Clergy Confessional (51) – Cheap Grace

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of my heroes, and before he died at the hands of the Nazis at the age of 39, we was a prolific author and respected theologian. His best work (at least, according to me) is a book called “The Cost of Discipleship”. There is a much quoted passage that was not…

Clergy Confessional (50) 2nd Chances

This past Sunday I was part of a team in charge of a program about 2nd chances. We had speakers who had been incarcerated, as well as people who were immigrants. The stories were so meaningful and inspiring, and yet, so sad. For most of our speakers, they were on their 4th, 5th and beyond…

Clergy Confessional (49) — Toxic Faith

Two things that came across my screen this morning that have me riled up about Christians who seem to be a bit confused about Jesus. 1 – It seems that a bill making it harder for children to be married has been blocked by Republicans in Kentucky. This bill would have made these marriages possible…

Clergy Confessional (48) Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I love this country – it is a place of greatness and plenty. I fly the American flag proudly and believe that kneeling during the National Anthem, while Constitutionally acceptable, is rude. You may disagree with me – I respect your right to free thought and speech. This is how I feel. I am also…

Clergy Confessional (47) Life is Short

Most of us can agree that the title of this blog – Life is Short – is a truism of major importance. I came to this conclusion at an early age, and have kept it in mind for decades. You never when your end will come – you never know if you will see someone…

Clergy Confessional (46) It is Our Fault

Yesterday, America experience another mass murder, this time in a high school in Broward County, Florida. Once again, the American people are left wondering why. Those on the far left who oppose all guns are, once again, calling for their removal. Those on the far right, who want everyone to carry a gun, are citing…

Clergy Confessional (45) Is This the Golden Age?

I have recently become acquainted with the music of Jason Isbell. He used to be in the group, “Drive-By Truckers”, and his music is called Americana – it is a mixture of country, folk, southern rock – and he is really good. I would describe him as his generation’s John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen. He…

Clergy Confessional (44) When Church Isn’t Church

I had a month of my sabbatical in January, and I got a lot done. It is the practice of some churches to give the pastor a 3 month sabbatical every 7th year, much like in the academic world. I have had very few sabbaticals – when I was a Methodist, we didn’t even have…

Clergy Confessional (43) – Christless Christianity

It has been 10 years since Michael Horton’s wonderful book, “Christ-less Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church”, was first published. I believe his assessment of much of what passes for Christianity around the world is absolutely true – and these Christians have a concept of the faith that is not anywhere near what…

Clergy Confessional (42) It’s a God-Thing

I have always been curious about the way in which we Christians can justify our belief systems. What I mean is this: we know what Scripture says, but we pick and choose what we pay attention to. For example, I know very well what Jesus says about divorce – don’t do it, unless someone is…