Writer tackling faith, politics, relationships, writing, media, & other impolite topics. College Teacher. Podcaster. My newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/yy7znuy8

How to listen, empathize, and love well (Pt. I)

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Doubts are seldom allowed in the church. There’s an unspoken agreement that we’ll keep such thoughts to ourselves — that we won’t sully an otherwise pleasant Sunday morning, create tension at a comfortable Wednesday night bible study, or spark controversy among content believers. Instead, we’ll pretend to be equally comfortable and content.

Since we don’t share doubts, we can’t discuss them, learn from them, or deepen our faith thanks to them. We either feel alone in our questioning or remain blissfully ignorant of the questioners in our midst. Many of those questioners may struggle in their faith while “alone together”…

Of all the writing advice I’ve read on Medium, here are my favorite take-aways

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If you’re like me, you’ve read a ton of writing advice. You’ve read many “how to write” books and essays, a bunch of “how to write on Medium” articles, and plenty of “how I made a gazillion dollars writing on Medium for an hour while wearing pajamas on my couch and eating ice cream with a toddler squirming in my lap” hot takes.

No doubt you’ve highlighted a book’s worth of material from those articles and archived many of them for future reference. But how often do you revisit those highlights and articles? …

The authors of the ‘The Great Sex Rescue’ help Christians restore sex to its rightful place in the abundant life that Christ promises

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Thank God for The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended by the women of the blog, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. This book is a research-based, upbeat, Christ-centered, Spirit-led guide to a more fulfilling, mind-blowing intimacy — even if a marriage needs restoration from issues like lust, porn, and differing libidos.

I received an advance copy of the book to assist preparing for podcast interviews with the authors. I loved it so much that I chose to write this review.

For years, Sheila Wray Gregoire advised Christian couples on how to…

Wildly popular inch-deep theology and discipleship

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Max Lucado is one of the most prolific Christian authors, speakers, and bible study creators ever. He has published 93 books (!), sold tens of millions of copies, and appeared in many bible studies. He is widely admired, greatly enjoyed, and universally recommended. I’d say he’s almost revered.

If you’ve never read one of his books or watched one of his studies, Max writes, speaks, and looks like a friendly grandpa. …

Great article. I would add that BLM riots occurred in response to police escalation, from 400 years of systemic brutality, or from white supremacists infiltrating peaceful protests. Not buying the "big lie" and seeking to disenfranchise other voters. I think the same premise of your article applies to families, too: https://medium.com/bigger-picture/why-you-shouldnt-both-sides-partisanship-in-your-family-9b3ccdf4821b

43 Senate Republicans fear primary challenges more than eroding the democracy they supposedly serve and emboldening future American autocrats. That’s the only explanation I can imagine — other than having drunk the Kool-Aid like Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Ron Johnson — for acquitting Donald Trump after he perpetrated the “big lie” of a stolen election for two months, after he learned from his daily intelligence briefing that many of the “stop the steal” rally-goers had expressed violent plans and intentions, after he then still urged his most devoted followers to march to the Capitol Building and “fight…

How knowing the truth of publishing keeps perfectionism at bay

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Perfectionism almost destroyed my writing. I tend to be a perfectionist by nature, and neither my writing teachers nor my favorite writing advice books did me any favors.

Revising, editing, and proofreading are essential to effective writing, of course, but there’s a point where perfectionism can take over and destroy both the quality of your writing and your love for it.

Here’s my story of becoming a recovering perfectionist and my advice for avoiding the pitfalls of perfectionism.

How perfectionism took over my writing

In my Creative Writing program, the professors conveyed the message — usually implicitly but sometimes explicitly — that writers just needed to…

And that fact reveals a lot about marketing

A man holds up lightsabers against the night sky.
A man holds up lightsabers against the night sky.

I love Star Wars. But it’s one of those cinematic universes that makes less and less sense the more you think about it.

There are the things that you have to just go with:

  • Why use a laser sword when there are plenty of blasters, droids, and spaceships around?
  • Why master a lightsaber when you can use telekinesis and force lightning? (Palpatine gets this.)
  • Why does the Empire/First Order/Final Order keep centralizing their forces in a Death Star/Starkiller Base/Fleet that can be destroyed through a single vulnerable spot?
  • Speaking of which, how does Palpatine have unlimited resources?

There are the…

Crucifying the sin of certainty

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In The Sin of Certainty, Old Testament scholar Pete Enns nails the predominant view of most American Evangelicals.

  • To be a “good” Christian, you must believe the right things.
  • To avoid going to hell, you must believe the right things.
  • We must be very certain about our beliefs.
  • Certain belief is faith. Strong faith depends on adhering to beliefs.
  • How can we be so certain about our beliefs? Because they’re in the bible.
  • How can we trust the bible? Because it’s inerrant.

Even if they don’t explicitly state these ideas, most American Christians emphasize holding the correct beliefs with steadfast…

How to go beyond the seduction and danger of moral equivalence

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One of my favorite podcasts is Hidden Brain, hosted by Shankar Vendantam. Each episode explores social science research into human behavior and the hidden and subtle forces influencing it.

A recent episode featured psychologist Emily Pronin, whose research explores our tendency to recognize bias in other people but not ourselves.

Belinda Luscombe recently wrote about families divided by the Trump presidency for Time Magazine. These families could’ve been case studies in Pronin’s research. Consider this family:

Soren finds it incomprehensible that the same parents who taught him the importance of civility, politeness and decency could have supported President Trump. …

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