to join us for an afternoon.

Joe has lived an unbelievable life. He’s written bestselling books, started massively successful churches, been on Oprah, and become friends with Pope Francis. Now in his seventies, Joe leads a ministry simply referred to by Jesus’ prayer in John 17. That’s where Jesus prays these words:

“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”

John 17:21

Their goal is unity in the church and they specifically work to bring Catholic and Protestant pastors together. One of the phrases that God spoke to Joe throughout his life is that Jesus is not a polygamist. There is only one church and we would do well to act like it.


Who Can (and Should) We Learn From?

A few weeks ago I spoke at a church and closed with a quote from Sarah Bessey. One of the volunteers in that church loved the quote and was talking about it with others when she decided to Google Sarah’s name to find out more about her. She then had a few questions after realizing Sarah’s theology may be more different from her own than she realized (and was a bit uncomfortable with it).

The pastor of the church relayed this story to me and we had a great discussion that anyone who communicates publicly for a living understands. Every person you quote comes with a risk. I know pastors who don’t share their personal reading list of books to avoid comments from others. Or just watch what happens if a pastor mentions the name Rob Bell (I once got reprimanded by a church member for simply following him on Twitter).

The safest way is to never quote anyone. But this comes at a loss for the community itself. The church then becomes an echo chamber of repeating ideas and reinforcing what is already believed. It’s essentially the same formula for a cult.

The question behind this discussion boils down to this: Who can (and should) we learn from?

The Weird People at Disneyland

The Weird People at Disneyland

Michelle and I have spent the last few days around the wonder that is Disneyland. I’m a trustee with Hope International University and we have a board meeting today and a fundraising dinner tonight. Both of those are happening at the Disneyland Resort so Michelle and I decided to add a night to the trip and do a park hopper ticket yesterday. Our hotel is within walking distance of the parks and connects to Downtown Disney.

This means… we’ve seen a lot of weird Disney people.

You know what I’m talking about. People who buy things and wear things they’ll likely never bring out again until their next park visit. Giant mouse ears, lightsabers, helmets, and all sorts of other accessories you tend not to see adults wearing. Many people bemoan Disneyland for this effect on people.

I think it’s a good thing.