The sting of Robin Williams’ death strikes in a sore place in the cultural subconscious next to the memories of Phillip Seymore Hoffman and Mitch Hedberg.

All death is tragic. Suicide especially.

The death of Robin casts a particular shadow on those of my generation. Aladdin and Hook are the stories of our childhood. Patch Adams, Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting taught us how to grow up.

Depression is tragic. When it affects someone like Robin, we are all hurt.

Depression is also normal, natural and must be responded to within the church.

We can’t eliminate depression or suicide. But we can, and we must, become a refuge for those who experience it.

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Let’s admit we have a problem

Depression has been a lifelong companion for me. It makes up some of my earliest and strongest memories. It hovers on the horizon of my future. Continue Reading…

We know that Jesus called us to be disciples.

But what does that mean, and how can churches get better at it?

The key is found in the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

How to become Hercules

In a recent interview with the Nerdist podcast, Arnold described the process by which he became the strongest man in the world, an internationally recognized movie star and governor of California.

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There’s nothing quite like the sadness of being a part of a dying church.

There’s the burden of maintaining a big, empty and often very dated looking building. There’s the ghost of happier days that seem constantly to haunt their memories and gatherings. There are the aging saints who struggle to make it out on Sundays, who seldom find friendship or support throughout the week.

Many churches feel stuck. This can be due to a lack of ideas or energized leadership. Sadly, it is often due to specific individuals, committed to maintaining their power or preferences.

Why do we sit around asking “why is my church dying?”

We need to remember that we serve a God of resurrection! If we are willing to die to ourselves, including our fond memories of the church that used to be, we can be resurrected to become something new.

Here’s are six bold moves I’ve seen or studied that  can be used by God to resurrect your church.

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Flattered to be featured today on the Missio Alliance blog. It was not easy to press “send.”

How #YesAllWomen Destroyed Egalitarianism

You may remember the hashtag sensation #YesAllWomen a few months back.

The outcry was launched in response to a killing spree of women in Isla Vista, CA. For days, social media was awash with exclamations about the differences between being a man and a woman in our society. Some of them were humorous. Many of them were just plain scary.

As I read through my Twitter feed, two things became very clear:

First, the problems we face when it comes to gender are buried deeper than we realize in the structure of our society.

Second, I have absolutely no idea what it is like to be a woman.

Read the whole article here.

It may be that the most important thing our churches can do is become more boring.

Being bored in an over-stimulated world is a cultivated practice. The Pray as You Go podcast is one of the best tools I’ve seen to help develop the spiritual discipline of listening to God’s voice in scripture. Over the course of twelve minutes you will chill out to scripture-based music and pray through a passage of scripture twice.

The podcast format combines the slow, multiple readings of Lectio Divina with Examen style questions. According to their website:

A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend. It is not a ‘Thought for the Day’, a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer.

Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.

Our aim is to help you to:

  • become more aware of God’s presence in your life 
  • listen to and reflect on God’s word 
  • grow in your relationship with God

It should be no surprise that it is produced by Jesuits, who have been developing tools to commune with God for centuries.

If you want to take steps toward a more boring spiritual life and even becoming a boring church, I would suggest using this tool at least once a day. In time you’ll develop a taste for the boring and will be able to dive in deeper.