Thoughts on Willow Creek, Independent Third Party Investigations, and the Southern Baptist Convention

Last week Christianity Today covered the report of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) that did an independent, third-party investigation (ITI) into allegations concerning both Willow Creek Community Church and the Willow Creek Association. (Full report available here.)

I found these elements noteworthy:

Continue reading “Thoughts on Willow Creek, Independent Third Party Investigations, and the Southern Baptist Convention”

An Open Letter to Rachael Denhollander on #SBCtoo

Dear Rachael,

This past week, the Houston Chronicle published a three-part series on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention.

In response, you asked: “Pastors, where were you? When we were pleading for you to speak up against your peers or the leaders your support props up, where were you?”

I want (and need) to answer your question. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Rachael Denhollander on #SBCtoo”

Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community

Last October, I posted the following tweet, in which I used the term “deaf and dumb” in proximity with being cognitively impaired:

One of my followers, Lucy Crabtree, sent me a kind private message in response. She informed me of how the phrase has been used historically. She also explained why it can be offensive to those in the hearing loss community.

I felt convicted and posted an apology thread.

Since that time, I’ve thought a lot about how little I understand the hearing loss community and how to welcome them into my life and church community.

In December, I published a two-part guest series, “Welcoming the Eating Disorder Community.” It was well-received, and I learned a lot. So, I decided to continue the “Welcoming…” series. Lucy graciously accepted my invitation to write a series on “Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community,” which will appear in three parts this week.


— Part 1 —

I smile and nod in empathy as my new friend tells me about her church. “The pastor sends me and a few other people his sermon before church,” she says. “Those of us with hearing difficulties.” I wince as another friend sighs deeply and says she can’t follow the conversation during the ladies’ Bible study. And I listen as my Deaf and hard of hearing friends tell me over and over, “My parents made me go to church but I had no idea what was going on, so I don’t go anymore.”

A few years ago, I would have told a similar story: I went to church, but I had a hard time following conversations and keeping up with the sermon, so I stopped going.

I spent two years out of church. How could God be okay with me being excluded at church? Why did I have to be hard of hearing and why did communicating with others have to be so much extra work? Why didn’t He DO something? Continue reading “Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community”

The Gospel of an Imperfect Worship Service

I subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog. I enjoy his short, pithy posts, often full of wisdom about life, productivity, and service to others. Saturday morning, I opened my email to find a new post from him in my inbox—“A note from 2020.” The content was simple and insightful: “Twelve years from now, your future self is going to thank you for something you did today, for an asset you began to build, a habit you formed, a seed you planted.”

The first thing that struck me, however, was not the content but the math error. 2020 is not twelve years from now. I followed the link to his blog, which opened to the same title but quickly refreshed to “2030.” Seth had caught his error.

I laughed. And I relaxed. This was good news. Even Seth Godin, a master of social media and blogging, knows that moment of panic and frustration when you discover your error five minutes after it publishes. The content of Seth’s post served me, even with the error. It reminded me that I don’t have to be perfect to serve people well on social media.

The same holds in our corporate worship services.

Those of us who lead services, serve in music, prepare service guides, preach sermons, read scripture, pray publicly, manage audio-visual components, and attend worship serves need to hear this message: Mistakes preach good news. Continue reading “The Gospel of an Imperfect Worship Service”

Women in the Storyline of Redemptive History

Women Have ValueThe #MeToo movement has sparked some good conversations about the value and significance of women, a conversation that has moved into the church in helpful ways (#ChurchToo).

A friend’s tweet got me thinking about the significant role women play in the Bible’s storyline of redemption.

So, for my own benefit, I started jotting an off-the-cuff list of notable places women show up. I stopped at twenty.

I ended up posting it to Twitter as “Twenty observations of women in the storyline of redemptive history from Genesis to Revelation.”

A friend suggested I post it on the blog. So, here it is! Continue reading “Women in the Storyline of Redemptive History”