What if the Temptation to Be Impressive is Keeping Us From Connecting?
Donald Miller
By Donald Miller

A novelist I respect named James Scott Bell gave some writing advice I think applies to more than just fiction. In his book Conflict and Suspense he says, “Perfect people are not interesting to us. We need to see flaws in the characters as well as strengths.”

He’s talking about building conflict into a story, of course, but I think there’s something true about this idea in life, too.

In the past I’ve had friends who’ve […]

A Guide to Adequately Address Sin and Suffering
Becca Stevens
By Becca Stevens

The theological notions of sin and redemption contain a heaviness that stems from the fact that they are mostly used to point out the faults in others, rather than to free us from the traps that prevent us from loving God. In the Gospel of John, when Jesus leaves the synagogue after arguing about right beliefs and old customs, he encounters a blind man who is begging. In this narrative Jesus preaches a radical way to approach sin and redemption in our life of faith. It’s an approach that offers a deeper way of understanding the terms. Instead of being heavy, it lifts our hearts and minds with the lightness of grace. When the disciples of Jesus see the blind man, they ask, “Who sinned, this man or his parents…?” The implication in the question is that if the blind man is a sinner, we don’t have to respond, because the man’s blindness itself is a sign of divine punishment for sin. The only pertinent question for them is “Who is to blame?” […]

Saying “No” to Girls Gone Wild
Shauna Niequist
By Shauna Niequist

My best friend Annette and I laid on our towels until we realized that someone was standing in our sun. We squinted up at a big man with a big camera wearing a Girls Gone Wild hat.

He told us that if we went out in the water and kissed and took off our bikini tops, he’d give us each a hat. We stared up at him. Where to start, really? […]