October 31st. Everyone knows that today is Halloween. Relatively few know it’s also Reformation Day. On this day each year the Protestant Reformation is remembered and celebrated. My view of the series of events that comprise the Reformation can be summed up in two equally 1.If I may be so bold, I think celebration of such a flagrant violation of Christ’s will is completely out of line.hard-hitting words: tragic necessity. Read more
This coming February 2nd marks the big 3-0. At some point before then this blog will be coming down permanently. While I have no regrets about the degree to which I’ve been open and honest, there’s just a lot there. It can be, and often has been, overwhelming for some people. That alone has repeatedly bitten me in the ass. I have to use far more discretion with the new blog. Read more
Well, that’s terribly disappointing…
Although they were interested a year ago, Patheos declined to have me when I recently re-initiated the conversation. The reason being that my blog has taken too much of a personal turn over the past year or so. It’s no longer a good fit. Read more
Five bishops. Four jurisdictions. Three years. Two ordinations canceled at the last minute. One common theme: indefinite neglect. Enough was enough. One year ago tomorrow I resigned from the Anglican Church in North American and the Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast under Bishop Clark Lowenfield. Here’s how I felt about the decision that day and each day since: Read more
Around this time last year I was reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s epic biography, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. One thing I found interesting was the distinction she made between depression and melancholy. She noted that many people today treat the terms as virtually synonymous, which in turn causes contemporary readers to misread the primary source documents by projecting modern presuppositions onto Lincoln. When Lincoln self-describes as “melancholy,” we assume that he was actually “depressed.” I’ve found her distinction to be a helpful, thought-provoking insight during my own times of introspection. As the author noted, Lincoln certainly did have bouts of severe, debilitating depression–he was even suicidal at a couple points–but on the whole his was merely a melancholy disposition. I resonate with that. Read more
Shortly before graduation a college friend encouraged me to start a blog. Nearly four and a half years later, I find myself reflecting back. During a recent five-day retreat in Houston it became clear that this blog chronicles my journey from May 2009 to the present. As I take a step back and survey its full breadth, it tells a story. My sense is that story has reached its climax. We’re now in the falling action and are headed toward the conclusion. Read more
This blog’s title recently changed from “Musings of a Hardlining Moderate” to “The Thoughtful Curmudgeon.” An explanation is in order. Read more
This past Saturday night I posted the following on Facebook: Read more
When I was 20 years old I got terribly sick, forcing me to withdraw from college. Read more
Here are four tips on how to be a better follower of Christ: Read more
This is a period of transition and renewal in my personal life. It seems about time my blog follow suit. After four and a half years and three domains, the time has finally come to retire “Musings of a Hardlining Moderate.” The title, that is. This blog and all its content will remain at the same domain. In its place I’ve been thinking about something related to counterpoints. The thought has fascinated me ever since my friend and roommate, Karl Utz, briefly explained the musical theory early this past summer. Suggestions are welcome…
Some people love that I delete comments on Facebook. They think I’m carefully and discerningly cultivating a unique culture on my page and the groups I moderate. Other people hate that I delete such comments. They think I’m hegemonically and disrespectfully censoring people’s freedom of speech. For my part, I have five thoughts: Read more
The Adrian Peterson situation has sparked a fresh wave of discussion about whether or not parents should spank their children. I have a few thoughts on the matter. Of course, I’m not a parent, so I proceed cautiously. In my opinion, parents make a grave mistake when they categorically decide “yes, we spank” or “no, we don’t spank.”11.That’s too easy and involves far too little discernment. Let me give you a couple examples. Read more
The day Robin Williams passed away I rewatched Dead Poets Society. It was my way of quietly honoring the man by appreciating his craft. Afterward I went on Youtube and watched memorable scenes from a number of his films: Good Will Hunting, Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Patch Adams, What Dreams May Come, Awakenings, and Good Morning, Vietnam. Here I’d like to offer a nomination. Read more
Shut up. I’m tired of hearing you complain about presidential vacation time when your guy isn’t in the Oval Office. I’ve been listening to this crap since Clinton. Your intellectual dishonesty is fiercely annoying.
Shut up. I’m tired of hearing you complain about presidential vacation time when your guy isn’t in the Oval Office. I’ve been listening to this crap since H.W. Bush. Your intellectual dishonesty is fiercely annoying.
This blog post is not about an issue that’s relatively settled in my mind. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. For years I’ve been wrestling with this one without making much progress at all. Put most simply, I believe in being a critical thinker and I believe in not being judgmental, but I don’t know how to be a critical thinker without being judgmental. Read more
* This is the first post in a new, ongoing blog series entitled “Life Lessons from Bishop John.”
My bishop, John Goodwin, has a question he asks every young man who comes under his spiritual direction: “Wealth, power, or sex. What is your vice? It can be all three, but it’s always at least one.” It’s simplistic, yes, but I don’t think it overly simplistic. Here’s the breakdown: Read more
I recently read Henri Nouwen’s book, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. The first movement is that from loneliness to solitude. The second is the movement from hostility to hospitality. The final movement is the one from illusion to prayer. Not gonna lie. The first two movements resonated to the very depths of my soul while the last one pretty much clanked off the rim. Undoubtedly that says as much about the reader as the author. The quotes below are the stars in the margins, meaning they’re the ones I liked so much that I put a star next to them indicating that they should be shared.
Introduction Read more
Based upon my biblical and theological studies, it seems there are three ways the word “prophetic” is used by Christians. Read more
It seems to me that we live in such a globalized, digitized society that the propensity is to care about many macro-level things while taking responsibility for few micro-level things. I guess that’s fundamentally where I’m at these days, especially in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian and Russian-Ukrainian conflicts. I’ve a general awareness of what’s going on and I’m praying for them. Yet I’m not going to fret, I’m not going to invest much time and energy, on these macro-level issues on which I can practically do next to nothing. For me it’s better to invest my life locally, which means Baylor University and Waco, TX.
Yesterday morning I posted the following status update on Facebook: Read more
Gonna keep this short and sweet. Many of my regular readers know that my only brother and I were completely estranged from November 2008 until February of this year. We finally saw one another at my dad’s cancer surgery this past winter and again when I returned to Tulsa for the first round of chemo. While I cannot report that there has been an idyllic reconciliation event, significant progress has been made. I apologized. He apologized. I’ve changed my expectations for our relationship. He has accepted that I need to be treated as a peer rather than a little brother. I’m making an effort to re-prioritize family relationships. He’s making an effort to tolerate our differences. I’m intentionally not rushing; trust is slowly but surely being rebuilt. All of this culminated in our time together this past Friday night when I met my nieces and nephew. As I’ve recorded this part of my journey nearly every step of the way on this blog, I figured I should keep the story going…
This coming school year will be my second serving as University Abbey’s campus pastor. Brendan Payne will be continuing as an assistant campus pastor and our good friend, Simeon Snow, will be joining us as a second assistant campus pastor. Here I’d like to briefly clarify the distinctive nature of our ministry. Read more
To my mind there’s an important distinction to be made between progress and development. Read more
Ed Hird is an Anglican priest in North Vancouver. He’s also a Facebook friend of mine. Though we rarely interact online, I’ve always found him to be civil. Must be the Canadian culture, eh? For some time now he’s been asking me to read and share my thoughts on his blog post entitled “Yoga: More than Meets the Eyes??” I encourage you to read his post before reading mine. It’ll help place my comments in context. Read more
Over the past couple weeks I’ve been reading Henri Nouwen’s book, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. It’s an excellent work that, in my opinion, ought to be widely read among American Christians.11.I cannot recommend highly enough. That having being said, I have one major disagreement so far. And it is major. Nouwen encourages what he calls a “poverty of the mind.” Read more
As someone who has spent considerable time exploring numerous christian traditions, I’ve developed a reputation as a guy who can point spiritual nomads in the right direction. People know I don’t have a “team” to which I’m loyal and am trying to recruit. That’s why they occasionally come to me asking what christian tradition, or specific denomination within a broader tradition, they should consider exploring. My focus in those situations is first and foremost getting to know the person well. Read more
Preface: This is Part I in a 2-part blog series.
Contrary to the historic Myth many of us have been taught, it was extremely rare in the first three centuries of church history–prior to Constantine–that Christians were systematically persecuted.11.In Part II I will distinguish between a Myth and a myth. By that I mean identified as followers of Jesus, hunted down, and slaughtered due to their religious beliefs.22.Like what is presently happening in Mosul, Iraq. Read more
This evening I received a heartfelt email from someone who’s weary and considering pulling the plug on his/her ordination process in the Anglican Church in North America. It has been a hellish experience that keeps dragging on and on with no end in sight. The end of the email contained a number of specific questions. With a few edits, here are the questions along with my responses: Read more
As someone who majored in History and has studied a great deal of historiographical methods, I cannot stand when people say, “You’re on the wrong side of history.” Rather than unpack that myself, I’ll defer to a pair of excellent quotes by Matthew Schmitz and N.T. Wright, respectively: Read more
C.S. Lewis continues to be one of my favorite authors, but I’d be lying if I said The Four Loves ranked high on my list. To be perfectly honest it was far and away the most difficult work I’ve ever read by Lewis. I found the introduction arduous, which (admittedly) probably says more about the reader than the author. Likewise, I found chapter 1 more than a little laborious. Thankfully, I felt there was a a marked improvement beginning in chapter 2. Overall it’s definitively not my favorite Lewis book, but keep that in perspective. It’s because I love Lewis so much. Below are the “stars in the margins,” which I put next to quotes I want to share. There are 28. They’re listed below.
Introduction Read more
Am I a feminist? For starters let’s define the term. Read more