When I recently wrote an article on Boundless about healing from the trauma of sexual abuse, I expected a reaction on social media. What surprised me were the private messages from adults who, for years, had dark memories of sexual abuse locked inside.
I’ve been leading worship at my church since 2007, and let me tell you something: I’m still not quite used to it.
Reality star Josh Duggar is at the center of a scandal this week after a tabloid uncovered the fact that he sexually assaulted five girls when he was 14 (some of the girls were his sisters). No doubt, this has been the hardest week of Josh Duggar’s life, but I can’t imagine how much harder it has been for his victims.
At some point in my mid-twenties, I got disenchanted with the predictable Easter Sunday ritual. It just didn’t make sense to me: one Sunday, things were relatively normal; the next Sunday, the crowd doubled in size, we focused on the resurrection of Jesus, everyone was dressed in pastel-colored outfits, and afterward, we did an Easter egg hunt. I’m not trying to be offensive, but I just felt like it was a cultural ritual that had lost its original focus (at least it had for me).
The other night, I thought I heard something break upstairs in the girls’ bathroom, but I decided to keep a low profile until there were further developments. I figured that one of the girls would let me know if I was needed for a cleanup. Then I heard something at the top of the stairs. It sounded two little steps.
When I started going to my church in May of 2005, we had about 75 people regularly attending, and almost all of them were single. These days, our church is much larger, thanks in part to the folks who are now married and have kids – lots of them.
Last night, I was having a conversation with my neighbor, and all of a sudden, I panicked. I couldn’t understand him, and I didn’t have the guts to tell him that he wasn’t making any sense. I politely smiled and pretended I was following him, but I was lost and wanted to wrap up things without me looking stupid. The problem was, we were speaking Spanish; and he didn’t realize it, but he was talking over my head.
I vividly remember the last church service I attended before I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I was sitting with a couple thousand strangers in a megachurch when the thought crossed my mind: Why am I here? I could watch this on the internet. And after the service ended, I walked into the church’s multi-acre parking lot and drove away, never to return to church services again (or so I thought).
I’ll shoot straight with you: I really struggle with a lot of Christian movies, music and TV shows that try to teach biblical truths. A lot of it is so heavy-handed that it only appeals to evangelical audiences looking for an altar call at the end, or it’s so seeker-friendly that it’s not much deeper than the theology you might find in a movie on the Hallmark Channel.
Nabeel Qureshi was raised in a Pakistani-American family and grew up a devout Muslim. While he was in medical school, he read the Bible for research in his debate against a Christian friend, and this began a journey that eventually led to his becoming a Christian. He shared his conversion story in his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and he also works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries telling his story and providing encouragement to those who seek to share their faith with a changing world.
This past weekend, my wife had to be away for two days, which meant I was in charge of managing Daddy Daycare for a three and four-year-old. I figured that two days might be a challenge, but I was up for it. I was not.
A few years ago, I had a Mormon friend who invited me to attend a service at his church (also known as a “ward”). I had visited a Mormon church service in high school, so I knew what to expect — or so I thought.
Dear Elderly Christian, I know you don’t like being called elderly, so let’s start with me begging your pardon for not coming up with a better word to describe your current phase of life (it’s better than “old,” right?). Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I need to ask you a favor: please get off the sidelines and get back into the game.
In 2007, my fiancé and I almost left the church I had been a part of for two years. I was happy there, but we had just gotten engaged, and we figured we might be better off if we just started over at a new church. In retrospect, we weren’t very thoughtful about the whole thing at all – actually, we were pretty much just feeling our way through the decision, which is what I think a lot of people do when they leave churches, and naturally so. Emotions are oftentimes the clearest things in our minds when we’re making these decisions.
On Sunday, I was taking my daughters downstairs to their Sunday School class when I passed a couple of women on their way up to the sanctuary. One of the two women was looking down; the other was holding her arm and whispering into her ear. It seemed odd to me, but I was most concerned that the visitors feel comfortable; and I just assumed that the woman looking down had a disability or something. She didn’t.