Why We Need a Better Definition of “Conspiracy Theory”

Irecently pointed out that new conspiracy theories tend to arise around shifts in power and that they often originate from those who have lost power or seen their power threatened. As you worked your way through that article, I wonder if you noticed that I didn’t define “conspiracy theory,” something that, in retrospect, may have been unwise. Nevertheless, I deliberately left it undefined because I wanted to demonstrate that we all have a working definition of the term. Perhaps it …

The Word You Can Use Once a Year (and No More)

I recently discovered Readwise, an app that has a neat feature—it sends a daily email with a randomized selection of highlights from books in my Kindle library. This has proven an interesting way to encounter information I have read but long-since forgotten. A few days ago Readwise surfaced a quote from a book I read years ago, Derek Thomas’s How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home. And, wouldn’t you know it, it was just the quote I needed …

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Are You Prepared For a New Batch of Conspiracy Theories?

We are just weeks away from another contentious American election, which means we are just weeks away from roughly half of the American population savoring a great victory and the other half suffering a great loss. This being the case, we are, in all likelihood, just weeks away from the birth of new conspiracy theories. Why? Because conspiracy theories are for losers. I suppose I’d better explain that. I’ll do so by way of a few building blocks. First, conspiracy …

A Master at Identifying Sin

I am a master at identifying sin. I might be tempted to brag about that fact, except for this: While I’m a master at identifying the sin in other people, I’m a mere novice at identifying the sin in myself. And I don’t think I’m the only one. There seems to be something deeply embedded in sinful humanity that gives us the ability to spot the sin in others but to ignore it in ourselves. We can provide a thorough …

Discovering a World of Surplus Beauty

When I was young my family owned a cottage. To a child it was a place of wonder, a place of marvels. While I spent ten months of the year in the confines of the big city, summers at the cottage offered freedom to explore and to discover, to be a wanderer and adventurer, to roam at will through fields and forests. One of my favorite things was to strike out on my own into the woods. Our cottage faced …

The Church Is You, So the Church Will Be Like You

The culture around us may not have much knowledge of the Bible, but everyone still seems to know and freely quote these words: “Judge not.” People may not know much, but they do know that the Bible strictly warns against standing in judgment against anyone else. Christians expend no little effort in explaining how “judge not” is not actually a blanket condemnation of all assessments of another person’s behavior, but a warning against passing judgement too freely, too often, or …

Are You Lonely? Tired? Caught in a Mess?

I have mentioned before that one key element of worship at Grace Fellowship Church (and in traditional Protestant services) is the Call to Worship. Often our calls to worship involve simply reading a passage of the Bible, but other times we combine several texts in a kind of question and answer format. In this case we had two pastors involved, one answering and the other replying. Perhaps it will serve you as you prepare to worship today… Are you lonely? …

Things I Did My Kids Never Will

You’ve probably had this experience with one of your children—the experience of trying to explain something that was a part of your childhood, but is completely foreign to theirs. Though we aren’t that far removed from the years when we were young, the pace of technological change has been unparalleled. What was mind-blowing in the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s is practically ancient history today. I recently found myself thinking about some of the experiences I had that my …

A Casket and a Bible

We have entered into an age in which many people are leaving behind their printed Bibles in favor of digital equivalents. On one level that’s of no great concern. After all, people are not leaving behind the Bible altogether, but merely exchanging one medium for another. If Paul could say, “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice,” surely we can say, “only that in every way, whether through …

No One Believes in Social Injustice

I have been spending a fair bit of time researching the topic of social justice—something that has probably become obvious to you if you’re a regular reader of this site. The more I read, the more I see how much of the battle is not merely one of competing ideologies, but of competing vocabularies. John Stonestreet has pointed out that “it’s no good having the same vocabulary if we’re using different dictionaries.” And when it comes to social justice, that’s …