I’ve moved!!! Please check me out at Patheos

Dear friends, my blog “Mercy Not Sacrifice” is now hosted at Patheos. Come on over!

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Fasting, my iPhone, and praying Hebrew

I’ve contributed a guest post today at Suzannah Hartzell Paul’s blog about my strange spiritual practices. Why do I carry my iPhone around with me on my Monday sabbaths? Because it has my Hebrew lexicon and for some reason prayer works better for me in Hebrew than it does in English. Check out the post for more on how this strange phenomenon developed.

When friends are delivered from sin into fundamentalism

I’m hoping to write this in a vague enough way so as not to call out anyone specifically, but several people I care about have been delivered from sin into fundamentalism. It seems like certain types of sin, addictions like pornography and alcoholism, lend themselves to fundamentalist recoveries. Sometimes I wonder if the God whom I have experienced and gotten to know would be enough of a hardass to rescue me from a serious addiction if I ever fell into one. Can God be a hardass to some people and not to others according to what we need in our discipleship journey?

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The film Elysium and the conquest of Canaan

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After reading a blog post by my brother Micah Murray, I decided to check out the film Elysium. It’s a very uncomfortable movie, and every American should see it. It’s helped me to understand the troubling Biblical book of Joshua, because Elysium is Canaan and America is Jericho. Under the ideology of manifest destiny, the American colonists illegitimately identified themselves with the Israelites taking over Canaan, but we are nothing like the runaway Egyptian slaves who illegally migrated across the Red Sea and Jordan River to take over the wealthy trading posts and ports of Canaan in the perfectly geographically strategic isthmus of three continents. Continue reading

25 other blogs you need to check out and vote up!!!

It’s a total fluke that I’m at #6 on a top Christian blogs list. I kind of feel like that couple that gate-crashed the White House party in 2009. Of course my “success” is probably only due to the fact that I’m loser enough to take something like this seriously and rally the troops. Anyway, because I don’t deserve to be there, I thought the least I could do is give some shout-outs to 25 other bloggers who deserve it a lot more than I do so that you can check out their blogs and vote them up to the top. I know I missed some awesome people, so if I missed yours, then please forgive me and give yourself a shout-out in the comment section! Continue reading

Vote for my blog please!!!

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I imagine that I’ll draw some more trolls who are “concerned” about my lust for fame and glory with this post, but don’t waste your time because I’m moderating my comments now. As some of you know, I got nominated for a top 25 Christian blog list. Because of my amazing readers and friends, I’m currently doing way better than I should be (#11 out of 300+ in the mix), but the big-dog bloggers have fired up their reader bases and are starting to leapfrog me. Whether you believe this or not, I don’t need praise or glory. God has actually used this blog to minister to people, and so part of my faithfulness to the work God is using this blog to do involves tactics like this that build my readership. So if you like what’s here and you haven’t voted, click the link above to do that. You can log in through facebook or twitter or you create a listly profile if you don’t do social media (just use a junk email address, Mom!!!).

It just doesn’t work: concern trolling and public shaming

2879775-internet_trollI got concern-trolled on my Jesus juke blog post yesterday by an anonymous commenter who called him/herself a “concerned parishioner.” I think the intent was to make me think it was someone from my church, but people from my church know that I solicit and actually treasure their constructive criticism. I can sometimes be a pretty sarcastic, cynical person, but this person’s sarcasm was dripping like a Niagara Falls of vinegar. And what made me sad was to think of how ineffective this “concerned” parishioner’s communication was and how foolish I must have looked when I have been crazed in a similar way at what I perceived to be the astounding arrogance of other people (whose hearts I did not know).

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