Suffering is traumatic and awful and we get angry and we shake our fists at the heavens and we vent and rage and weep. But in the process we discover a new tomorrow, one we never would have imagined otherwise.
We live in a world where we have friends, neighbors, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, people we journey with for years who are gay. And we need to love, affirm and all of us together work on the real problems that we have in the world.
A lot of Christians have been taught a story that begins in chapter 3 of Genesis, instead of chapter 1. If your story doesn't begin in the beginning, but begins in chapter 3, then it starts with sin, and so the story becomes about dealing with the sin problem. So Jesus is seen as primarily dealing with our sins.
As a pastor, you get invited into the most poignant moments of people's lives. Whether it's a wedding or a funeral or a hospital visit, you get invited into the center of the event, whether or not you know the people.
My experience as a pastor is lots of people have really toxic, dangerous, psychologically devastating images of God in their head, images of a God who's not good.
To be honest with you, I am passionate about all the people out there who want to know Jesus, they want to know God, and they are sick of a system that is hung up on a bunch of things that have nothing to do with the love of God.
When we get to what happens when we die, we don't have any video footage. So let's at least be honest that we are speculating, because we are.
I'm interested in painting the most beautifully compelling pictures and images and metaphors and stories and explanations possible that will put Jesus in language for a world that desperately needs to hear it.
For many, 'desire' is a bad word, something we're supposed to 'give up for God.' That kind of thinking can be really destructive because it teaches people to deny their hearts, their true selves.
I embrace the term 'evangelical,' if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That's a beautiful sort of thing.
Over the years, I've realized that I have as much in common with the performance artist, the standup comedian, the screenwriter, as I do with the theologian. I'm in an odd world where I make things and share them with people.
The myth of redemptive violence - Caesar, peace, and victory - is in people's bones so deeply, we aren't even aware of it. You crush the opposition; that's how we bring peace.