Review: The #MeToo Reckoning

Review: The #MeToo Reckoning

The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct (IVP, 2020) responds to the rising awareness of sexual misconduct and a paradigm shift in regards to patriarchy and the silencing of victims (#metoo). Ruth Everhart’s book is not a knee-jerk reaction to this social event but a timely confrontation for the Church to address its own behavior.  The book is structured so that each chapter develops a particular theme, which Everhart intertwines

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An Active Pursuit of Pacifism

An Active Pursuit of Pacifism

Often when I hear about pacifism, it is defined in opposition to certain acts. A pacifist does not enlist in the military or support military engagement. A pacifist does not engage in violence. A pacifist will not retaliate if harmed. There is an urban legend of a certain Christian ethicist who has claimed that he would not intervene if someone was sexually assaulting his wife. The image of a pacifist is well caricatured by a

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Review: Paul the Progressive?

Review: Paul the Progressive?

The recent book Paul the Progressive? by Eric Smith is an attempt to rehabilitate the image of Paul and his outsized influence on the New Testament and Christianity. Within the introduction, Smith writes, “This book is an attempt to convince you think about Paul differently. I hope that I can convince you that Paul was not a misogynist, a homophobe, an anti-Semite, a prude, an apologist for slavery, a defender of arbitrary government power, a

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Exploring Our Life Together: Benediction and Conclusion

Exploring Our Life Together: Benediction and Conclusion

The final part of our liturgy is known as the Benediction, which comes from a Latin term meaning “to speak well-being”. Typically, a benediction at FCCF will reiterate the themes from the morning in a concise blessing given to the people. It connects our past hour with the life we have ahead of us. The benediction provides a moment to pivot between what has been and what will be, changed as a result of the

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Review: Jesus Undefeated

Review: Jesus Undefeated

Jesus Undefeated is the fourth volume in a series of books from author Keith Giles where he attempts to develop a christocentric view in contrast to views that are assumed to be dominant or traditional views on politics, the bible, church, and hell (Jesus Untangled, Jesus Unbound, Jesus Unveiled, and Jesus Undefeated, respectively). Jesus Undefeated is an accessible, approachable book on the views of hell and, more specifically, what the Bible says (and doesn’t say)

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Exploring Our Life Together: Worship and Service

Exploring Our Life Together: Worship and Service

A part of our liturgy with “less than ancient” origins is a phrase that we use to conclude the lay leaders’ announcements: “Worship is over; let the service begin”.  This component reminds us how experimental liturgy can be. Some borrowed words become sacred over time because of how they shape a community’s identity and inspire faithfulness. Even though we have only used it for a few years, this phrase has become so familiar that many

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Exploring Our Life Together: Invitation

Exploring Our Life Together: Invitation

While each component of our liturgy has different participatory activities (singing, walking, holding, speaking, tasting, listening, reflecting), the Invitation to Discipleship is the most explicit call to action. Based on everything that we have shared together, we have a way to respond. This deliberate decision to move forward in our journey of faith is what we call discipleship.  Sometimes this manifests itself as an “altar call” or a call to join the church, but discipleship

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Reviews: On Apologetics

Reviews: On Apologetics

“Apologetics is a principled attempt to communicate the vitality of the Christian gospel faithfully and effectively to our culture.” McGrath 17-18 I recently picked up two books to review, both offered by Baker Books, on the topic of apologetics. Apologetics is not a subject that I see a lot in my Progressive Christian circles, which presents a problem for me because it essentially yields the field to more conservative voices.  Apologetics was an important part

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Exploring Our Life Together: Offering

Exploring Our Life Together: Offering

Collecting an offering may be a very recognizable part of a Christian worship service as the need to solicit support for ministries is a consistent feature of all denominations and traditions.  While there is plenty to talk about the motivations and spirituality of giving (in fact, we’re in the middle of a stewardship campaign and great sermon series about it), I want to focus on the mechanics of this part of our Sunday morning gathering. 

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Exploring Our Life Together: Communion

Exploring Our Life Together: Communion

The communion meal (also known as the Eucharist. Lord’s Supper, or agape feast) is an element of our worship that derives from the most ancient Christian tradition. It traces its origin back to the early church remembering Jesus’s last meal with his disciples before his arrest and execution and the blessing that he gives them. This event, in itself, is also an appropriation/adaptation of the Jewish Passover meal blessing. Each of the four gospels includes

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