All posts from “trends”

Wednesday Link List: Choosing a Church, Childhood Lost, and More

November 6, 2013 8:00 AM

I've checked this week and nobody in the Pentecostal community is organizing a Strange Ice Conference. So far. Here's the rest of my research: On Monday, the news about American pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran, was not good....

Wednesday Link List: Strange Fire, Asperger's Syndrome, and More

October 23, 2013 8:00 AM

Time to take another look at the best of Christian blogs and internet news you may have missed. Not many weird religious news stories this week; try to do something stupid over the next few days, okay? According to...

Bigger Chunks of Bread

July 25, 2013 7:00 AM

I grew up as a preacher’s kid. My father was a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force before he pastored churches in the United Methodist Church and the American Baptist Association. During my college years at the University of...

Egyptian Christians and Prophetic Politics

July 8, 2013 10:10 AM

The aftermath of 2010/11's Arab Spring revolutions had deeply mixed results for Christians across the Middle East. The political unrest (usually sparked for worthy motives) frequently suspended laws or enforcement energy that protected vulnerable churches and Christian communities. This...

Wednesday Links: Gender Benders, Positive Prophets, and More

July 3, 2013 8:00 AM

For those of you joining us for the first time, welcome to Random Acts of Linking, AKA the Wednesday Link List from Thinking Out Loud. Links included here may not be new, but they're new to us. We aim...

Evangelicals Are Too Political & Other Popular Myths

July 2, 2013 8:20 AM

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 last week, it seems everyone with a keyboard has been analyzing the implications of the decisions. What does it mean for the gay...

U.S. Ranked 5th Most Religious Country

April 30, 2012 12:00 AM

A new survey by the University of Chicago has ranked the United States as the fifth most religious country. “Beliefs About God Across Time And Countries,” a research project conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University...

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...

Christianism Leads to Atheism

March 22, 2012 12:00 AM

As I get around the country there is one question I hear from pastors more than any other: How do we reach young people? They don’t need research from Barna, Lifeway, Pew, and Gallup to tell them young people are...

Ur Video: Use a Cell, Go to Hell

March 19, 2012 12:00 AM

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Risky Business (Part 2)

March 14, 2012 12:00 AM

Read part 1. So what is the solution to the captivity of ministry leaders to business models? I've got a theory: to the extent that the church does not know its Bible, really know the Bible, the more it seeks...

Risky Business (Part 1)

March 12, 2012 12:00 AM

I first discovered Jim Gilmore when his book, The Experience Economy, was handed to me by a nationally known church consultant in 2002. If I wanted my church to grow, he explained, I had to employ the marketplace strategies in...

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...

Out of Context: Jonathan Merritt

March 5, 2012 12:00 AM

"I have the opportunity to hang out with a number of younger evangelical influencers, and sometimes it's breathtaking how little we think about, talk about, or seem concerned with personal evangelism." -Jonathan Merritt quoted in "Outlooks on Outreach" in the...

Linstant Leader

February 27, 2012 12:00 AM

Normally, February is the dullest month in the sports calendar. The NFL season concluded with the Super Bowl. March Madness is not yet on the horizon. Pitchers and catchers haven't reported. And games in the interminably long basketball and hockey...

Part 2: The Evangelical Industrial Complex & the Rise of Celebrity Pastors

February 21, 2012 12:00 AM

Read Part 1. This market-driven cycle of megachurches, conferences, and publishers results in an echo chamber where the same voices, espousing the same values, create an atmosphere where ministry success becomes equated with audience aggregation. (Thankfully there are outliers like...

The Evangelical Industrial Complex & the Rise of Celebrity Pastors (Pt. 1)

February 20, 2012 12:00 AM

Last week Bob Hyatt wrote about the temptations created by the celebrity pastor culture we live in and the harm it causes to our souls. He's not the only one talking about the issue. Both Relevant Magazine and the Together...

Exorcise Wall Street

February 15, 2012 12:00 AM

There was an occasion in the 60s where a bunch of hippies surrounded the Pentagon and tried to exorcise the demons. It didn’t work. Despite their valiant effort, not much happened that day. Nevertheless, I am one of those Christians...

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...

Ur Video: Rick McKinley on Activists

January 25, 2012 12:00 AM

This video was produced by This Is Our City, a project of Christianity Today exploring how Christians are working for the flourishing of their cities. Here McKinley talks about the activism of Portland's culture and how the church can't just...

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...

9 Reasons NOT to Plant a Church in 2012 (Part 2)

January 20, 2012 12:00 AM

I visited a number of Asian countries in 2011 and was amazed at the dynamism and commitment of the young Jesus followers. One network, in a country that I will not mention, stuck out to me as an outstanding example....

9 Reasons NOT to Plant a Church in 2012

January 18, 2012 12:00 AM

"Church planting is the most effective form of evangelism under heaven," said C.Peter Wagner. I know he said that. I was there. I was a young [and good looking] Seminary student sitting in his classroom when he said it. It...

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...

Study Says God-Connections at Church are "Rare"

January 11, 2012 12:00 AM

Let's be honest for a minute. Most churches expend the vast majority of their resources on weekend worship gatherings. It's when facilities are most utilized, when programming is most robust, when volunteers are most required, and what many pastors spend...

Ur Video: Churches Partner with Gay Mayor in Portland

January 5, 2012 12:00 AM

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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....

Most Popular Posts of 2011

December 30, 2011 12:00 AM

Another year of conversation is coming to an end on Out of Ur. Thanks to all of our writers, contributors, and commenters. It's been a great year. Like many others, Urbanites were caught up in the controversy surrounding Rob Bell...

Is Video Preaching on the Decline?

December 21, 2011 12:00 AM

'Tis the season for presents, and parties, and pageants, and...predictions. At the end of every year we often speculate about what the future will bring. What trends will gain momentum, and which have 'jumped the shark.' Sam Rainer, president of...

Skye Jethani: The Wrong War on Christmas

December 19, 2011 12:00 AM

A few years ago I was walking through Woodfield Mall, the largest one in Illinois, just before Christmas. I was disappointed to see that Santa’s grotto, where children waited in line for a brief one-on-one consultation with Mr. Claus, had...

Supreme Court Kicks Churches Out of NYC Schools- Is Yours Next?

December 13, 2011 12:00 AM

Last week the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by an evangelical church regarding the ban against churches using public schools in New York City. The court's refusal to hear the case allows a lower court ruling to stand...

Did Youth Ministry Create the Emerging Church? (Pt. 2)

December 7, 2011 12:00 AM

What I find most interesting about Tony Jones’ thesis is the way it can explain far more than just the Emerging Church Movement. I think contemporary youth ministry may also help us understand the rise of the megachurch movement in...

Did Youth Ministry Create the Emerging Church?

December 1, 2011 12:00 AM

Did the modern youth ministry movement create the Emerging Church? That’s the question Tony Jones addresses in a recent blog post. While presenting a paper at an academic conference, Jones fielded questions from professors of youth ministry primarily from evangelical...

Skye Jethani: The Megachurch Bubble (Part 2)

November 22, 2011 12:00 AM

Read part 1 Finally, the chart shows that 85% of megachurch attenders are white. And I’m guessing that stat is probably equally true about megachurch leaders as congregations and leadership usually reflect one another. (Sorta the way owners resemble their...

Skye Jethani: The Megachurch Bubble (Part 1)

November 14, 2011 12:00 AM

Megachurches are predominantly white, suburban, conservative congregations led by baby-boomer pastors. This is what an infographic about floating around the web lately has revealed. It's based on research compiled by Forbes, The Christian Post, and Leadership Network. For the most...

Skye Jethani: Love Justifies Itself (Part 2)

November 3, 2011 12:00 AM

Read part 1 3. Social action is a partner of evangelism. This, finally, is where Stott lands on the matter. He believes that social justice and evangelism “belong to each other and yet are independent of each other. Each stands...

Skye Jethani: Love Justifies Itself (Part 1)

October 31, 2011 12:00 AM

Is social justice an essential part of the gospel? The question has been raging for decades, and in some circles the matter was settled long ago. But a new generation of evangelicals with a strong inclination toward social engagement is...

Shane Claiborne: A Devotion for Wall Street

October 26, 2011 12:00 AM

A reporter recently asked me, “As a Christian leader, does your faith have anything to say about Wall Street?” I said, “How much time do you have?” Theologian Karl Barth said, “We have to read the Bible in one hand,...

Ur Video: Christian Hipster How To

October 3, 2011 12:00 AM

The Catalyst Conference is later this week in Atlanta, and we'll have some reporting from the event here on Ur. But first a quick lesson in how to be a Christian hipster...a species commonly found roaming the arena at Catalyst....

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...

The Church is Dead...

June 20, 2011 12:00 AM

Last week the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, gathered for its annual meeting in Phoenix. The media pounced when stats were released indicating SBC membership had shrunk for the fourth consecutive year. In addition (or should I...

McKnight: Why Don't We Care About Global Missions

June 9, 2011 12:00 AM

If you are an Urbanite then you know that last October church leaders gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, for the Third Lausanne Congress on Global Evangelization. It was the largest, most diverse gathering of Christian leaders in history. Our...

The Post-American Church (Part Dos)

June 1, 2011 12:00 AM

Read Part One of Skye Jethani's article, "The Post-American Church." OBSERVATION TWO: The American Church still has a vital role to play as the global church rises. In 2008, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria wrote the best-selling book The Post-American World from...

Book Review: "Clouds of Witnesses"

May 25, 2011 12:00 AM

I’m seated at the front of a university lecture hall with representatives of five other religious traditions. Listening intently to the brief descriptions of our faiths are seventy undergraduate and graduate students, many hailing from other countries. Two weeks later...

The Post-American Church (Part Uno)

May 24, 2011 12:00 AM

A week ago I returned from a trip to Spain where I was speaking with a team of missionaries working in different regions of the country. Yes, I was suffering for the Lord on a Mediterranean beach. Apart from the...

The Morning After...

May 23, 2011 12:00 AM

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Ur Video: The End of the World!!!!!!!

May 20, 2011 12:00 AM

Matthew Paul Turner composed this essay a few years ago, but it seems relevant given that tomorrow is reportedly the end of the world....

Do Christianity & Capitalism Clash?

April 21, 2011 12:00 AM

A poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service was released this week that finds more Americans (44 percent) believe Christian values are at odds with capitalism than believe they are compatible (36 percent). However,...

Url's Links of the Week

February 11, 2011 12:00 AM

Urthlings, This is your leader. Here are the links and videos you may have missed this week. Consume them and be disturbed. Live well and evangelize. Url Michelle Obama tells churches to eat better. The First Lady marked the first...

Pastor Blames Facebook For Divorces

February 9, 2011 12:00 AM

Reverend Cedric Miller of Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in New Jersey has banned Facebook. He's ordered about 50 married church officials to delete their accounts or resign and has called on married people in his 1,100-member congregation to delete...

Url's Links of the Week

January 6, 2011 12:00 AM

Urbanites...this is your leader. Here are the links you should be reading this week. Live long and proselytize. -Url, out. Is the Constitution God-inspired? Republicans took control of the House of Representatives yesterday, and their first official act was the...

The Top 10 of '10

December 28, 2010 12:00 AM

Well Urbanites, as another year draws to an end it's time to look back. Here are the most commented upon (a.k.a. the most argued about) post from the last 12 months. There plenty of politics in here covering the health...

Url's Links of the Week (2010-12-12)

December 22, 2010 12:00 AM

Urthlings, this is your leader. Here are videos, articles, and blog posts you should be reading this week. Live long and proselytize. Peace on Urth, Url Santa Executed The war on Christmas just got ugly. The leaders at Repent Amarillo—a...

Out of Context: Brandon O'Brien

December 21, 2010 12:00 AM

"Over time, the experts have done for church what postcards and PBS specials have done for the Grand Canyon: they've made it difficult for us to appreciate our own experience apart from theirs. We have lost the ability to see...

The Christian Industrial Complex (Part 2)

December 17, 2010 12:00 AM

(Read part 1) In light of all the exciting movements addressing world hunger and peace, many with Christians in the forefront, I really believe Christian stores should be pioneers and innovators, rather than chameleons. Selling fair trade coffee is a...

The Christian Industrial Complex (Part 1)

December 15, 2010 12:00 AM

I went into a Christian bookstore the other day and was surprised to see some of the most prominent display space given over to military flags for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. These flags, and a vast...

Ur Cartoon: Sexual Abstinence

December 14, 2010 12:00 AM

In yesterday's post Mark Regnerus reveals the failure of faith-based abstinence programs. I thought this cartoon from Roger Judd was an appropriate follow-up. You can find more cartoon by Roger Judd in every issue of our free digital magazine, Catalyst...

Out of Context: Mark Regnerus

December 13, 2010 12:00 AM

"Our collective efforts to deter premarital sex are not that successful: 41 percent of churchgoing, conservative Protestant men's relationships become sexual within one month, barely lower than the national average of 48 percent. We expend so much energy to generate...

Url's Links of the Week (2010-12-10)

December 10, 2010 12:00 AM

Urbanitos, this is your jefe. Here are videos, articles, and blog posts you should be reading this week. Live largo and proselytize. Adios, Url Accountability stinks. New research from the Barna Group concludes that only 5 percent of Christians are...

My 30-Day Twitter Experiment (Pt 2)

December 3, 2010 12:00 AM

In Part 1 I shared my reasons for embarking on a one month Twitter experiment, as well as the parameters I set up for myself to help my stay on my goal of “tweeting for the sake of others.” In...

Url's Links of the Week

December 1, 2010 12:00 AM

Urbanities, this is your leader. Below are videos, articles, and blog posts you should be reading this week. Live long and proselytize. That is all, Url Should pastors give financial advice? Bishop J.D. Jakes and Dr. DeForest B. Soaries were...

My 30-Day Twitter Experiment (Pt 1)

November 29, 2010 12:00 AM

Last November I wrote a blog post titled “Why I Don’t Tweet … Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It.” The spark for the post came from a brief interaction with Ed Stetzer about Twitter. A prolific tweeterer (is that...

Megachurches Just Fine Amid Recession

November 22, 2010 12:00 AM

In case you needed more evidence that Americans love all things BIG, Leadership Network has released a new report: North American Megachurches Are Holding Steady During the “Great Recession” According to the study, megachurches are continuing to see attendance and...

Is there a NeoReformed/New Calvinist Movement or Not?

November 17, 2010 12:00 AM

New research released by the Barna Group indicates the Neo Reformed / New Calvinist movement may not be much of a movement after all. It turns out that the number of church leaders identifying themselves as Reformed has not changed...

Multi-Ethnic Church Conference: Recap & Reflections

November 12, 2010 12:00 AM

It is widely known that by 2048, if not sooner, non-Hispanic whites will no longer make up a majority of the U.S. population. Less clear is what these demographic shifts will mean for us who are living through these days...

Is New Calvinism Really New Fundamentalism?

November 10, 2010 12:00 AM

Fundamentalism is characterized by: A.) Insularity. There’s a mentality of insiders over against those who don’t believe. B.) Distrust towards culture as a place where God is at work. C.) An “us against them” mentality. Because of the previous two...

Multi-Ethnic Church Conference: Day One

November 4, 2010 12:00 AM

I spent Tuesday in a room in San Diego with 400 pastors, academics and ministry practitioners. There’s no shortage of Christian conferences these days, but there seems to be something exceptional represented by these folks. You might get a sense...

Political Code Language

November 1, 2010 12:00 AM

There is a sinister trend gaining momentum in the days leading up to the mid-term elections. It is not initially obvious to many of us, but it has significant implications for the American church. The code language associated with this...

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...

Catalyst Day Two: Spectacle and Restoration

October 8, 2010 1:35 PM

Day Two of Catalyst began with the statement: “It’s impossible to love people and avoid tension at the same time.” Then, after an amazing spectacle, an audience participation exercise in percussion (think Blue Man Group with 13,000 people beating out...

More Evidence of Religious and Biblical Illiteracy

September 29, 2010 12:00 AM

The results of a Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life survey have been widely reported this week. Pew asked 3,400 Americans 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity, and other world religions. The results were surprising. It turns out that...

Augustine on Celebrity Conversions

September 22, 2010 12:00 AM

One of the constant pleasures of studying Christian history is being reminded again and again that Qoheleth was right: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”...

Justice: Sep/Oct Issue of "Catalyst Leadership" is Live!

August 23, 2010 12:00 AM

The latest issue of our digital magazine, Catalyst Leadership, is now live. We going deeper into the controversy and questions surrounding justice and evangelism. It's a strong line-up of contributors from both Leadership journal and recent Catalyst conferences: Andy Stanley,...

Small Churches = Big Impact

August 9, 2010 1:01 AM

Brandon O'Brien, associate editor for Leadership Journal, has written a new book, The Strategically Small Church. In this work, he seeks to demonstrate how small churches are uniquely equipped for success in today's culture. Ed Stetzer interviewed O'Brien about his...

Pastors are Fatter, Sicker, & more Depressed

August 6, 2010 12:00 AM

The New York Times is reporting on new research that shows pastors appear to be struggling with health issues--both physical and psychological--more than other Americans. The article reports: "Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at...

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...

Out of Context: Mark Dever

July 15, 2010 12:00 AM

This excerpt is taken from "Always Personal, Never Private" in the Summer issue of Leadership. "We have a special responsibility to make sure our brothers and sisters in Christ are cared for. Beyond that it is appropriate to care for...

What Did You Say?

July 9, 2010 12:00 AM

The Portuguese issue of Playboy showing Jesus Christ among topless models. “We did not see or approve the cover and pictorial in the July issue of Playboy Portugal…. It is a shocking breach of our standards.” -Theresa Hennessy, Vice President...

Beyond Bono

July 8, 2010 12:00 AM

The summer issue of Leadership is about a week away from mailboxes. The theme is "Beyond Bono: Doing justice God's way is more than a fad." In the last few years, there has been a dramatic rise in pop-cultural engagement...

An Open Dialogue about THE NINES' Poll (Part 2)

June 30, 2010 12:00 AM

Earlier this week, Dave Travis from Leadership Network asked Skye Jethani a few questions regarding his objections to the Twitter poll they launched for THE NINES. In part 2, Travis answers questions about the same poll asked by Jethani. Skye:...

An Open Dialogue about THE NINES' Poll

June 28, 2010 12:00 AM

Skye Jethani, managing editor of Leadership Journal, and Dave Travis, managing director of Leadership Network, have been talking about the controversy surrounding THE NINES' poll. Jethani thinks it was a mistake--a poorly communicated idea that has deteriorated into a popularity...

The Kerfuffle about "The Nines"

June 25, 2010 12:00 AM

Yesterday, Skye Jethani wrote a post critical of how Leadership Network was driving publicity for THE NINES conference. The "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" poll raking Christian leaders struck him as distasteful and he asked his friends at Leadership Network...

Thumbs Down for "The Nines"

June 24, 2010 12:00 AM

In ancient Rome large audiences gathered in coliseums to be entertained by slaves and prisoners—including many Christians—fighting for their lives against wild beasts and one another. Their fate was often determined by the emperor who gauged the crowd’s pleasure or...

The Theology of Multi-Ethnic Church (Cont.)

June 22, 2010 12:00 AM

Read part 1 of the interview. How would describe some of the rewards of leading a multi-ethnic church to pastors who have spent their vocational lives within a homogeneous church? For eighteen years prior to planting Mosaic I served homogeneous...

The Theology of Multi-Ethnic Church

June 18, 2010 12:00 AM

Mark DeYmaz is the founding pastor of Mosiac Church of Central Arkansas, author of Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church and co-founder of the Mosaix Network. Mark’s recently published second book, Ethnic Blends, addresses some of the unique challenges faced by...

The Jumbo Jet Generation

June 1, 2010 12:00 AM

40 years ago the Boeing 747 entered commercial service on route between New York and London. While the spectators marveled at the technological achievement—no one had seen 700,000 pounds of aluminum fly before—no one in the crowd realized that they...

The Future of the Global Church

May 27, 2010 12:00 AM

On June 10, Leadership's managing editor Skye Jethani will be moderating a conversation at Saddleback Church on the future of the global church. The gathering is part of the 12 Cities | 12 Conversations tour in advance of the 3rd...

Small Churches are the Next Big Thing

May 26, 2010 12:00 AM

In a conversation last week about the virtues of small churches, a pastor friend of mine, Chuck Warnock, quoted a passage from John Zogby’s 2008 book The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream...

Will Preach for Food

May 21, 2010 12:00 AM

National unemployment hovers around 10 percent. There are a lot of hurting individuals and households in the country as a result, but few have reported on the impact on clergy. The Wall Street Journal has released an article on 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...

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...

A Church by Any Other Name ...

April 16, 2010 12:00 AM

Have you noticed that church names are getting increasingly strange? Our friend Dennis Baker has. He's been keeping a list of church names in order to document how far we've come from the days of "First Presbyterian" and "Springfield Baptist."...

Glenn Beck is Not the Enemy

April 5, 2010 12:00 AM

The email provided a helpful link and instructed me to “Tell Glenn Beck: I’m a social justice Christian.” The blunt Fox News pundit had recently outed “social justice” as code language for socialism. According to Beck, should you uncover this...

Why I Don't Tweet...

March 24, 2010 12:00 AM

Some months ago I sat down for breakfast with Ed Stetzer while we were both in Phoenix for a conference. Afterwards Ed “tweeted” about our meal together and commented that for some inexplicable reason “Skye isn’t on Twitter.” He gave...

To Tweet, or not to Tweet?

March 22, 2010 12:00 AM

I'm really excited to introduce you to a new Urthling. Jonathan Acuff is the author of the recent book from Zondervan, Stuff Christians Like and the founder of www.stuffchristianslike.net His humorous exploration of the church subculture is a perfect fit...

How Not to Talk about Justice

March 9, 2010 12:00 AM

Back in January I wrote a post on “The Battle Lines Over Justice.” As more evangelicals are rediscovering the sections of the Bible that highlight God’s compassion for the broken and abused in this world, there is a fearful response...

Mark Driscoll: Avatar "Most Satanic Movie I've Ever Seen"

March 1, 2010 1:00 PM

Move over Rob Bell--Mark Driscoll has a new nemesis: Avatar. The blockbuster movie has been condemned by the pugnacious preacher as "demonic paganism" for it's portrayal of a "false Jesus" and a "false heaven." Driscoll said, "That any Christian...

A Christian Sexual Alternative?

February 26, 2010 8:00 AM

The title caught my eye: “Reverend reconciles sex and religion.” Was another church challenging married couples to make time for sexual intimacy for seven days straight? A pastor making headlines for an edgy sermon about the goodness of sex? A...

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...

Ur Video: What is Absolutely True?

February 12, 2010 12:00 AM

In October 2010 the Lausanne Movement will convene the Third Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. In preparation for that gathering, Lausanne and Christianity Today are developing a "Global Conversation" around the issue to be discussed in...

Ed Stetzer on Pastors and Change

February 9, 2010 12:00 AM

Ed Stetzer recently presented data to the attendees of the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. Much of that data was shared in the Winter issue of Leadership journal. In this post, Ed Stetzer explores additional information that was, until now, only...

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...

What's Changing, What's Not

January 27, 2010 12:00 AM

Dave Travis, managing director of Leadership Network, offers his state of the church in America, based on recent research and his own observations looking through the "keyhole" of large churches. Things That Are Changing 1. Multi-site churches. According to the...

5 Things to Love About the Emerging Church

January 22, 2010 12:00 AM

With everyone writing obituaries for the Emerging Church movement, I feel the need to take a timeout to remember some positives about the movement. Although the Emerging Church has been mixed, and in many ways lost momentum and splintered, it...

The Battle Lines Over Justice

January 15, 2010 12:00 AM

As I write this, Christian relief agencies, denominations, churches, and parachurch ministries around the world are mobilizing to aid the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. But the call to alleviate suffering and rescue the oppressed is not only being...

Long Live Organic Church!

January 13, 2010 12:00 AM

The organic church has been a frequent topic of discussion on this blog. And Leadership journal has featured articles and interviews from Alan Hirsch, Neil Cole, and Frank Viola. Like us, Mark Galli has an appreciation for the efforts and...

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2009 12:00 AM

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Merry Christmas, from Url Scaramanga

December 24, 2009 12:00 AM

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Burger King Health Clinics and Christmas Humbug

December 21, 2009 12:00 AM

Today's newspaper contained some great news. Nearly $9 million of federal stimulus money is flowing to Portland in the form of a grant to open a health care clinic for the poor in the middle of downtown. And the best...

Ur Video: December Issue of Catalyst Leadership

December 15, 2009 12:00 AM

Catalyst Leadership is a free digital magazine produced by the editors of Leadership Journal and the organizers of the Catalyst Conference. Sign up for your subscription today....

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...

"Friend" Url on Facebook

December 8, 2009 12:00 AM

Friend me on Facebook and we'll be tight, chums, bosom buddies, cohorts, partners, sidekicks, comrades, cronies, pals, I'll be like a brother from another mother...virtually. (We are talking about online community). Check out my profile....

Ur Video: Joel Hunter on Social Justice

December 3, 2009 12:00 AM

Catalyst Voices - Dr. Joel Hunter, "Social Justice" from Catalyst on Vimeo....

Ur Video: NT Wright on Blogging

November 24, 2009 12:00 AM

NT Wright on Blogging/Social Media from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo....

Ed Stetzer Releases New Research on Pastors

October 9, 2009 1:50 PM

Ed Stetzer, president of Lifeway Research and adviser to www.BuildingChurchLeaders.com, released new research on pastors, which will be published soon in our sister publication, Leadership: Pastors still believe in the church Almost all pastors--88 percent--strongly agree that "If I had...

Blog ... The Devil Wants You To

October 7, 2009 1:30 PM

For one of the first Catalyst lab sessions, three of the top Christian bloggers took the stage to talk shop: Ann Jackson (www.FlowerDust.net), Carlos Whittaker (www.RagamuffinSoul.com), and Jon Acuff (www.StuffChristiansLike.net) So what wisdom did these titans of the blogosphere...

Reggie McNeal: 4-phrase definition of The Missional Church

October 7, 2009 12:28 PM

Reggie McNeal, missional specialist for Leadership Network, spoke about his new book, Missional Renaissance (Wiley):...

Is the Era of Age Segmentation Over?

September 23, 2009 12:00 AM

The statistics are grim. Rainer Research estimates that 70 percent of young people leave the church by age 22. Barna Group argues that the figure increases to 80 percent by age 30. The Southern Baptist Convention recently observed that growth...

Church Rater or Church Hater?

September 21, 2009 12:00 AM

I love rotten tomatoes. Not the produce—the website. RottenTomatoes.com is a movie ranking website that aggregates reviews from hundreds of journalists and movie reviewers, and then charts how “fresh” a film is based on the percentage of positive reviews. If...

And the Winners Are...

September 3, 2009 12:00 AM

Last month we invited Urbanites to answer this question: What is Consumer Christianity? Your response has been surprising and creative. Some submitted definitions, others sent in pictures that made us laugh and grieve. A few even composed songs and lyrics....

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...

Skye Jethani: Generation of Sarcasm

August 19, 2009 12:00 AM

A poll conducted by Time has revealed that The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is the most trusted news anchor in America. He beat Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson, and Katie Couric. Walter Cronkite, having just entered his grave, must already be...

Out of Context: Kara Powell

August 14, 2009 12:00 AM

From "Is the Era of Age Segregation Over?" an interview with Kara Powell in the current issue of Leadership. "[The church] realized in the 1940s that we were not offering teens enough focused attention. So what did we do? We...

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....

What is Consumer Christianity?

August 10, 2009 12:00 AM

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The Most Dangerous Place in America

July 24, 2009 8:21 AM

The situations in Iran and North Korea continue to concern us and our government, but where is the most dangerous place in America? New York City? Detroit? Baltimore? Chicago? Los Angeles? Large cities such as these have received a lot...

Miss California and the Politics of Sexual Redemption

July 20, 2009 12:00 AM

I know this is little late, but for me, nothing illustrates the current state of the church's witness in regard to sexual issues in America better than the Ms. California/USA pageant episode a couple months ago. It was an embarrassing...

Limited Too is Now Justice

July 2, 2009 12:00 AM

by Troy Jackson Recently I needed to repair my car and chose a mechanic across the street from Kenwood Towne Center near Cincinnati. Typically, when a mall is too proud to call itself a mall, the shops are upscale, and...

Gospel Coalition or Expedition?

June 30, 2009 8:36 AM

The Gospel Coalition (TGC) has been galvanizing many younger evangelicals to re-think their theology and practice. I applaud this new theological energy. But I wonder (given its moniker) whether TGC will be a force for coalition or expedition. "Coalition" describes...

Do It, Don't Blog It

June 22, 2009 3:48 PM

I was a guest speaker at a church, waiting for my time to go up to the platform. That's when I saw something curious. The staff person responsible for coordinating the worship service was busy typing away on her...

The Hansen Report: Community or Bust?

May 10, 2009 8:00 AM

The CNN headline echoed hopeful reflection I've been hearing in churches: "Shaky economy forces Americans to rediscover community." Optimistic Christians suppose the community they will rediscover is a local church that demonstrates how putting your faith in markets or government...

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...

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...

Skye Jethani: The Daisy Cutter Doctrine

April 16, 2009 12:00 AM

Today over twenty blogs are participating in a book tour for Skye Jethani's The Divine Commodity. The fact that Jethani is a card-carrying Urthling is why we felt the Ur audience should participate in the blog tour as well. Below...

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...

The Hansen Report: Suburban Church Slump?

March 6, 2009 10:23 AM

What if your city never recovers from the current economic crisis? What if your entire region enters an irreversible long-term decline? Richard Florida dares to declare the downturn's winners and losers in his March cover story for The Atlantic. In...

Ur Wisdom: Missional

March 2, 2009 12:00 AM

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The Facebook Fast

February 24, 2009 12:00 AM

Blogging. Facebook. Twitter. Those three things are practically my middle name. I've been called a "social media butterfly" over the last four years. The question of "Can community happen online?" which has been the topic of conversation on this blog...

The Hansen Report: Rural Exodus

February 3, 2009 8:20 AM

Time traveled to the frozen Midwest to report the obvious: Rural communities struggle to recruit trained pastors. The dateline could have read 1979 and the story would not have looked altogether different. The situation has certainly worsened in the last...

Audio Ur: Jon Trott on Community and Ministry

January 29, 2009 8:00 AM

On my bookshelf here at my Leadership office is a growing collection of books about intentional living--about new friars and new monastics and communes made up of multiple families under one roof. As with all such things, we wanted...

Welcome to a Third Culture World

January 23, 2009 12:00 AM

by Dave Gibbons It's just the beginning. With the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president we are seeing what many consider a dream fulfilled. Of course there are still conflicts, and there still is racism, prejudice, and stereotyping...

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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Biblical Literacy Reaches New Low

January 9, 2009 10:28 AM

by Brian Lowery Today, Friday, January 9, 2009 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America has officially become utterly and inexcusably biblically illiterate. Let me explain. Each Friday, over on the Preaching Today...

Video Ur: 2008 in Review

January 9, 2009 12:00 AM

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The Next BIG Things

January 1, 2009 12:00 AM

I've been giving a lot of thought to the state of the church as we enter a new year. In these uncertain times we naturally look to reliable and wise voices to guide us through the fog. And who is...

Merry Christmas, Urbanites.

December 24, 2008 12:00 AM

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A Win-Win on Same-Sex Marriage

December 12, 2008 12:00 AM

by Bob Hyatt An excerpt: ...the state needs to get out of the "marriage" business. It should recognize that as long as it uses that term and continues to privilege certain types of relationships over others this issue is going...

Megachurch Misinformation

December 4, 2008 12:00 AM

There are no studies that compare "seeker sensitive" megachurches to small "missional" churches, but I think Dan Kimball is right to question the self-described "missional" advocate who declares that "younger people in the city will not be drawn to larger,...

Happy Thanksgiving from Url

November 27, 2008 12:00 AM

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Tony Jones Blesses Gay Marriage & Ordination

November 26, 2008 12:00 AM

Tony Jones, the former national coordinator of Emergent Village and the author of The New Christians, has articulated his beliefs about homosexuality on his blog. Jones, along with other Emergent leaders, has been questioned for years about his views on...

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...

Urban Exile: Re-discovering Justice?

November 7, 2008 3:12 PM

We evangelical folk love conferences. We'll attend one across the country or host one in our spiffy new sanctuary--er, auditorium. Shoot, we'll even blog about a conference for those who couldn't make it. I've attended my fair share of these...

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....

Decision '08

October 17, 2008 9:14 AM

Election time again and, once more, we face a big decision. No, not the decision about our vote. That one is big, but this one is even bigger. It's the decision about our integrity. I watch in amazement as...

Out of Context: Andy Crouch

October 16, 2008 10:31 AM

The Fall 2008 issue of Leadership contains a new feature: The Golden Canon book award. One of our finalists was Andy Crouch's Culture Making: Recovering our creative calling (IVP), the much-praised contribution to the ongoing conversation about the relationship between...

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...

Live from Catalyst: Day 2 Color Commentary

October 9, 2008 11:18 AM

Skye is offering a terrific play by play. Let me offer a word of commentary on one entry he mentioned. One of the people I was most interested to meet at Catalyst was William Paul Young, the author of "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...

The Green-Letter Bible

September 24, 2008 10:12 AM

Late yesterday afternoon, I received a copy of The Green Bible (HarperOne), and I'm not sure what to make of it. The Bible is "green" in composition, which I appreciate. Its pages are made of 10 percent post-consumer recycled...

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 Hansen Report: Where Are You From?

September 4, 2008 12:02 PM

Where are you from? No, where are you from from? If you live in a suburban or urban area, you have probably asked and answered these questions countless times. The follow-up question is meant to uncover something about your conversation...

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...

Olympic Shifts

August 22, 2008 12:00 AM

Shifts happen all the time - shifts in economics, politics, theology, church, and culture. But we usually don't comprehend the full nature of the shift until much later. One subtle shift happened in Beijing last week. You may have missed...

Out of Context: Shane Claiborne

August 21, 2008 12:00 AM

"If there's anything I've learned from both conservatives and liberals, it's that you can have all the right political answers and still be mean. And nobody wants to listen to you if you're mean. One of the things we...

Out of Context: Mark Dever

July 31, 2008 12:00 AM

"Too many Christians today are trying to improve on the gospel. The gospel is what it is: the Cross of Christ. Christians on both the political right and the left are downplaying the effects of the Fall, and instead...

The First Church of Second Life

July 25, 2008 8:13 AM

There is another life beyond this one: a realm where one's role on earth is a distant memory, where inhabitants have new bodies and can fly anywhere they like. It sounds a bit like heaven. But it's not. It's...

New Christians VS. Vintage Jesus (Part 3)

July 18, 2008 12:00 AM

I want to thank Chad Hall for taking the time to read the book and giving me some helpful feedback in his review. I also appreciate the opportunity to respond and will seek to do so graciously. (Read Chad Hall's...

New Christians VS. Vintage Jesus (Part 2)

July 17, 2008 12:00 AM

As writer, I am always thankful for reviewers who are thoughtful and evenhanded. I'm afraid that Chad Hall is neither. (Read Chad Hall's review here.) Firstly, I clearly do not write that the emergent movement is the exclusive purveyor of...

New Christians VS. Vintage Jesus

July 15, 2008 12:00 AM

If you'd asked me two years ago if I was part of the emerging church movement, I would have thought for a second and said, "Yes." When asked today, I pause for half a second before saying, "No." The New...

Announcing the Ur Lexicontest!

July 1, 2008 12:00 AM

Regular readers of Out of Ur know that new words and phrases are often coined and disseminated on this blog. ("Church pirate" may be the most recent example thanks to Ed Young Jr.) We'd like to assemble an Out...

Cartoon: Church-A-Plex

June 30, 2008 12:00 AM

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Tuning Out Christian Radio

June 27, 2008 12:00 AM

It's official: I'm tuning out of Christian radio. When some of the Christian radio stations in my area shifted their play lists from Southern gospel, country Christian and syndicated preaching, I took notice. I was thrilled to have airwave access...

Audio Ur: Dan Kimball's Take on Being "Missional"

June 26, 2008 12:00 AM

A few weeks ago Skye Jethani had the opportunity to speak with Alan Hirsch about the definition of "missional." Hirsch expressed concern that the word was being redefined and its true meaning lost. This week Skye sat down with...

Out of Ur Repents?

June 25, 2008 12:00 AM

In October 2007, Out of Ur posted what has now become a much read and much quoted commentary that we titled "Willow Creek Repents?" It was based on comments that Bill Hybels and Greg Hawkins, Willow Creek's executive pastor, presented...

Taking The Shack to the Shed

June 16, 2008 4:33 PM

A graduate professor of mine liked to say that every attempt to explain the Trinity is heresy - every metaphor overemphasizes either God's one-ness or his three-ness. In his bestselling novel, The Shack, William P. Young tries to explain...

Fitch and Driscoll: Round Two

June 10, 2008 8:33 AM

In his first post, David Fitch argued that all converts are not necessarily the same in terms of time and context, and that emerging/emergent, neo-monastic communities, and megachurches each minister in different contexts and, in some cases, with different...

Audio Ur: Alan Hirsch Defines "Missional"

June 4, 2008 12:00 AM

The word "missional" is everywhere. But what does it mean? Is it another way of saying "seeker-focused" or "purpose-driven"? Not according to Alan Hirsch, author of The Forgotten Ways and The Shaping of Things to Come. In this edition...

Driscoll: Emerging Churches "Don't Have Converts"

June 3, 2008 12:00 AM

Last year at the Convergent Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mark Driscoll made the following remark: And all the nonsense of emerging, and Emergent, and new monastic communities, and, you know, all of these various kinds of ridiculous conversations--I'll...

Out of Context: Alan Hirsch

May 22, 2008 12:00 AM

"This divorce of APE (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist) from ST (Shepherd, Teacher) has been disastrous for the local church and has damaged the cause of Christ and his mission. In my opinion, this contraction of fivefold to twofold ministry is...

Audio Ur: From Top-Down to Team Leadership

May 21, 2008 12:00 AM

The theme for current issue of Leadership is "Teams," and that is the subject of our first Out of Ur podcast. Teams have always been a critical part of ministry going back to the 12 unlikely men Jesus assembled...

Church Celebrity Deathmatch

May 16, 2008 12:00 AM

I haven't seen MTV in years, with no regrets, but I recall a show on the network that impacted me like a train wreck. It was awful, gruesome, and terrible - but I couldn't look away. "Celebrity Deathmatch" featured clay-animated...

From Useful Idiots to Political Misfits

May 14, 2008 12:00 AM

What is an "evangelical"? According to almost 80 prominent pastors, theologians, and activists, the word "evangelical" has become "a term that, in recent years, has often been used politically, culturally, socially - and even as a marketing demographic." The group...

The Emerging Synagogue?

May 9, 2008 12:00 AM

While following a relatively uninteresting trail of research recently (which I won't retrace here), I happened upon Synagogue 3000 (S3K). This consortium of rabbis and other Jewish leaders is committed to offering "challenging and promising alternatives to traditional synagogue structures."...

Out of Context: Dave Terpstra

May 8, 2008 12:00 AM

"I think our generation is approaching ministry more as an art than a science. Since the Enlightenment, 'doing church' has been seen as a science, and it was seen as linear, organized, with clearcut leadership principles. Our generation doesn't see...

Monsters on the Loose 2

April 25, 2008 12:00 AM

Read part one of Craig Detweiler's post here. Monsters movies are a tired, moribund, nearly dead genre. Roland Emmerich's 1998 Godzilla remake was horrible - all the effects, none of the joy. It had a traditional scenario, established stars,...

Monsters on the Loose

April 22, 2008 12:00 AM

If you hate Cloverfield (or don't even know what it is), then you probably loathe emerging Christians. If you like Cloverfield, you're likely to dig the emergent conversation. Both deliver on their grand promises in a novel way (that...

You Might Be Emergent If...

April 21, 2008 12:00 AM

In the introduction of their new book whose title says it all - Why We're Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be (Moody, 2008) - authors Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck offer yet another attempt at defining "emergent...

T4G's 5,001 Theology Freaks

April 16, 2008 7:47 PM

I'm sitting at the airport in Louisville, Kentucky, heading back home after spending two days with 5,000 theology freaks, and I mean that in mostly a good way. Together for the Gospel ("T4G" to the initiated) is the second gathering...

Book Review: Jesus for President (Part 3)

April 15, 2008 12:00 AM

Let's make a couple of assumptions about a church leader who reads Jesus for President. First, he or she actually finishes the book despite the occasional punch in the gut. Second, that this same church leader agrees (on some...

Live from Shift: The Perfect Storm

April 10, 2008 10:21 AM

The second day of the conference began with Brian McLaren's breakout session, "Onramp to the Postmodern Conversation." This was designed to help newcomers to the issue understand the shift that is happening in the culture. He compared this change...

Coffee with a Cause

April 8, 2008 3:47 PM

I'm sitting at Ebenezer's - a coffee shop in Washington DC. That may not seem particularly remarkable, but this trendy meeting place represents the convergence of three social pillars - government, business, and church. Ebenezer's is owned and operated...

Book Review: Jesus for President (Part 2)

April 2, 2008 12:00 AM

A few months ago, while visiting a church out of state, I had a moment of crisis. Just before the sermon, the pastor stood to give the announcements. After wrapping up, he invited a young man in military uniform...

Book Review: Jesus for President (Part 1)

March 28, 2008 12:00 AM

We are seeing more and more that the church has fallen in love with the state and that this love affair is killing the church's imagination. The powerful benefits and temptations of running the world's largest superpower have bent...

Save the Planet, Save Your Soul

March 19, 2008 12:00 AM

In the early 1970s, conservative Protestants hit the streets to protest the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion. When they arrived with signs in hand, they discovered that Catholics had beaten them to the picket line. Since...

Let the Work Begin

March 4, 2008 11:59 AM

The pastors who attended last week's National Pastors Convention have now returned to their churches across North America. David Swanson presents his final reflections on the convention and the issues it brought to his attention. Now that the National...

Al Mohler is Too Cool for School

February 5, 2008 12:00 AM

Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, has a reputation for diving fearlessly into controversial issues. A visit to his Wikipedia page reveals his history of treading into cultural minefields and not leaving until...

The God Strategy

January 30, 2008 12:00 AM

With the presidential campaign in full swing, politics has been a more frequent issue on Out of Ur, but that does not fully account for our interest in the subject. This time around religion is playing a much more prominent...

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...

Missions and Masturbation

October 30, 2007 12:00 AM

There is no need to reiterate the statistics on sexual immorality among clergy. We all know them. And we also know that addiction to pornography is at epidemic levels even within the church. But do we know how many gifted...

The “We’re In, You’re Out” Mentality

September 28, 2007 12:00 AM

Friend of Ur, David Fitch, is back with a few thoughts about the deficiencies in evangelicalism and the emerging movement’s reaction. But he’s not exactly enamored with the emerging church solution either. Fitch is a pastor at Life on the...

What Pastors Get Paid

September 18, 2007 12:00 AM

Our annual compilation of ministry salaries is out, and this year's tally produced a few surprises: - If you want to make more money, switch denominations. - Female solo pastors make more. - The extra degree is worth the money....

Emerging + Missional = Emergissional

September 6, 2007 12:00 AM

Dan Kimball is a recognized authority on the emerging church. After all, he did write the book on the subject. At a recent conference we sat down to talk with Kimball about the future he sees for the emerging church,...

Evangelical Drop-Outs

August 9, 2007 12:00 AM

A new study reported by USAToday finds that a high percentage of young adults who attended church while in high school stop attending by age 23. The poll was conducted by LifeWay Research, an affiliate of the publishing arm of...

The Ever-Changing Message

August 2, 2007 12:00 AM

Our friends at FaithVisuals.com recently spoke with Shane Hipps, author of The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture. We posted part one of the discussion last month where Hipps uncovered the ways electronic media affect our messages, and how it can...

The Disappearing Middle

July 13, 2007 12:00 AM

Leaders should be concerned about the disappearing middle, according to Chad Hall. That bulge in the middle of a bell-shaped curve that represents the great mass of consumers and citizens and churchgoers and volunteers is getting squeezed. The result is...

Is Video Technology in Church Manipulative?

July 10, 2007 12:00 AM

As you read this post the summer issue of Leadership is arriving in mailboxes. The issue tackles the impact of living, and ministering, in an increasingly visual culture. Many churches are eager to employ video and other new digital tools,...

Out of Context: Shane Hipps

July 3, 2007 12:00 AM

"I believe certain technologies preclude incarnational ministry. And the reason I believe that is because God became embodied in Jesus. And embodiment means human physical touch; presence. And there are certain technologies that disembody us, like video." -Shane Hipps serves...

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...

Happy Shiny Pastors

May 23, 2007 12:00 AM

Last month the Chicago Tribune reported that pastors are the happiest people on earth - really. Research done by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center found that clergy ranked highest in job satisfaction and "general happiness." They even...

How Teenagers Transformed the Church (part 3)

May 22, 2007 12:00 AM

In this final installment of Angie Ward's report on the impact of youth ministry on the American church she talks more with Tic Long, Youth Specialties' president of events. Long shares his thoughts on the lasting impact youth ministry has...

How Teenagers Transformed the Church (Part 2)

May 18, 2007 12:00 AM

In part 2, Angie Ward continues her reflection on the emergence of youth ministry and its impact on the church. The first generation of youth ministers, she points out, grew up to lead the seeker-driven movement that has dominated evangelicalism...

How Teenagers Transformed the Church (Part 1)

May 14, 2007 12:00 AM

Seeker churches, emerging churches, ancient-future churches, mega-churches, house churches, Boomer churches, Gen-X churches. There is a debate occurring in American evangelicalism about the future of Christianity and what form the church should take within our culture. But is it possible...

Lights…Camera…MISSION!

May 1, 2007 12:00 AM

Films have been a popular subject on Out of Ur. That might seem odd for a blog devoted to issues facing church leaders. But in recent years films have become a testing ground for evangelical engagement with popular culture -...

Shepherds or CEOs?

April 26, 2007 12:00 AM

Recent excerpts we've posted from An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Baker, 2007), edited by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, have generated a lot of discussion. This final installment should keep the trend going. Sally Morgenthaler writes about our cultural shift...

Dancing with Consumerism

April 20, 2007 12:00 AM

Url: You moved from a career in advertising to pastor a Mennonite church. Is that reflective of a generation that's reacting against consumerism? Do you see a trend of younger people preferring smaller, less market driven, ministries? Hipps: We are...

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...

The Future of the Emerging Church

March 19, 2007 12:00 AM

Conversations about the future of the emerging church can be overheard at conferences, seminaries, chat rooms, or anywhere church leaders congregate. Does the movement have legs? Does it represent a passing trend or a new Reformation? Not long ago we...

We Aren't About Weekends

February 5, 2007 12:00 AM

One Sunday Pastor Bob Roberts asked everyone in the congregation at NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, to invert the collar of the person in front of them, find the label, and call out the nation where the shirt was made....

Forecasting the Future

February 2, 2007 12:00 AM

I have just finished reading James Martin's The Meaning of the 21st Century. And - in my opinion anyway - every person who seeks to influence others to the Christian way ought to be conversant with this book. Don't expect...

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...

Sundance Film Festival: Report 1

January 22, 2007 12:00 AM

For ten days each winter filmmakers and film-lovers descend upon Park City, Utah, for a movie-watching frenzy. The Sundance Film Festival has been taking place since 1978 and has evolved into one of the premier independent film festivals in the...

Missional Buzz

January 12, 2007 12:00 AM

The upcoming winter issue of Leadership will wrestle with the meaning of a very popular word - missional. Tim Conder, pastor of Emmaus Way in Durham, North Carolina, says, "So many fellowships that once boldly self-identified as cell churches, meta-churches,...

Have We Become Crypto-Christians?

January 5, 2007 12:00 AM

To my knowledge this blog hasn't tackled too many issues of church history, so this post may be more "Out of Place" than "Out of Ur." Still, I have found that the past often illuminates my understanding of my faith...

Book Review: Reimagining Evangelism

January 2, 2007 12:00 AM

Eight centuries ago St. Francis of Assisi famously told his followers to "Preach the gospel always. And use words if necessary." Like Francis, Rick Richardson's new book Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey (Intervarsity, 2006) challenges our...

The Top 10 Posts of 2006

December 29, 2006 12:00 AM

These ten blog posts were not chosen by Leadership's editors, but by the thousands of visitors to Out of Ur every month. Thanks for contributing to the conversation this year. In order of popularity, here's a look back at the...

Product Placement in the Pews—Part 2

December 22, 2006 12:00 AM

The Wharton School of Business has posted an article on their online journal, Knowledge@Wharton, about the growing trend of marketing products through churches. In part 2 of the article we hear from some critics of linking business practices and ministry...

Product Placement in the Pews

December 20, 2006 12:00 AM

A reoccurring issue on Out of Ur has been the effort of secular corporations to market to and through the church. But Leadership hasn't been the only one to notice the trend. The Wharton School of Business recently published an...

Missional Bricks and Mortar

December 5, 2006 12:00 AM

A few years ago churches that were serious about their work were "purpose-driven." Today those same churches might call themselves "missional." The upcoming winter issue of Leadership will ask what exactly it means to be missional. David Fitch is a...

Who Will Save Thanksgiving?

November 22, 2006 12:00 AM

Wal-Mart announced this week they will return the word "Christmas" to their seasonal greetings. Good move, especially given their faithful hick-hop constituency. No more generic salutations that so many of us carped about last year, when many merchants dropped Christ...

The Body Politic

November 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Last night I received an automated phone call warning that the Democrat running for Congress in my district wants to take my house and give it to illegal immigrants. I've received similarly ridiculous calls about the Republican candidate - apparently...

Out of Context: John Burke

October 25, 2006 12:00 AM

"I think we've focused some good attention on racism in the last 20 years, but I'm starting to wonder if 'ageism' is the next divide we will have to address." -John Burke is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Austin,...

Who’s More Spiritual: Emergent or Traditional Evangelicals?

October 22, 2006 9:32 PM

Okay, so no one's had the chutzpah to frame the question so baldly. But each group seems to assume the answer in its favor--at least, that's the impression you'd get from some emergent critiques of traditional evangelicals and from...

Cars, Cup Holders, & Complaining

October 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Chrysler has announced it will be showcasing their new cars and SUVs at mega-churches in a strategy to reach more African-American consumers. Chevy used a similar marketing ploy back in 2002 with their trucks. Remember "Chevrolet presents the Come Together...

Evangelical Immigration

October 16, 2006 12:00 AM

Regular Out of Ur contributor David Fitch is back to share his thoughts on church shopping, staying put, and ecumenism. And what's with all the evangelicals going high-church anyway? I'd like to say some things about the evangelicals going high...

Preventing the End of the World

October 10, 2006 12:00 AM

The world is shrinking. One can hardly go a day without hearing about events in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, or Israel. Recently leaders from around the world gathered in New York for President Clinton's Global Initiative Conference to discuss the...

Out of Context: Donald Miller

September 28, 2006 12:00 AM

"The church has bought into this idea that if we make Jesus look cool, we win. But we're really trying to make ourselves look cool, not Jesus. We certainly need to repent of that." -Donald Miller, author of Blue Like...

Pop Justice: Is social action the latest church trend?

September 25, 2006 12:00 AM

What do a pastor, a politician, and a pop star have in common? Until recently, not much. But Bono, lead singer of the band U2, has managed to unite these unlikely groups around the issue of social justice. As a...

Axis Denied (part 2): What should we learn from the demise of Willow’s Next-Gen ministry?

July 18, 2006 12:00 AM

In part one Dan Kimball, pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, discussed the inherent difficulties of the church-within-a-church model that has been popular with churches wanting to reach the next generation. In many cases the divergent values...

Axis Denied: What should we learn from the demise of Willow’s Next-Gen ministry?

July 13, 2006 12:00 AM

Ten years ago the leaders of Willow Creek Community Church realized that 18-30 year olds, popularly known as Gen X, were largely missing from their church. In response, the "seeker-driven" church launched Axis to help "the Next Gen connect with...

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,...

Protesting, Pirates, and Potter: our inconsistent outrage toward Hollywood

July 6, 2006 12:00 AM

The summer movie season continues. First Elizabeth Diffin confessed her affection for da Vinci. Then Skye Jethani thanked Hollywood for not marketing Superman to churches. And now Johnny Depp and crew blur the line between character and criminality. In this...

The Second Coming of Superman: Finally, a "Christian" movie not marketed to churches

June 19, 2006 12:00 AM

Thank you Hollywood. Thank you Warner Brothers. Thank you director Brian Singer. Thank you for leaving me and my church alone! Next week the highly anticipated film "Superman Returns" debuts in theaters. Early reviews are incredibly positive, and some are...

The Gospel According to Electronic Culture: What if the medium really is the message?

May 30, 2006 12:00 AM

Before entering ministry, Shane Hipps had a career in advertising developing multimillion dollar communication plans for brands like Porsche. It was during his time in advertising that Hipps gained expertise in understanding the power of media, technology, and culture. He...

Is Emergent the New Christian Left 2: Tony Jones takes on Chuck Colson and "true truth"

May 25, 2006 12:00 AM

In part 2 of his post, Tony Jones addresses emerging church critic extraordinaire Chuck Colson. Colson sees the Emergent conversation as a threat to traditional Christian understandings of the "truth." Jones responds by discussing the interdependence of truth and community...

Is Emergent the New Christian Left? Tony Jones responds to the critics

May 23, 2006 12:00 AM

In December, Brian McLaren was arrested along with 115 other activists while peacefully protesting the federal budget that he believes unfairly treats the poor. As one of the most visible participants in Emergent Village, McLaren's increasingly outspoken political views has...

Liking Da Vinci, Loving Jesus: confessions from a Christian fan of "The Code"

May 18, 2006 12:00 AM

Unless you've living in a cave in Tora Bora you know that The Da Vinci Code movie opens this week. Early reviews have not been kind, but that hasn't deflated Leadership editorial coordinator Elizabeth Diffin's excitement. Elizabeth believes enjoying Dan...

Donald Miller Isn’t Hip: a gospel for people tired of trying to be cool

May 15, 2006 12:00 AM

In recent posts we have debated the importance of "image" in advancing the ministry of the Gospel. Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and other books seeking to build a bridge between Christianity and those raised in a post-Christian...

Spencer Burke on the Church that Consumerism Built--and Why I Fled

May 3, 2006 11:38 AM

The upcoming issue of Leadership deals with "Consumerism and the Church It Creates." We asked Spencer Burke to write about his journey from being a megachurch pastor to spiritual guide of an online community (TheOOZE.com). Below is a brief excerpt....

Image Isn’t Everything 2: depth and transparency offer hope for GenX

April 30, 2006 12:00 AM

In part 1 of his post, Andy Rowell lamented the preoccupation his generation has for image management, and the way GenX church leaders have adopted this vice. In part 2 Andy offers a few antidotes to younger church leaders seeking...

Image Isn’t Everything: the uneasy conscience of a GenX pastor

April 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Not long ago I attended a young adult ministry conference. My wife commented that I looked out of place because none of my clothing was torn. I showed her the frayed cuffs of my pants to verify my young-church-leader credentials....

The Passion Reloaded: is the silver screen really an outreach silver bullet?

April 10, 2006 12:00 AM

Two years ago, Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, was marketed heavily to church leaders as "perhaps the best outreach opportunity in 2,000 years." Gibson stunned Hollywood naysayers by pocketing over $600 million as The Passion became the...

Mark Driscoll's Apology: Blogging means sometimes having to say "I'm sorry"

March 28, 2006 12:00 AM

In January, Out of Ur ran an editorial written by Brian McLaren on a pastoral response to homosexuality. Hundreds of readers posted comments either supporting or condemning McLaren's perspective. But none caused as much uproar as the rant written by...

Cutting the Cord: Are Megachurches Birthing the House Church Movement?

March 10, 2006 12:00 AM

In recent months the conversation on Out of Ur has explored why increasing numbers of Christians are opting to pursue Christ apart from a local church. The discussion began with Kevin Miller's review of George Barna's new book, Revolution. And,...

Tivo Tyranny and Preaching to Consumers

February 16, 2006 3:05 PM

I just read about the latest form of oppression: Tivo Tyranny. It's the burden of having recorded too many TV shows, and now finding there's no way you're going to be able to watch them all. Tivo has a feature...

Exit Stage Left 2: How the Spiritually Mature Reengage

February 8, 2006 12:00 AM

In his earlier post, Dave Terpstra described why the spiritually mature find most churches ill-equipped to assist them in their growth. This, he says, is why the more mature often leave the church or disengage from active service. After reading...

Exit Stage Left: Why the Spiritually Mature are Leaving the Church

February 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Last month we looked at George Barna's new book, Revolution, which reveals that a growing number of people are seeking spiritual growth outside the institutional church. In this post Dave Terpstra, pastor at The Next Level Church in Denver and...

Unbundling Christianity: An Attempt to Define the Emerging Church

January 18, 2006 12:00 AM

Since this blog launched last October one of the alluring conversations has been the nature and definition of the "emerging church." The debate started when James McDonald declared why he is not emerging, gained volume with my report on Brian...

George Barna's New Book 2: Defining the Debate

January 16, 2006 12:00 AM

In my earlier post, I explained the thesis of George Barna's latest book, Revolution. I think it important, however, to offer 2 corrections to my review: The review's subtitle, "George Barna wants commitment to the local congregation to sink lower...

George Barna's New Book: Revolutionary or Revolting?

January 11, 2006 12:00 AM

The blogosphere has offered plenty o' chatter on George Barna's latest book, Revolution. For favorable comment, read my occasional-email-pal Andrew Jones (full disclosure: the Tall Skinny Kiwi once named me "Best Emerging Critic Ever"). For unfavorable comment, read Sam Storms...

Closed for Christmas 3: Scot McKnight's Good Will Toward Megachurches

December 20, 2005 12:00 AM

Advent 2005, rather than a season of peace and good will, may be remembered as a month when cantankerous Christians did battle with the culture and one another. This was the year a Florida church spread Christmas spirit with a...

Closed for Christmas 2: The Megachurch Response

December 15, 2005 1:41 PM

By now it seems everyone has formed an opinion about the decision of megachurches throughout the country to not hold services on Sunday, December 25th. Some see it as proof that the American church has surrendered to consumerism. Others believe...

Closed for Christmas: The Ghost of Christmas Past

December 9, 2005 12:04 AM

The media frenzy over the decision of megachurches throughout the country to close their doors on Christmas day doesn't seem to be dying down, and numerous articles are framing the action as unprecedented. But is that accurate? Although likely unaware...

Marketing Narnia 2: Is That a Mouse in Your Pulpit?

December 6, 2005 2:46 PM

Just when I thought commercialism in the church couldn't get any worse I read this from the Philadelphia Inquirer: Attention, pastors: You have just four weeks remaining to work a lion, a witch or a wardrobe into your next sermon....

Marketing Narnia: Is the Church Being Used?

November 3, 2005 5:07 PM

The following is by Abram Book, Leadership editorial resident, who reported the nationwide Narnia promotion campaign that rolled out last month in Wheaton, Illinois, now the home of C.S. Lewis's wardrobe. OK, one of several such wardrobes. This one has...

How Emergent Are You? McLaren's Seven Layers of the Emergent Conversation

October 28, 2005 12:00 AM

Islam has its five pillars. Buddhism has its eight-fold path. Evangelicalism has its four spiritual laws. And now the Emerging Church has its seven layers of conversation. Last month I was part of a small gathering of church leaders that...

Why James MacDonald Is Not Emerging (Part 2)

October 24, 2005 6:50 PM

(Here is the remainder of James MacDonald's commentary on emerging culture. MacDonald is pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and its several satellite locations. He is also the featured preacher on the radio program Walk in the...

Flowbee, Jesus, and Me: A Catalyst Echo

October 21, 2005 12:19 PM

My hair stylist cancelled my appointment yesterday because of a schedule conflict, and for a few minutes afterward I searched the Internet for the Flowbee, the vacuum-attachment haircutting system that lets you give yourself a buzz cut. (I really, really...

Why James MacDonald Is Not Emerging (Part 1)

October 17, 2005 11:18 AM

(James MacDonald is pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and its several satellite campuses. His preaching is featured on the radio program Walk in the Word. His is another perspective in the postmodern, emergent church dialogue.) Let...

Introducing Url and the Urthlings

October 1, 2005 12:00 AM

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