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Miniblog #351: University Abbey Has Been God’s Means of Grace in My Life

University Abbey aspires to be “a grace-filled community where no question is off-limits and civility is the norm.” As its campus pastor, I’ve made a concerted (albeit imperfect) effort to help cultivate that “grace-filled” culture. Read more


Good News & Reflections: Doctors Cannot Find Cancer in My Dad (Miniblog #350)

This past winter and spring were rough. Read more


Honesty or Forgiveness: Choosing Between Atheism and Dispensationalism


Stars in the Margins: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ‘Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community’

Bonhoeffer Life TogetherI have a love-hate relationship with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. When I agree with him, I passionately agree with him. When I disagree with him, I passionately disagree with him. He offers readers a vast wealth of spiritual wisdom and practical counsel. That’s especially the case if you consider his short years. At the same time, he’s definitely far more pious than I am and more strongly influenced by 17th century Pietism. We also part ways in that Bonhoeffer was a biblicist whereas I definitely am not. I love Scripture and firmly believe in continual biblical saturation, but the Bible is not the be-all, end-all of the christian life. As believers we must never go far from Scripture, but neither should we dwell exclusively on Scripture. In my opinion, Bonhoeffer commits the common evangelical error of nearly treating God’s Word like the fourth person of the Trinity. Again, it’s a love-hate thing. That being said, the quotes below are those I love in Bonhoeffer’s Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community. Read more

Miniblog #349: Theology at Its Very Worst and Its Very Best

From the behavior I’ve witnessed as well as the history I’ve studied, it seems to me there are three general tendencies for how Christians deal with adiaphora. Read more

Stars in the Margins: Philip Yancey Quotes from ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace?’

Yancey Grace

As a ridiculously slow reader, I try to get the most out of what I am able to read. Over the years I’ve found I retain content better when I write in my books, so my method is to put brackets around portions I find insightful or particularly well-written and stars in the margins beside quotes I want to share. Below are my stars in the margins for Philip Yancey’s 1998 book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? For those who’ve not read him, Yancey has an extraordinary skill in offering profound insights in an accessible way. This whole book is a prime example, which is why I highly recommend it to just about every Christian. Read more


Miniblog #348: With Boundaries in Place, I’m Finally Upgrading to a Smartphone

There are numerous reasons I’ve stuck with my dumb phone years into the smartphone revolution. Not only are flip phones smaller, cheaper, more durable, easier to use, immune to butt dials, and have better battery life, they effectively inhibit my generation’s phone addiction. I simply don’t want to be the stereotypical Millennial who reaches for his or her phone the first thing after waking and the last thing before bed as well as chronically checking it during all conscious hours.11.I’ve read troubling scientific reports that confirmed my hunch that such habits actually rewire the brain, over the long-term reducing attention span and impairing critical thinking among other things. It ain’t a pretty picture. Read more

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Miniblog #347: The Past Must Be Remembered Before It Can Be Overcome

I’ve recently been reading Philip Yancey’s highly recommended book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? In it Yancey suggests, “The past must be remembered before it can be overcome.” I heartily agree. Forgiveness can be given by the wronged without the offender’s admission of wrongdoing, but make no mistake. There can be no reconciliation between the two without that admission. Read more


What on Earth Is “Eastern Anapiscopanglican Christianity”?

I’ve always loved this quote from The Simpsons:

The one true church: the Western Branch of American, Reformed Presbylutheranism. – Reverend Timothy Lovejoy

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Miniblog #346: Appealing to Subjectivity Is Taking the Easy Way Out

My primary concern the vast majority of the time is not being right, building unity, or advancing a cause. All things being equal, my primary concern is usually the truth. Read more

Following Christ: The Paradox of Self-Criticism & Self-Grace (Miniblog #345)

One of of my favorite quotes comes from Richard Mouw. He suggests, “Too often in life we proceed with a hermeneutic of self-assuredness and criticism of those for whom we disagree rather than a hermeneutic of self-criticism and grace for others.” This philosophy is near and dear to my heart. Over the years I’ve learned to put my implicit trust only in those who consistently exhibit a spirit of self-criticism and grace toward others. Read more


Chronologically Listened Through The Beatles’ 12 Albums, Then Ranked ‘Em

I’ve listened to all The Beatles’ albums but had never gone through them in a comparative fashion that explored their artistic development. So, I decided to remedy the problem. Over the past three days I chronologically listened through the core catalogue of the original 12 albums released in their native UK, then I ranked ‘em. As one who most certainly is not a musical connoisseur, my ranking has little to do with artistic originality, production value, cultural significance, or the like. My single criterion was this: What did I enjoy listening to the most? In the videos below I’ve tried to provide the vinyl version whenever possible because, let’s face it, they sound better that way. Read more

Miniblog #344: Why I No Longer Default to Addressing Priests as “Father”

In the historic traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Anglicanism, the priest is ordinarily addressed with the title “Father.” So, for example, “Fr. John” or “Fr. Doe.” The term is one of respect, speaking to the man’s role in providing shepherding as a spiritual father. Over the past couple years, however, I’ve undergone a substantial change in perspective. Read more

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Reasonable Proposal: Pay Student-Athletes or Don’t Use Their Likeness (Miniblog #343)

To use a 1992 Mighty Ducks reference, the NCAA is a bunch of cake-eaters. It’s now approaching $1,000,000,000 per year in revenue. Keep in mind that figure doesn’t include the revenue made by academic conferences and individual universities. This helps explain why the Bleacher Report is identifying the fair market value of college football players and basketball players at $178,000 and $375,000 per year, respectively. Meanwhile, just yesterday the NCAA announced that it’s allowing unlimited meals and snacks to ensure student-athletes aren’t going to bed hungry. This while its president, Mark Emmert, is paid nearly $1,600,000 annually. Gee, thanks for your abundant generosity. Read more

Miniblog #342: Helping Baby Boomers Understand How They’re Now Perceived

Dear Baby Boomers,

Let’s get something straight right away. The purpose of this post isn’t to create nor further any generational conflict. Quite the opposite. The purpose is to facilitate understanding. In fact, I for one have long felt like a man born out of time. There are many ways in which I resonate more with your Baby Boomer generation than I do my own Millennial generation.11.There’s a reason I’ve studied so much of that period of American history, love Forrest Gump, The Wonder Years is one of my all-time favorite TV shows, and I’ve listened to so much ’60s music. Read more

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Miniblog #341: A Healthy Christian Community Will Inevitably Challenge the Business Model

I don’t think all christian community needs to be spontaneous. I do think removing some elements of American busyness and programitization in order to simply spend lots of time with people is indispensable to healthy christian community. It’s Jesus’ model of discipleship and I don’t think there’s any substitute in any cultural context.11.It’s one of those transcendent human elements that’s true in every culture. Human beings are social creatures. It’s how we’re hard-wired. There’s no substitute. Read more


Miniblog #340: University Abbey’s New Three-Week Rotation

UA logo - No background - CopyLast spring a small group of us here at Baylor University started doing Celtic Evening Prayer followed by board games every Tuesday night. It was an informal weekly gathering of friends. By the time summer rolled around we were mixing it up, alternating every other week between Evening Prayer and paper discussions. This community evolved into and became University Abbey. The group has grown and Evening Prayer has been expanded to include Lectio Divina, the Apostles’ Creed, informal prayer, and some more historical elements, but that alternating two-week format has remained a fixture. This past week, however, we tried something new. As I explained in last Sunday’s blog post, we set aside this past Tuesday night for a social experiment. Read more

Miniblog #339: Why Not Elevate the Conversation Instead of Highlighting Stupidity?

The truth is that I naturally assume the good majority of people are morons. For some it appears they’re wired that way but for most it appears to be a willful, self-inflicted condition. I’ve cultivated an intentional habit of giving the benefit of the doubt whenever there’s any indication there might be good reason to hope, but experience has taught me it’s wise to proceed with initial skepticism.11.In the immortal words of Dubbya, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee–I know it’s in Texas, it’s probably in Tennessee–that says fool me once, shame on… shame on you… you fool me you can’t get fooled again.” It’s not because I have a low view of people. Quite the opposite, it’s because I have a high view of their potential. I think ordinary folks are intellectually capable of a whole heckuva lot more than they’re given credit for and what is ordinarily expected of them. Read more


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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