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

Am I Illinoising You?

A reprint of my column in the Kenosha (Wisconsin) News: I have a confession. Brace yourself. I live in Illinois. There, I said it. Please, don’t stop reading. Even though I’m from “south of the border,” it’s only by a block and a half. And that’s how I explain to… Continue reading

Q & A with Glenn Hager (Part2)

What have you got against religion? Religion has a lot of unintended consequences that are very unlike Jesus. It becomes about who is “in” and who is “out.” Therefore, it breeds pride among those who have the “right” doctrinal beliefs. It becomes a brand that you wear; protestant catholic, baptist,… Continue reading

The Prayer Principle

Virtually every religion practices prayer. Communicating with deity seems to be a nearly universal desire among humanity. Prayer can be worship, confession, thanksgiving, requests for ourselves or others, or most anything one would want to say to a deity.   Native Americans dance as a form of prayer. Hindus chant mantras.… Continue reading

Eyes Wide Open

Sometimes life seems boring, dull, and frustrating, leaving us with only fantasies of escape to ease our mental anguish. Other times we are so caught up in the beauty, the fascination, and the inspiration of the moment that we completely forget about our pressing responsibilities and illusive dreams. The regular preoccupations no… Continue reading

Stupid Faith

Stupid is as stupid does. Thank you, Mrs. Gump for cutting through the crap with your profound wisdom. Let’s exegete the text. The emphasis is on the verb, “does.” Forrest’s Mom was reminding her mentally challenged son that his behavior was more important than his IQ. Therefore, below average intelligence… Continue reading

Adventures in Assisting My Parents

Photo credit: Marcel Oosterwijk. Creative Commons My seventeen-day long trip to St. Joseph, Missouri was a packed full of things to be done for my folks…packing, moving, having a sale, closing out the old apartment, taking over their business affairs, unpacking, taking Dad to the hospital, countless trips between the old… Continue reading

Spiritual Wal-Mart

Image by arellis49. Creative Commons A few years ago, I sat at the table in the local state employment center as the workforce development case worker explained how the Worker Investment Act (the stimulus) grants awarded to re-educate laid-off workers. I took note of who was there. It was mostly males… 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

Crazy Times

Image by brizzle born and bred. Creative Commons. I was born right in the middle of the Baby Boom Generation (1946-1964). The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Cold War, The Civil Rights Movement, the assassinations of John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam War, student unrest, illicit drug… Continue reading

So, just what does God want from us?

 Image by Bunches and Bits {Karina}. Creative Commons Nothing. What could we possibly offer a God who loves us unconditionally and redeemed us sacrificially? Over and over, Jesus makes the issue one of faith, simply believing him and believing he is who he said he was. Our relationship with God is… Continue reading

When You are No Longer a Member of the Club

Image by epiclectic. Creative Commons. When I was doing Communitas Collective, I found a lot of people in their thirties and forties were pulling the plug and saying “enough,” as they walked away from the institutional church they had known for so long. Often they were blindsided by the sudden… Continue reading

What is Worship, Really?

Image by Josa Jr. Ceatice Commons. Worship has been associated with ancient rituals performed by ordained priests, and ecstatic singing, praying, and utterances to be enjoyed by anyone in the congregation. It the minds of most people it is confined to a time (10:30AM) and a place (your local church.) But… Continue reading

When You Leave the Institutional Church

Image by t0xicsunshyne. Creative Commons. De-toxing, de-constructing, re-constructing, healing, and sorting things out, takes time. So, be patient with the process. Be patient with yourself. I missed the extended family the church provided. I missed the sense of validation and destiny that caused me to feel I was doing something significant,… Continue reading

Worship: An Exercise in Superiority?

  Image by Jason Wohlford. Creative Commons. For many years, I approached my faith from a fundamentalist perspective which placed a lot of emphasis on being right. The downside to that perspective is the latent sense of arrogance and exclusivity that holds that everyone who believes a little differently is… Continue reading

Seeing the Big Picture

Cultural institutions are failing us miserably and that is causing a worldwide season of unrest. Corrupt governments that have been in power for decades are being toppled right and left. Protesters claiming to be the 99%, upset by the widening wealth gap, have “occupied” city centers around the world. Citizens… Continue reading

When Worship Rocks

Image by Kelly. Creative Commons. When I would visit my black, Pentecostal pastor friend’s church, I would leave feeling like I had been put through an emotional ringer. It was draining, but cathartic. They had awesome, emotionally intense music, singing, playing, praying, dancing, and swaying. There were times of reflection and… Continue reading

Where the Adventure Begins

Image by dgthekneelo. Creative Commons This post is part of the December synchroblog and part of  Christine Sine’s annual Advent synchroblog focused on the idea of “Coming Home” and how it relates to this season of advent leading up to Christmas. Links to the other writers’ contributions are listed at the end of… Continue reading

Christmas Collision Course

Image by Tim Samoff. Creative Commons. Christmastime is full of expectations. I am not referring to the expectation of a Messiah. I am referring to all of the pressure that we put upon ourselves. We want to have to have festive get-togethers with friends, memory-making family time, a Better Homes and… Continue reading

Who Are You Trying to Influence?

 Image: marcia furman, Creative Commons Jesus could and did draw a crowd, until his teaching became more cryptic; then people started scratching their heads and staying home the next day. It was as though he deliberately thinned the crowd, sending away the religious moths that always flew to the brightest light. He… Continue reading

How I Became Irreligious

This post is part of a synchroblog in which the contributors tell their own faith story. The links to the stories of the other contributors are listed at the end of this post. How did you answer the Facebook profile question about your religious preference? I couldn’t think of any… Continue reading

Keeping It Real… and Interesting

Photo by NYCArthur I wish I could spin a yarn like Garrison Keillor, but, alas, I am a concept guy, not a detail guy. Popular author, Donald Miller, recently tweeted, “A good story is more powerful than an army.” Keillor has been spinning his meandering yarns about Lake Wobegon for… Continue reading

Two Great Ideas

Here are three quick observations about politics in America. We are obviously so polarized that we are paralyzed. Holding onto power is more important representing the people. There is a monumental lack of leadership and courage to lead the way to serious negotiation and resolution. Our two major political parties… Continue reading

The Sabbath Principle

Finally, I am writing again! Here is the latest installment of my second book, Free Range Faith. For context, you might want to go back and read the Introduction and Exhausting Sabbaths. The word, “Sabbath” may stir up mental images of stern looking, old-fashioned, religious people who are strict and… Continue reading

It makes me feel not so alone. – Jeanne

It means so much to me when people take time to read the advance copy of An Irreligious Faith and jot down their thoughts. This review from Jeanne who describes herself as “just an ordinary person,” was so encouraging! “Glenn Hager describes so much of what I am, where I… Continue reading

David Hayward (aka the nakedpastor) and An Irreligious Faith

I identify strongly with Glenn Hager, having been a pastor who left the ministry and the church. With a mixture of his own experiences, research and conclusions, Glenn weaves a compelling and convincing story that many who struggle with the church will resonate with. David Hayward, ‘nakedpastor’ blog and Continue reading

Dan Brennan and An Irreligious Faith

An Irreligious Faith is a warm and honest reflection of Glenn Hager’s journey from a young pastor committed to Jesus and the evangelical church to an older, wiser, compassionate, unemployed pastor who still hungers to follow Jesus. Hager invites us into his own passionate story of following Jesus as he discerns… Continue reading

Paul Meier and An Irreligious Faith

  In his book, An Irreligious Faith, Glenn Hager describes the process that moved him beyond the boundaries of the church as an institution and into uncharted territory. He gives voice to the frustrations of many Christians who want to focus on love and the example of Jesus rather than on… Continue reading

Pam Hogeweide and An Irreligious Faith

An Irreligious Life is a portrait of a pastor and his journey from church leader to churchless wanderer.  Breaking out of the cage of religion,  Glenn stumbled  into new discoveries of how to follow Jesus and serve communities apart from churchified codes and rigid traditions. This is his manifesto of how… Continue reading

Doug Worgul and An Irreligious Faith

Glenn Hager’s spiritual journey takes readers through a desolate landscape of religious arrogance, divisiveness, and self-righteousness. It will be an all-too-familiar journey for many who have been alienated or abandoned by American Christianity. However, Hager’s destination is one of hope and healing. He knows that where Christianity has failed is… Continue reading