All posts from “Faith”

Friday Five Interview: Jim Belcher

January 10, 2014 8:00 AM

For today's entry in the Friday Five interview series, we catch up with Jim Belcher. Jim Belcher is the author of Deep Church and In Search of Deep Faith. He is Professor at Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale....

Pew Quiz: How's Your Religious Knowledge?

November 2, 2013 7:02 AM

As a benchmark for cultural religious literacy, take this quiz from Pew's Religion and Public Life Project. You'll be surprised at how easily you'll be in the top 1% of Americans for religious knowledge. Here's more thought fodder on...

The Potential of Partnerships

May 7, 2013 8:15 AM

Enjoy this post from former Obama faith staffer Michael Wear. Be sure to also read Ur’s recent interview with Michael. -Paul Today, partnership—a simple, benign idea in general—is perhaps one of the most counter-cultural concepts in practice. Division and polarization...

A Christianity Too Difficult

May 6, 2013 9:50 AM

It started with this tweet by Dr. Anthony Bradley: “Being a ‘radical,’ ‘missional’ Christian is slowly becoming the ‘new legalism.’ We need more ordinary God and people lovers (Matt 22:36-40).” Needless to say, he had my attention. As I...

Friday Five: Michael Wear

April 12, 2013 5:01 AM

For today's entry in the Friday Five interview series, we catch up with Michael Wear. Michael was the faith outreach director for President Obama's 2012 relection campaign and until recently served in the White House Office of Faith and Community...

Light after the Dark Night Shooting

July 23, 2012 12:00 PM

Brad Strait is pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Denver, and like many in the Mile High City, he was directly affected by the shootings at the Aurora Theater. One of the young women from his congregation was shot....

12 Months, 12 Religions

April 24, 2012 12:00 AM

29-year-old Andrew Bowen became a Christian in high school, but says that he took "a nose dive into fundamentalism. It just ignited a furnace in me." His journey with God since then has been challenging. When his wife experienced a...

Ur Video: Skye Jethani on the Mass Exit From Church

March 27, 2012 12:00 AM

In January, Skye spoke at the Lumen conference at Mariners Church in California about the exodus of young people from our churches. Rather than focusing on the sociological data, he used his time to talk about how the way we...

Ur Video: David Kinnaman on Growing Indifference Toward Faith

March 6, 2012 12:00 AM

In this segment of an interview of David Kinnaman by Kevin Palau, Kinnaman discusses new research by the Barna Group revealing Americans are becoming increasingly indifferent toward religion. The implications for outreach and evangelism are profound, and it may result...

Back to (a Theology of) Work We Go...

January 31, 2012 12:00 AM

Newsflash…Young adults are leaving the church. Ok, it’s not really news to anyone familiar with church attendance trends. For generations we have seen young people raised within the church depart during their later teens and twenties. But most returned once...

The Religious Views of 20-Somethings, Part 3

January 23, 2012 12:00 AM

Read Part 1 and Part 2. This past semester my students and I have been educating each other. I’ve been introducing them—at warp speed—to the major world religions. They’ve been candidly expressing their perspectives on faith, religious practice, and what...

The Religious Views of 20-Somethings, Part 2

January 13, 2012 12:00 AM

In a previous post, I described a few trends I noticed in responses of my students in a community college world religions course to prompts about the role of religion in their lives. In that post, I listed the responses...

The Religious Views of 20-Somethings, Part 1

January 3, 2012 12:00 AM

Last semester I assigned the students in the community college World Religions course I teach a series of writing exercises that (I hoped) would help them personalize and internalize the subject matter we were reading about and discussing in class....

Can Parents Make Faith Last?

August 31, 2011 12:00 AM

“My parents were very religious when I was young. We went to church (or temple or whatever) every week. My parents never, or seldom, prayed or talked about faith at home. As I got older and things got busier, we...

Does "Born-Again" = Small Brain?

June 3, 2011 12:00 AM

A study released last week by the Duke University Medical Center finds that Mainline Protestants have larger brains, literally, than "born-again" Christians, Roman Catholics, or the religiously unaffiliated. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Templeton...

Ur Video: Billy Graham & Woody Allen

May 31, 2011 12:00 AM

Earlier this month Billy Graham was admitted to the hospital. The 92 year old evangelist was later discharged, but the incident has sparked a number of reflections about the scope and impact of Graham's ministry. Lisa Miller wrote an article...

The Red Bull Gospel

May 16, 2011 12:00 AM

Over the past year I've conducted dozens of interviews with 20-somethings who have walked away from their Christian faith. Among the most surprising findings was this: nearly all of these "leavers" reported having positive experiences in youth group. I recall...

Ur Video: The Church and the Arts

January 11, 2011 12:00 AM

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Lessons from the Lausanne Gathering

October 26, 2010 12:00 AM

Over the course of the last week, I’ve joined more than 4200 representatives from 198 nations to listen to dozens upon dozens upon many more dozens of speakers address many of the most challenging issues of our age. Here are...

Book Review: The Next Christians

October 22, 2010 12:00 AM

If you have not yet encountered Gabe Lyons, let me encourage you to do so because he is a person worth your time. As co-founder of Catalyst, founder of Q (a learning community dedicated to mobilizing Christians for the common...

Lausanne Congress Days 2-3: Gospel on the Move

October 19, 2010 12:00 AM

In the last two days of the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, we have heard the stories and seen irrefutable evidence of God's presence in the world. On Monday night we heard from an 18-year-old woman who fled North Korea...

Atheists Split at Annual Conference

October 13, 2010 12:00 AM

Fans of the Beatles celebrated John Lennon’s 70th birthday this week. Lennon was killed by a gunman in 1980 in New York City, and his violent death is often contrasted with the utopian dream Lennon composed in his song Imagine....

The Real Threat of Pagan Christianity

September 3, 2010 12:00 AM

This year I have begun making the transition from student to teacher by teaching an introductory course on World Religions at a local college (while I’m still taking doctoral classes myself). We’re a couple weeks into our journey, and earlier...

Ur Video: Brian McLaren on Being a Heretic

August 18, 2010 12:00 AM

At the Q Conference last April in Chicago, Scot McKnight interviewed Brian McLaren about the "provocative ambiguity" in many of his writings. Does McLaren still affirm the classic creeds of the church as he stated in A Generous Orthodoxy, and...

Anne Rice's Renunciation

August 13, 2010 8:46 AM

Best selling author Anne Rice has quit Christianity. She is not quitting on Jesus Christ or the Bible, she says, but she is quitting organized Christianity. Ms. Rice announced her quit-decision not through a resignation letter (where would one send...

Out of Context: Jim Wallis

July 23, 2010 12:00 AM

This excerpt is taken from "Always Personal, Never Private" in the Summer issue of Leadership. "When the status quo benefits you, your theology doesn't normally include changing the status quo. For most white, middle-class Christians, the world is working fine....

Multi-Ethnic Novelty

July 21, 2010 12:00 AM

You can learn a lot about Evangelical Christianity by going into a typical Christian bookstore in a shopping mall. You’ll find scores of how-to, self-help, and church growth books. I doubt you will find many books on reconciliation. While the...

Mission & Justice on Capitol Hill

May 6, 2010 5:18 PM

What a day. I woke at 4am this morning to catch a flight from Chicago to Washington DC. The purpose of the trip was to conduct an interview that we’ll feature in the summer issue of Leadership Journal (which hits...

Tim Keller on Justification and Justice

April 28, 2010 10:18 PM

The Q gathering kicked off in Chicago today. 600 Christian leaders in the church, business, social sector, education, government, and the arts assembled at the Civic Opera House to hear some very stimulating talks and engage in more conversations themselves....

What Evangelicals and Atheists Have in Common

April 22, 2010 12:00 AM

For obvious reasons, atheists and evangelicals often find themselves on opposite sides of the cultural battle line. The rise of “New Atheism” via best selling books by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, and the emergence of “Constitutional Evangelicals” comprised of...

Review: Brian McLaren's 'A New Kind of Christianity'

March 18, 2010 9:00 AM

Scot McKnight, a regular contributor to Ur, has written a review of Brian McLaren's latest book for Christianity Today. McLaren and his ideas have been the subject of much debate in recent years. Does A New Kind of Christianity pacify...

The Hansen Report: 5 Myths about Emerging Adult Religion

February 22, 2010 12:00 AM

If you want to rile up the evangelical masses, drag out dubious statistics about how many Christians fall away from the faith after high school. We fear for our youth, that they’ll rebel against what their parents and churches...

A Movement or a Fad?

February 2, 2010 12:00 AM

The difference between a fad and a movement is that a movement produces long term enduring change. A fad, on the other hand, feeds off something that already exists: a cultural awareness, a disenchantment, or even a novel idea and...

Top 10 Posts of 2009

December 28, 2009 12:00 AM

Biblical Literacy Reaches New Low Why "John 3:16" being the top Google search isn't something to celebrate. by Brian Lowery The Body Broken for Who? Theologian J. I. Packer on restricting the Lord's Supper a Leadership interview The Facebook...

Wait a Minaret!

December 9, 2009 12:00 AM

The peaceful, neutrality-loving citizens of Switzerland voted last week to ban the construction of minarets in their country-a decision not welcomed by the country’s 400,000 Muslims. For those unfamiliar with Islamic architecture, minarets are the steeple-like towers attached to mosques...

Spiritual Formation and Counter-Formation

October 7, 2009 2:27 PM

Darren Whitehead, teaching pastor and leader of Next Gen Ministries at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, teamed with his fellow Aussie Jon Tyson, lead pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City, to discuss spiritual...

Scot McKnight: Self in a Castle

August 28, 2009 12:00 AM

Leszek Kolakowski, a Polish philosopher who weakened Marxism’s grip on Eastern Europe, recently died. Few, I suspect, knew who he was. I consider myself fortunate to have read some of Kolakowski, one book being his scintillating sketch of the history...

The X Factor

August 24, 2009 12:00 AM

This article is from the Summer 2009 issue of Leadership Journal. You can read the entire article at Leadership's website. When the willows sway in South Barrington, the evangelical world notices. So Willow Creek Community Church provoked headlines in 2006...

Ur Video: Chris Seay on Consumerism

August 11, 2009 12:00 AM

Chris Seay is one of the featured speakers at the Story conference in October. Learn more and register for the event at www.storychicago.com....

Catalyst Leadership: Ministry Mastermind

May 8, 2009 12:00 AM

The following interview was excerpted from the latest issue of Catalyst Leadership--our new free digital magazine created in partnership with the Catalyst Conference. For instructions on reading the full text, see the note at the end. Any church with a...

Ur Video: Eddie Gibbs & Mike Breen on Post-Christendom

May 7, 2009 12:00 AM

Our partner at Shapevine.com, Lance Ford, interviews Mike Breen and Eddie Gibbs about the blessings and challenges of mission as the world moves beyond the familiar trappings of Western Christianity....

John Ortberg: Snapshots of Religious Life

April 27, 2009 12:00 AM

by John Ortberg Snapshot: The recently released American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) indicates that faith is going down across the board. The number of people who identify themselves as Christian has decreased by 11 percent in a generation. The single...

Mark Galli Weighs in on Evangelical Demise

March 12, 2009 8:00 AM

Senior managing editor of our sister publication, Christianity Today, posted a response to iMonk's prophecies about the end of evangelicalism on the CT website Wednesday afternoon. Here's the first bit. You can read the rest there. The Internet is abuzz...

Goodbye, Evangelicalism

March 10, 2009 12:11 PM

In the last 24 hours, USA Today and The Christian Science Monitor have both released less than cheery articles on the future of faith in America. "The percentage of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more...

Divine Agnosticism

February 25, 2009 12:00 AM

The following is an excerpt from chapter two of Skye Jethani's new book The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity (Zondervan, 2009). My brother and sister-in-law took me to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl while I was...

New In the Newsletter

January 16, 2009 10:14 AM

Instead of teasing you with a paragraph or two this week, let me tempt you instead with a table of contents. If you're not subscribed to the Out of Ur newsletter, here's what you're missing: Currents "Bible Society Supports Atheists'...

Video Ur: Preview 2009

January 12, 2009 12:00 AM

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Video Ur: 2008 in Review

January 9, 2009 12:00 AM

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Ur 2.0: Get Farther Out of Ur

November 13, 2008 12:00 AM

You can get out of Ur, or you can get really out of Ur. For those desiring the latter, the Ur Newsletter is the resource for you. For a few years I’ve been sending out a free email newsletter...

The Cult of Mac

October 30, 2008 12:00 AM

by Skye Jethani Many people feel that the greatest threat to Christianity today is postmodernity. Others zero in on relativism. Some believe the enemy is secular humanism. And others believe Islamic fascism is the boogey man. I disagree. In my...

Ur 2.0: Introducing Url & The Urthlings

October 28, 2008 12:00 AM

You may have noticed that the blog has a slightly new look. The revised banner is a simple way for us to celebrate Out of Ur's third anniversary. In October 2005, Leadership embarked on a digital journey of conversation....

Third Way Faith

October 10, 2008 10:24 AM

I've noticed a trend lately among Christian writers, thinkers, and leaders: they are framing their approach to faith as an alternative to left/right categories. Some stake out a via media between two poles, while others critique the very essence of...

The Hansen Report: Modern versus Postmodern Politics

October 2, 2008 2:33 PM

You can listen to every stump speech and read every position paper, but nothing compares to evaluating presidential candidates side-by-side during a debate. Their contrasting styles and views emerge in ways you hadn't noticed during the long primary season. The...

Scot McKnight: The Eschatology of Politics

September 26, 2008 12:00 AM

by Scot McKnight Somewhere between 6pm and 8pm, Central Time, on November 4th, 2008, the eschatology of American evangelicals will become clear. If John McCain wins and the evangelical becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to...

Pagitt on Emergence, Emergent, & Emerging...Huh?

September 22, 2008 2:13 PM

In this video, Doug Pagitt explains the relationships between the terms emerging, Emergent, and "emergence." It strikes me as trying to decide which layer of the Incredible Gobstopper is the actual Gobstopper. But you should decide for yourself. --Url...

R.I.P. Emerging Church

September 19, 2008 12:00 AM

by Url Scaramanga "The emerging church will disappear." That is what my informant told me as we shared drinks at our clandestine watering hole. I felt like Luca Brasi being handed a dead fish wrapped in newspaper. The hit had...

The Church & Politics Quiz

August 26, 2008 12:00 AM

Where I grew up in the South, the three big holidays on the church calendar were Christmas, Easter, and Fourth of July Sunday. Now I live near Chicago, where many churches let Independence Day slip by without a word from...

God and/or Country?

July 3, 2008 12:00 AM

I've got a special treat for you to commemorate Independence Day - a preview of the summer issue of Leadership due out later this month. The issue focuses on the intersection of church ministry and politics (not an irrelevant subject...

John Ortberg on Religion AND Politics

May 6, 2008 12:00 AM

Anybody but me notice that this is an election year? I have loved politics since I was a kid; one of my first and favorite books was a little Cold War classic called Being an American Can Be Fun....

Top 10 Posts of 2007

December 27, 2007 12:00 AM

A year ago on this blog it seemed hard to imagine that 2007 would surpass 2006 in traffic and participation, but that is exactly what happened. Thanks to the thousands of Ur-banites that read this blog everyday and drive the...

Are You Ready for a Mormon President?

December 7, 2007 12:00 AM

From time to time this blog has addressed issues of faith and politics. In September, Isaac Canales shared his views about the church's response to illegal immigration. Brian McLaren has spoken here about the demise of the Religious Right. And...

Faith & Politics After the Religious Right (Part 2)

June 19, 2007 12:00 AM

Brian McLaren believes the Religious Right movement has lost credibility, but what will replace it? In part 1 of our interview McLaren called for a more mature Chrisitian engagement with politics, and warned about linking political ideology with our identity...

Faith & Politics after the Religious Right

June 14, 2007 12:00 AM

Last month the politically polarizing founder of the Moral Majority, Rev. Jerry Falwell, died. Falwell has been credited with mobilizing millions of evangelicals to engage the political process. The religious right, as the movement came to be called, has been...

Muscular Christianity or Fluid Theology?

April 10, 2007 12:00 AM

Barry Taylor is back with another excerpt from An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Baker, 2007), edited by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones. As our culture abandons any sense of certainty, how should Christians respond? Taylor invites us to consider a...

Sundance Film Festival: Report 2

January 25, 2007 12:00 AM

David Swanson, associate pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, is back with his second report from Park City, Utah. In this post he questions our assumptions about church and culture, and asks leaders to consider a new...

From Lord to Label: how consumerism undermines our faith

July 10, 2006 12:00 AM

Christian critiques of consumerism usually focus on the dangers of idolatry - the temptation to make material goods the center of life rather than God. This, however, misses the real threat consumerism poses. My concern is not materialism, strictly speaking,...

Is Jesus the Answer or the Question?: rediscovering the role of mystery in our faith

June 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Recent posts on Ur have focused on the nature of Emergent - is it liberal Christianity recast for a new generation, or simply a forum of conversation for those looking for a better understanding of their faith? Critics have accused...

Introducing Url and the Urthlings

October 1, 2005 12:00 AM

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