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Miniblog #338: An Exhortation for Dealing with Hurt & Pain in This Paradoxical World

Life as a human is beautiful. Life as a human is traumatic. We’re creatures who are made in God’s image, but in all ways marred by the fall. We’re living in a period of redemptive history in which God’s Kingdom has already been inaugurated, but hasn’t yet been fully manifest. Human nature being what it is and this epoch being what it is, it’s an inevitability that we’re all going to experience the paradoxical realities of life and death.11.And also peace and conflict, grace and condemnation, hope and despair, joy and fear, rest and exhaustion. Read more

Miniblog #337: John Walton on How We Should Interpret Noah in Genesis 6-9

I haven’t seen the new Noah film nor read any movie reviews. I’ve also managed to altogether avoid the expected outraged commentary coming out of certain segments of the evangelical community. My thought is this: The last thing we need is yet another blogger contributing to the present for and against cacophony. Instead it seems wiser and more fruitful to attempt to elevate the conversation. Read more

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UA Social Experiment: Why Must We Always Make an Excuse for Quality Conversation? (Miniblog #336)

American social etiquette is weird. It seems… unnatural. Is there anything more basic for what it means to be human than people conversing with one another? I mean, seriously, isn’t conversation a distinguishing feature of our species? If so, why is it that we’re always having to make excuses for why we’re going to talk? Read more

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Miniblog #335: Spiritual Growth & Sustenance Is About More than Bible Reading & Prayer

Growing up in evangelical churches, I was taught Scripture reading and prayer together formed the lynchpin for a Christian’s faith. If those things were out of order, everything was. It was a simple formula for spiritual growth and sustenance. In recent years, however, I’ve come to see that things are considerably more complicated. Read more

Miniblog #334: Announcing a Significant Shift Here at “Musings of a Hardlining Moderate”

The time has come for a significant thematic shift here at Musings of a Hardlining Moderate. When this blog began back in 2009, I wrote a great deal about ideas and my cognitive life. Relatively little was written about emotions and my personal life. Somewhere along the way the focus got inverted. Over the past year, in particular, I’ve written more than a few painful posts.11.They explained why my ordination was twice cancelled at the least minute, why I’m estranged from my only brother, how childhood rape has impacted my life, what it was like to watch grandpa die in hospice care, and so forth. Epic, emotive stuff. Read more

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Miniblog #333: Joy Without Peace

While I spent a month away in Minnesota and Oklahoma a number of friends, family, and mentors asked, “Do you feel joy and peace?” You want the truth? I wasn’t aware this was a possibility, but I’ve somehow managed to attain joy without peace. Read more

Miniblog #332: A Theory About Why My Personality Has Been Changing

Although I’ve only in the past few years come to appreciate the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as an imperfect but helpful tool in helping understand people, in retrospect I see how much my personality has evolved. Read more

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Miniblog #331: Learning to Take Care of Myself

Life has been frickin’ awesome recently. (Please note thick layer of sarcasm.) There has been a lot happening. Between grandpa’s hospice care, dad’s chemotherapy, and some other equally awesome stuff, I’m feeling… emotionally empty. (Please note second layer of thick sarcasm.) Read more

Neither Left-Wing Nor Right-Wing. Doesn’t That Leave the Fuselage? (Miniblog #330)

I’ve recently had more than a few anathemas lobbed my way. They’ve come from both progressives and conservatives. Over the past week I’ve responded by repeatedly cracking the joke that if I’m neither left-wing nor right-wing, doesn’t that pretty much just leave the fuselage? I’ve been playing with it, testing its comedic and rhetorical effectiveness. I’ve got to tell you, people seem to get it much better. Black and white persons can and do deny the existence of moderates.11.Last month my brother, for example, declared that if I’m not conservative then by definition I must be liberal. End of discussion. Someone buy this man a dictionary so he can look up “moderate.” Read more

Protected: Is Sex an Obligation in Christian Marriage? What Are the Sexual Grounds for Divorce?

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Miniblog #329: My Response to Mark Driscoll’s Apology & Aspired Change

It recently came out that Mark Driscoll has apologized to Mars Hill and committed to changing his life and ministry. Let’s just get it out of the way in a single sentence that I love that he’s admitting his limitations and, in light of that of such humility, am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he’s committed to real change. At the same time,11.Not “But.” Read more

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Reflections on the Experience of Watching Grandpa Ben Wither Away in Hospice Care

Three weeks ago tomorrow I rushed up to Minnesota, pulling an all-nighter to be with Grandpa Ben in hospice care. For the better part of two weeks I was with him in the nursing home. No one was there when he actually passed away early in the morning, which surprised few people. I think we all got the sense he wanted to die alone. Read more

Protected: Sex, Marriage & Implicit Orthodoxies: Losing Friends Because of My Recent Blog Posts

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Protected: In Marriage All Sexual Decisions Need to Be Made By Full & Mutual Consent

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Miniblog #328: The Cold War Never Ended?

The other day I read the CNN article “5 lessons for a new Cold War” by Frida Ghitis. It was a disconcerting piece to say the least. In it she suggests we’re entering a new Cold War. I agree with her. Czar Putin seems to yearn for the power and prestige Russia enjoyed during the good ol’ days of the Cold War, which is not at all unsurprising since he was in the KGB. I’ve been wondering for years, however, if we’re going to have to reinterpret the events of my lifetime. Read more

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Protected: My Greatest Fear: Having Been Sexually Abused, I Will Become a Sexual Abuser

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Grandpa Has Died: The Paradox of Celebrating New Life and Mourning Old Death

My last remaining grandparent, Ben Meinhardt, has finished the race. After spending nearly two weeks with him in hospice care, Grandpa is now with the Lord. How do I feel right now? Conflicted. Read more

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Protected: Miniblog #327: The Key Is That Each Spouse Should Focus on the Other’s Sexual Needs

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Top 10 Assorted Thoughts from Last Night

If you want a glimpse into how my brain works and the sort of assorted crap I’m thinking about all the time, here’s a snapshot from last night: Read more

Protected: Miniblog #326: The Vital Necessity of Sharing a Similar “Marriage Vision,” Especially About Sex

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Miniblog #325: The Surreal Juxtaposition of Grandpa Dying & Dad Starting Chemotherapy

I’m still in Minnesota. The whole family thought Grandpa Ben’s passing was going to be a quick process.1 Instead he’s slowly fading in hospice care. In some ways I sense it has been harder on his children (my aunts and uncle) than on Grandpa Ben himself. Read more

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Miniblog #324: This Visit to Minnesota Has Been an Experience in Fatigue Archaelology

For over a week now I’ve been in Minnesota. My beloved grandpa is in hospice care. I have the closest relationship of all the grandkids. Grandpa has never been anything approaching a perfect man–oh the stories I’ve heard–but I’ve always had an unusual natural resonance with him. Both of us are naturally determined or headstrong, principled or stubborn, convicted or obstinate… It’s the same characteristic. It’s just interpreted differently depending upon the context, I suppose. We’re kindred spirits through the generations, though I hope to be a bit more of a sanctified version. Read more

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Crazy Pentecostals Video: I Was Just Like the Unamused Kid in the Front Row

See that unamused kid sitting in the front row wearing the light polo and the blue jeans? It’s like an out-of-body experience of watching my former self. Delightful! How much you want to bet he’s a critically-thinking introvert? Read more

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Miniblog #323: Damn Pope John Paul & Damn Pope Benedict. I Will Never Be Roman Catholic.

Yesterday I began watching the 83 minute Frontline documentary “Secrets of the Vatican.” It confirmed and expanded all the research I’d done about the child sex abuse scandals. My response as one who repeatedly experienced childhood rape by a person in my church? Damn Pope John Paul and damn Pope Benedict!11.Holy Fathers my ass. Read more

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Protected: Miniblog #322: There Are Consequences to Sexually Rejecting Your Spouse

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Protected: Miniblog #321: Yes, Basic Sexual Compatibility Is Essential Even for Evangelical Marriages

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Protected: Sexual Creativity Doesn’t Always Reveal a Corrosive Influence from the Porn Industry

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“The Talk” Is Inadequate: Parents Should Have The Talk Part I & Part II (Miniblog #320)

I’m not a parent and, in all likelihood, never will be. So take this blog post with a grain of salt, I suppose. But I tend to think “The Talk” is inadequate. In my opinion, parents should have “The Talk” Part I and Part II. Read more

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Protected: The Top 10 Accusations About My Recent Sex Posts (Miniblog #319)

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Protected: The Importance of Thinking About Sex Now: A Response to Single, Evangelical Women

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Miniblog #317: A Reminder About Why Transparency Is So Important for Christians

Without getting into the specifics, over the past few months I’ve privately confided in a number of trusted people a major problem going on in my life. I’ve been seeking prayer, counsel, and support. Much of the response has been… unexpected. Read more

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Protected: Livid at the Evangelical Sub-Culture & Its Epidemic of Sexless Marriages

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Miniblog #316: Ever Wonder If You’re Living the Book of Job?

Ever wonder if you’re living the book of Job, only it’s sadly not in iambic pentameter? (It’s OK to laugh. You’re supposed to.) Yesterday afternoon I found out my grandpa is dying of kidney failure. We’re close. I need to get up to Minnesota to see him ASAP. About an hour ago I heard really bad news about my dad. I need to get up to Oklahoma to see him. All of which is in addition to the other major, struggling area of my life that some of you know about, which is why I need to stay in Waco… Read more

Protected: Is Masturbation (Innately) Sinful?

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Miniblog #315: The Challenge of Regaining Trust in Severely Broken Relationships

Trust. Surveying the course of my life, there’s good news and there’s bad news on that front. The good news is that, despite all the abuse and neglect I’ve endured, I remain more than capable of trusting people. I’ve grown more cautious with age, to be certain. When I pick up bad vibes I no longer default to giving people the benefit of the doubt.11.Instead I rely more than ever on my gut feeling, gift of discernment, high iNtuition, or whatever you want to call it. Read more

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Miniblog #314: Getting Tired of the Cultural Over-Saturation of Homosexuality

Yesterday afternoon I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and stopped after 20 out of first 30 stories were about homosexuality. Read more

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Cap’n Passive-Aggressive: The Reason I Don’t Give Casual Hugs Anymore (Miniblog #313)

I used to be a hugger. You know the sort. It’s the guy whose default is the bear hug instead of the handshake. It was my way of making people feel welcome, letting them know I cared. It reflected my naturally trusting disposition. That changed on June 8, 2012. Read more

Miniblog #312: Unintended Consequences of Disengaging the Evangelical Sub-Culture

In 2002 I recommitted my life to the Lord and began to take my faith seriously for the first time. Not knowing that there was an alternative, I embraced the American evangelical sub-culture hook, line, and sinker. I got rid of all my secular music, wouldn’t watch rated-R movies (with the exception of The Passion, of course)… the whole nine yards. By 2004 I’d come to my senses. Read more

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Miniblog #311: What University Abbey Is Not

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition they use apophatic theology, or negative theology. It’s premised around the idea that we can more clearly describe God in terms of what He isn’t like than what He is like. Perhaps we can apply the same approach to University Abbey. As nebulous as the community might be, we know what it is not: Read more

Introducing “Anapiscopanglican” Christianity

Preface: This post is a follow-up to “Miniblog #309: After a Decade of Searching and Gleaning, Has the Time Come for Creating?” 

There are different schools of thought concerning how language should be used. My experience is that some folks prefer word choices that resolve dialogue so that matters can be neatly settled whereas others prefer word choices that facilitate dialogue so that complex issues can be explored. A terrific example of this difference is the term “Episcopanglican.” Read more

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