Get My New Book, Agenda Music: A Conversation on Faith & Art w/ Derek Webb & Friends

“I‘d listen to more Christian radio, if the DJ’s didn’t talk.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Christians – both inside and outside my own community of faith – share this sentiment. Add to that the growing number of Christian people who tell me they grow weary of the saccharin, seemingly-departed-from-real-life, sentiments of Christian music, and it’s easy to see that something is going on in “Christian Art” which some believers find frustrating.

While there are bright spots (for me: Gungor, Hillsong United, Third Day, Derek Webb, Robbie Seay and others), much of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is designed for the sensibilities of the children and the most easily offended corners of the American Evangelical subculture.

But there is hope. Enter “Agenda Music: A Conversation on Faith and Art With Derek Webb, Seth Tower Hurd, Sean Palmer, and Friends (like me),” a book you won’t hear about on the radio, yet calling Christian creatives to embrace the larger marketplace and see all beauty as God’s beauty. If you found “Killing Becky” useful or attended my sessions, Designing Wonder, on creativity in worship at Pepperdine Bible Lectures, you must read “Agenda Music.”

You can get it today and PAY WHAT YOU WANT. All proceeds go to charity. Go get it NOW!

**Also available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon**

 

What Are YOU Reading This Summer?

Summer is the absolute best time to catch-up or get ahead on your reading.

There’s simply no way around it, the greatest tool for your personal development and growth is reading. Plus, it’s one of the few aspects of life you can actually control. As a pastor, writer, and leader, I have to read in order to fund my imagination, shape my vision, and develop as a person.

The same is true for you. If you want to take the next step in life, you have to read…and you have to read a lot. Reading will advance and educate you beyond your present capabilities, but books also help us mark life. I can point to particular books that I happened upon at just the right time. Those books changed my life. If you don’t have your summer reading list set, you need to get on it.

Here’s What I’m Reading:

Spiritual Formation-ish / Churchy:

Business-ish / Start-Upy:

Fiction-ish:

There you have it. I know it looks like a lot, but here’s my process for reading through difficult books. I hope you pick-out one or two books and give them a go.

Happy Reading.

You’re Too Old For VeggieTales

My daughters are in full rebellion — against VeggieTales!

Monday afternoon my girls found themselves looking for a movie to watch as a reward for hard work completed. My suggestion was Veggietales. I love Veggietales and our girls were raised watching the movies. They loved them. So, imagine my surprise when my 8-year-old looked at me, with incredulity, and said, “We’re too old for Veggietales.”

I didn’t think at 5 and 8 they could be too old for Veggietales, but what do I know?

This was her position and like a political party falling in line, she was quickly joined in agreement by her younger sisters. “Yeah. We’re too old for Veggietales!”  I didn’t fight it. We kept digging, finally discovering “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe”  – a story I’m certain no one could be too old for.

I understand why they thought they were too old for Veggietales. It has all the trappings of early childhood and is marketed to children and the parents of young children. It’s not that the stories aren’t good and useful, it’s that there’s a basic childishness about them. And not childish in the child-like sense — pure, innocent, open to experience. Rather, they’re childish in the sanitized, not-quite-true, sheltered sense.

For instance, when Veggietales tells the story of Esther, Queen Vashti is dismissed for her failure to make King Xerxes a sandwich. In reality, she refused to give Xerxes and his friends a lapdance.

My oldest daughter on her way to VeggieTales Live in 2006. Good times.

Continue Reading…

All God’s Children: Loving our LGBTQ Friends As We Love Ourselves

Tuesday I posted a review and giveaway of Sally Gary’s, Loves God Likes Girls: A Memoir. The response was tremendous – morseo personally than even in cyberspace (if anyone says “cyberspace” anymore). Below is a repost of a previous blog post concerning gays and the church. It’s one of my most read posts of all time. Enjoy

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I love gay people.

For many, it’s surprising to hear a Christian minister say that — especially an evangelical minister from a fundamentalist background and with fundamentalist theological training — but I do love them. I can’t help it really. And I don’t love people because I’m a saint. I love them because I know so many by name.

I know Jesus asks me to love everyone, but I must be honest; I have trouble loving people I don’t know. A plane crashes in Asia and I’m saddened for the families of the dead, but I don’t grieve. I don’t love them as Jesus does because I don’t know them. Jesus knows them.

I know many gay and lesbian people. I love them.

For a decade and a half I was a youth minister. I took teenagers to Six Flags, to summer camps, on mission trips, to countless retreats and rallies, and I loved every minute of it — well, most every minute of it (I could have lived with better sleeping conditions on many of those retreats and mission trips). But I never complained because I always loved my kids. And they were my kids.

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“Love God, Likes Girls” Giveaway

I’m giving away 3 copies of Sally Gary’s new book, Loves God Likes Girls: A Memoir.” You can scroll to the bottom to see how you can grab a copy, or you can read my reflections – which can’t possibly do Sally’s book justice.
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I met my friend, Sally Gary, several years ago when we were panelists discussing a topic I now can’t recall. A few months prior to the event, we met at an Abilene restaurant to discuss whatever it was that I now can’t remember. In a our first meeting, I knew Sally was a deeply wonderful woman of God. Throughout the years, I’ve never second-guessed my initial perception.

Sally is just the kind of person the Christian community needs to be writing, speaking, and leading us into the tremendously important conversation on LGBTQ issues. Through her work at CenterPeace, Sally has given countless Christians and their families a safe place to discuss and understand issues of same-sex attraction. Now, she has blessed the church and her leaders with another gift, her memoir, “Loves God Likes Girls: A Memoir.”

Over 239-pages, Sally shares her life and her heart. It is tender, sweet, sometimes sad, and seasoned with God’s activity in her life and the lives of her family. It is also Sally’s story of how she has tried to understand and deal with her attraction to women; an attraction to women neither she, her family nor her church knew how to deal with.

And Sally is not alone.

Continue Reading…

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