Christianity in 100 Words

Saw this somewhere and decided to take the challenge. Jesus. Christianity is based on Jesus, not a church or a prescribed set of beliefs. Love. Christianity is based on love, loving God, loving others (especially those we do not understand), and loving ourselves (in a healthy, non-arrogant sort of way,… Continue reading

Love: Is it an Oversimplification of What is Means to Follow Jesus?

Happy Valentine’s Day! This is a good day for me ask myself an important question. Is it an over simplification to sum up living life in way of Jesus with the word, “love”? My beliefs and faith practices have undergone such a dramatic change over the last few years that… Continue reading

Free Range Faith

Free Range Faith is a companion memoir for people who have left the institutional church, but not the faith. Glenn Hager addresses the question, “Is there a more real and meaningful way to try to follow Jesus and express your faith without having to deal with all of the baggage… Continue reading

An Irreligious Faith

Interested in Jesus, but not the church? Used to go, but not anymore? Find the whole church scene irrelevant?  You may be one of the 38 million individuals who stopped attending church in the last decade in The U.S. With honesty and a wry wit, Glenn Hager tells his story… Continue reading

Refashioning Faith

Faith is something that you are not supposed to mess with. It’s fixed. Its propositions are anchored in history. You accept them and you’re “in.” Reject them and you’re “out.” Question them and you’re a problem. How those things are understood have undergone some changes through the centuries. Some faiths… Continue reading

Out of the Cage

  I wondered for a long time how to summarize one hundred and eighty-two pages into a physical image. I finally got a picture in my mind that the cover artist for my first book, An Irreligious Faith, captured beautifully. On the cover is a birdcage that strangely reminds you… Continue reading

Bare Bones Faith

For years I have wondered what faith in Jesus looks like, not faith in the church, or faith in Bible, or faith in doctrine, or faith in ritual, but faith in Jesus. This thing called Christianity has played fast and loose with faith in Jesus for a long, long time.… Continue reading

Faith Freedom

“Responsibility” is a heavy-sounding word. But assuming personal responsibility is about freedom (a lighter-sounding word.) When you have freedom, you get responsibility along with it. If no one is mandating what to do, you need to figure it out for yourself. You need to be responsible with your freedom. You… Continue reading

The Faith-Life Martini

What does that look like when you chisel away all of the centuries of extraneous stuff, and it’s just you and Jesus in real life? If you jettison the hierarchy, the cathedrals, the massive church campuses, the official clergy, the budgets, the billions of dollars, the stereotypes, the expectations, the… Continue reading

Guilt-free Thoughts About Money

Giving money and possessions to others is a sign that our heart is in the right place. Paying our bills is good, too, and an important responsibility. When we are trying to sort out our finances, that’s the obvious place to start. Maybe, we can lower our bills. Also, good.… Continue reading

The Skinny on Tithing, Giving, and Offerings

Churches didn’t just come up with the offering idea, as a way to keep things going. The idea of religious donations has a long history. Tithing, or giving one tenth of your income is a very ancient practice, even predating the Mosaic Law. Abraham tithed to the mysterious King Melchizedek,… Continue reading

How Can You Be a Christian without the Church?

Back in the day, this question would have seemed absurd to me, but not anymore. Millions of people are indeed holding onto their faith without being a part of the church, more all the time. But what does it look like when we don’t outsource our spiritual expression to an… Continue reading

A More Normal Way of Being the Church

So, what does this “free range believer,” this “being the church, rather than going to church” look like? How can it have a relational aspect? You are free to focus on the people in your world by taking time to notice them, engaging with them whenever you can, loving them unconditionally,… Continue reading

Nurture Your Soul

This is the end of the chapter in my new book (the one I am writing now) on nurturing your soul. Spiritual formation requires something of us. It requires discipline. In fact, ongoing practices that help nurture spiritual formation are called disciplines. They are things you do intentionally and repeatedly that… Continue reading

 Helping People Be Who They Are

Conventional church leadership wisdom says, “Build the church.” That means to build the organization by increasing attendance, involvement, income, and influence. The discipleship process got morphed into teaching doctrines and trying to turn attendees into good church members, training newcomers to use their talents and gifts to sustain and expand… Continue reading

The Lowest Common Denominator

Short Answer Ain’t gonna happen! That’s my initial response to this month’s synchroblog topic, healing divisions in the church. People like believing they are right. Then they can look down the other poor souls who don’t measure up, and feel very righteous about it. That sums up a big part… Continue reading

Balancing Dependence Upon God and Personal Responsibility

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is, perhaps, the best known passage on prayer. Rabbi’s had their own prayers that were embraced by their followers. This is Jesus’. Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as… Continue reading

Opportunistic Worship

Image by SakuriRainne. Creative Commons. We should become opportunistic worshippers, recognizing God wherever we find him. If we approach life like that, he will surprise us with a touch of the divine in weird and unlikely places. I am a party worshipper. Yes, partying has been equated with binge drinking and… Continue reading

Penelope and the Crutch

.Penelope loved life and lived it at full throttle. She admired her daddy, emulating his mischievous little grin and his love of ornery escapades. There was an effervescence about her that, at times, just had to bubble over like a well-shaken bottle of Coke. After 9th grade gym class, her… Continue reading

From Performance to Reality

When I was a pastor, the Sunday morning service was the thing. We brainstormed, planned, practiced, studied, rehearsed, and critiqued, trying to get it just right. It consumed huge blocks of time every week. We wanted to create an impression and elicit a specific response. It was theater. There are parts… Continue reading

From Trendy to Local

At one of the churches we attended, the pastoral staff frequently attended conferences. That resulted in a church that flowed on the tides of the latest trends espoused by the mega-churches and their gurus. This church was forever tweaking their mission statement, ministry names, and structures. At the newcomers’ lunches… Continue reading

From Sanctuary to Community Center

At one point during a community festival of kindness event, I walked to the upper bleachers of the community center and looked down on all that was happening. Families were receiving free groceries, health screenings were happening, a whole array of agencies were on hand, along with hundreds of volunteers… Continue reading