Smartphones, Smart Pastor, Smart Church

Next time you see a group of young adults dining together at a restaurant, take a closer look at the table. Nine times out of ten, you’ll be able to glimpse at least one cell phone resting on the tablecloth or, just as likely, in someone’s hand. In many cases, multiple phones will dot the table as if they were part of the place settings. One might deduce that young people today have a medical condition causing indigestion unless they eat with their phones near at hand. Come to think of it, that’s dangerously close to the truth.

The dining scene hints at the fact that many youth and young adults today have a relationship with technology and social media that is core to their formation….

Here’s a list of five common phenomena among young people, and how the church might incorporate them into its worship, preaching, and communal life:

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Adam, Have Your Say: My Brush with the BBC

Blogging has opened many doors for me over the years. That’s not the reason I blog (see “Why I Blog”), but it’s a fun perk. Last week brought a special highlight. I received an email from a reporter at the BBC radio show, “World Have Your Say.” In light of Christopher Hitchens’ death, they were […]

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Bookstore Confession

I bought a book, then 5 minutes later found an identical cheaper one online using my smartphone, so I returned it. Was this wrong? I recently found myself at Barnes and Noble with quite the conundrum. The parking lot was crazy busy. The Nook booths up front were heaving with rabid present-seekers. The coffee shop […]

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Responding to Weiner’s “Americans: Undecided About God?

A pastor friend wrote me this weekend wondering my take on Eric Weiner’s recent NY Times Sunday Review Opinion piece. My friend wrote, “[Weiner] seeks a new, entrepreneurial religion, one that allows doubt and skepticism (yes please) but one, it seems that we control, create and manipulate (no thanks).” Read Wiener’s piece for yourself: “Americans: Undecided About […]

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Don’t take “Christ” out of Christmas, but get the tree out of the church

Christmas trees, in the current-day United States at least, do not have a clear connection to the Christian faith. So why put them in the sanctuary with the other symbols?

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Two Bits on American Exceptionalism

As I got a haircut this week, my stylist asked, “So, would you want to live abroad for a few years?” We had a lovely, fairly nuanced chat ranging into aspects of American exceptionalism. I love discussions of American exceptionalism because, if they are managed well, they get into some tricky issues rather quickly (much […]

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Beyond Mashed Potatoes: Giving Thanks Together

This week at Theology Pub we discussed Thanksgiving from various angles. I found it an interesting topic because giving thanks — and gratitude in general — is certainly not unique to people of faith. Apparently, the religious origins of the first Thanksgiving(s) are debatable, but in later years Thanksgiving certainly took a more religious tint. […]

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Review: Metaxas’ “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy”

I read many books, but seldom biography. Perhaps that’s due to negative experiences with book report assignments growing up. Who knows? Upon a social media acquaintance’s recommendation, however, I picked up a Kindle copy of Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Quickly, I found myself looking forward to evenings in […]

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What? You don’t have a TV! (part 3)

[For previous installments of this series, see Part 1, and Part 2] The amount of time Americans spend watching TV has gone up in recent years. Studies differ, but it’s usually estimated we watch on average nearly three hours of TV a day. Since I don’t have a TV, what do I do with my time? […]

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