Showing posts from July, 2012

Denard Robinson's Speech from Big Ten Media Days

As college football finally and blessedly looms a month or so from now, here's Michigan QB Denard Robinson's speech from the recent Big Ten Media Days.

Pop Culture Roundup

I recently read Still: Thoughts on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner, a pseudo-memoir about going through a faith crisis. I'm hoping to write a full review of it, so I won't say too much now.

We went to see The Dark Knight Rises last Thursday at midnight...which I guess is really Friday morning. Anyway, in the third and final Nolan installment, the ruthless mercenary Bane arrives in Gotham to terrorize. But before all of that really gets going, we catch up with many of the other characters eight years after the events of The Dark Knight: Bruce Wayne has retired Batman and has become a recluse, his body still feeling the effects of what happened. People still believe Batman to be responsible for Harvey Dent's death, yet at the same time the lie that Batman and Commissioner Gordon vowed to keep has done wonders for the containment of organized crime. Bane showing up upsets all of that, of course, the results even more catastrophic than what The Joker attempted in the prev…

Vintage CC: The Great Bonfire of '96

From July 2008. I went through a brief period of wondering, even fretting, about how much I'd really experienced in my life by that point, and how much I could blame my time in the Christian Subculture Bubble for it. As you can see in various places in this post, I figured out that I hadn't been as sheltered as I thought I was before writing it. Thank God.
During the summer of 1996, I attended a Christian rock concert that would help nudge me into the most serious questioning of what I believed that I'd ever experienced.
Up until that point, I'd been a preacher's kid who took a lot of faith stuff for granted and I was dating a girl who kept encouraging me to ask the serious questions (in retrospect, one of those serious questions, implied, was "Are you going to heaven?" I think she was trying to "get me saved"). This encouragement was beginning to permeate, but it was really that concert that did it.
Brian White and Justice. Ever heard of them? Pro…

Small Sips Blames the Liberals

You people with your "soup kitchens" and your "social justice" and your "inclusion..."Ross Douthat briefly discusses the Episcopal Church's recent national gathering, including its decision to affirm a rite to bless same-sex marriage, after which he cites that denomination's membership losses and trots out the usual argument that numbers are on the decline due to its liberalism (other mainline denominations and liberal Catholics get jabbed later in the article for the same reason).

Here's what I see as the takeaway section:
But if liberals need to come to terms with these failures, religious conservatives should not be smug about them. The defining idea of liberal Christianity — that faith should spur social reform as well as personal conversion — has been an immensely positive force in our national life. No one should wish for its extinction, or for a world where Christianity becomes the exclusive property of the political right.What should be…

Less Catchy Church Signs

You've most likely driven past church signs with removable messages on them. There are certain messages that seem to pop up everywhere; have been passed around online for others' use. Many of these messages strive to be cute and catchy, and most can be quite cheesy and speak more to those who are already a part of church culture than those outside.

Church sign messages are also ripe for parody, and I decided to have some fun on Twitter last week by creating a hashtag called #lesscatchychurchsigns. The concept is what it sounds like: what might be some sign messages that wouldn't be quite cute and catchy enough to put up on the marquee? The meme caught on, and people seemed to have a lot of fun with it. Here are some of my contributions:

Our Church is Air-Conditioned. Also, We Pray.

You Think It's Hot Here? We'll Get Rain By Thursday So That'll Help

1 Cross + 3 Nails + 2 Extra Services = 5 Easter Things

I Hate Coming Out Here To Change This


Pop Culture Roundup

I read Any Day a Beautiful Change by Katherine Willis Pershey the other week. I used to read her blog of same name quite regularly years ago, during which time I even discovered that she grew up in the Akron area before heading to seminary and her first call in California. This relatively short book is a collection of interrelated essays about her experiences as a pastor, wife, and mother; the joys, frustrations, highs and lows of each and how she strives to strike a balance between them. Pershey's writing style is flowing and accessible, and does well at balancing weightiness with whimsy. She is able to draw out the spiritual aspects of bonding with her unborn child, the pain and release of breastfeeding, and the challenges of marriage, as just a few examples, with a sort of care that doesn't gloss over what's really happening in each. I can't say that I always felt like I was the target audience for this book, but it was a great read anyway.
Also, since my spiritual d…

In Defense of Institutions

Before I even get started here, I want to note that this post's title alone would have caused Coffeepastor circa 2006 to develop a rash and go on a screaming tirade that would have ended with this computer thrown out the window. That, or he'd lose consciousness for a few minutes. Or he might just throw up his hands and yell, "Seriously?!" Or he might just roll his eyes and sigh. The point is that his reaction would be negative.

You see, during my first few years of ministry, I quickly noticed all the ways that institutions--particularly churches--get in their own way. Many churches still use an organizational model that has been around at least since WWII, when soldiers came home, families and subdivisions popped up everywhere, and that generation began socializing like nobody's business. We have all sorts of social and civic organizations (e.g., the Rotary, lodges named after all manner of animal, etc.) because that generation wanted to organize themselves in a…


Last week, the Coffeefamily made its annual vacation trip down to Ormond Beach, Florida, just north of Daytona. This year's trip had a different feel to it, thanks in no small part to Tropical Storm Debby, which was milling around in the Gulf of Mexico leading up to that week and just happened to hit land while we were there.

The really bad stuff was north of us as it moved across the state. We saw countless images of tremendous flooding, particularly to our west where the biggest concentration of rain had fallen. For most of our week out by the Atlantic Ocean, even though we got off pretty easy, we still felt Debby's effects in the form of cloudy days, intermittent showers, and a thunderstorm or two. We showed our defiance by still going out to the beach every day, if only for an hour.

It's been fairly stormy this past week back at home. On Tuesday, our area was under a tornado warning for a brief amount of time. This morning as I type, we're bracing for a thundersto…

The Majesty and Glory

I just got back from a week's vacation and am still getting back into a routine, so here's a video of the MetroSingers performing "The Majesty and Glory of Your Name." It's a beautiful piece that I heard for the first time a few weeks ago. Enjoy.

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