These are the resources that I'm brewing for real Christians like you. Look for digital downloads and products in the days ahead. And for now, feel free to browse the youth ministry, podcast, and preaching content below:
On the most important psalm, proper agency, life on the other side of the resurrection, the best hangover, death breath, The Sorting Hat, and subversive obedience.
Is there such thing as a bad Good Friday service? Why is Fleming Rutledge so good at messing with our minds? Can we pole-vault over the cross?
The world is full of good-hearted heathens, those who love people and those who want to do good in the world. They're not against God--they just have little use for church. Church is boring and hypocritical. Plus, who wants to sit through a sermon every week? But while organized religion doesn't appeal to them, these heathens long for a connection to something bigger than themselves: meaning, community, mission.
If you asked me 3 years ago if Crackers & Grape Juice would allow me to interview people like Rob Bell, NT Wright, Fleming Rutledge, and Diana Butler Bass, I would have said you were out of your mind.
Now that the sting of the UMC Special General Conference is not as fresh, what is next? How can those who are dissatisfied with the work done by the delegates in St Louis organize and be better prepared for GC2020?
In an effort to provide honest conversations from the 2019 Special General Conference, the Crackers & Grape Juice team invited supporters of all of the plans being considered by the United Methodist Church’s governing body to explain why the plan they support is the correct plan.
In advance of the Special Sex Conference in St. Louis, Jason and I talked with journalist, blogger, and former UMC pastor Christy Thomas. Christy breaks down the various proposals before the UMC regarding sexuality, why the Traditionalist Plan is the Mean Girl Plan, and why there’s no future for me in the UMC.
What does faithful living look like in the shadow of Christmas? Is there a difference between praise and gratitude? Are we allowed to wear hats to the dinner table?
Christian Piatt returns to the podcast to talk about the latest installment in his Surviving the Bible series.
The intersection of faith and doubt is viewed either as a badge of honor for some Christians but for others, doubt has no place.
We ask questions with predetermined answers in our minds and when the answer from the responding party does not fit our expectations or needs, we keep asking. We keep asking because we need empirical truths, we think to produce faith.
The calling extended to Peter, “Follow me,” is the same calling extended to each of us when we emerge from our baptismal waters. This calling - “Follow Me” - is an invitation to meet Christ at his table, but “Follow me” is also an invitation to experience the fullness of the freedom extended to us by the power of Jesus’ Easter victory - the final victory over our captivity to sin and death.
Faith that comes from the peace of Christ is not something we do or attain on our own. We see throughout Christ’s ministry, death, and now in the aftermath of the resurrection - in the light of the empty tomb - faithfulness in places where our own faithfulness falls short. Regardless of our demands for signs to subside our doubts the faithfulness of Christ provides us with the peace we need.
The shadow of the cross blinds us to the peace of heaven spilling over into creation. Domination through ruthlessness - Pax Roma - is no match for the justice and mercy - Pax Christi - of the Kingdom of God.
The Lord is telling Israel, “yes I did a new thing in bringing you out of slavery. And yes, you are being provided for in a barren land where not even the wild beasts can survive. I know it is hard for you to see it because you have become hardened by life but if you could just look at the world with possibility and joy you will see the best is yet to come.”
Christ’s resurrection, overcoming the power and defeat of death, is what has made us able to live in the newness of what G-d is creating. Resurrection was and is divine transformation and renewed our relationship, humanity’s relationship, with our Creator.
Paul wrote to a church in Philippi contending with issues of arrogance and disunity. Arrogance and disunity act as prohibitors to imitating Christ’s love as a community. Arrogance and disunity were distractions, and Paul extended grace to the Philippians by reminding them of what the love of G-d in Christ had accomplished.
During the season of Lent, we are wandering our way to the cross and empty tomb. It is a season where we wonder what will happen next. Will disagreements keep us divided? Will we continue to legislate Law in a way contrary to Paul’s declaration that Everyone who calls on the name of” Jesus will be saved?
We have missed the mark, and so on Ash Wednesday, the marks on our foreheads are a reminder to us to ask for forgiveness and try again. The Good News tonight is that on the cross and in the victorious empty grave we will find on Easter morning we are made righteous before G-d.
It is Transfiguration Sunday, the day we recall the fullness of Jesus’ identity being revealed and confirmed, connecting Jesus with the liberators and prophets of Israel’s past. While little of what happened in a once indoor NFL stadium resembled a group of people following Jesus, today, a few days removed from General Conference, Jesus is still the transfigured Messiah, guiding his disciples down the mountain, heading towards the cross.
Andy Root thinks the church's obsession with growing young might be misguided. Joined by Rev. Drew Colby, Jason and I interviewed Dr. Andy Root of Luther Seminary and author of Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church's Obsession with Youthfulness on the latest episode of Crackers and Grape Juice.