I was grateful for the lively exchange that took place last week around a new series I launched on this blog called “The Jesus Movement’s Unintended Consequences”. (Click here to read the first two posts in the series.) We’re four decades out from that time of change and renewal in the church. Time passed allows us a bit of perspective, and I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation in the weeks to come.

Before I move on to another topic in the series, I want to share part of an email I received last week from Dr. Chuck Fromm. Fromm ran Maranatha! Music from 1975-1999. He launched Worship Leader magazine in 1990, and continues at the helm of the publication. He has a Ph.D. from Fuller Seminary, and lectures in the areas of communications and worship. He is a husband, father and grandfather.

Dr. Fromm grew up at the center of the Jesus Movement. His uncle was the late Chuck Smith, the influential leader of the Calvary Chapel movement. Maranatha! Music started as a way to capture the sounds of Jesus Movement worship and outreach. [Read more]


The Jewish feast cycle and the Christian calendar each offer holidays that are meant to serve as an on-ramp into the intersection of time and eternity. These days of yes point us beyond our own everyday agendas and connect us with our place in a bigger, more beautiful story. If you attend a non-denominational congregation, your church may focus primarily on Christmas and Easter along with non-holiday holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Church Picnic Day. If you attend a liturgical congregation, you’re likely familiar with the rhythms of the Church calendar, which recounts the story of Jesus’s life through a yearly cycle of observance. If you have a Jewish background or attend a Messianic congregation, you recognize the distinct cadence of the Leviticus 23 feast cycle and historical holidays of the Jewish calendar. For each one of us who loves the Scriptures and wants to get to know the Author of those Scriptures better, each holiday in the Jewish calendar and the traditional Christian calendar is an opportunity to learn – and then take that learning off the page/screen and consider how to include it in your own practice. Throughout the year, this blog will feature a 5-minute intro to each main holiday or season found in both calendars.  
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I am continuing my series on these calendar days today by looking at the first movement of the Christian calendar year – Advent. I’ll offer a bit of historical background along with some helpful resources in the “5 W’s and an H” Q & A resource I’m creating on this blog for each holiday or season in both calendars.
Advent is the beginning of the Christian worship year for the Western Church. The Western Church includes the Roman Catholic Church and almost all Protestant congregations. The Eastern (Orthodox) church observes a time of preparation leading up to Christmas that has some kinship to Western Advent. Western Christians, which includes the majority of believers in the U.S., observe Advent as a beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas. [Read more]

Pope Francis stated we may already be in a “piecemeal World War III” after last Friday’s synchronized attacks in Paris. Certainly, ISIS and its spiritual confederates have declared war on all infidels in their sights – their own neighbors, both Muslim and not, as well as the the entire West. One commentator after another has emphasized that there’s no foolproof way to prevent these attacks – not when a person is willing to strap on a suicide vest for the Cause.

As initial shock and awe over last week’s barbaric and soulless killing spree melts into fear and anger, we want to do something to make it stop. Bomb the snot out of ISIS strongholds. Get some boots on the ground. Refuse entry to all Syrian refugees until our government can offer an iron-clad guarantee that no ISIS operatives are in the bunch. Or do the opposite, and welcome most all, because the nice verdigris lady standing in New York Harbor repeats Emma Lazarus’s words to those seeking refuge from around the world: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I don’t have a ready answer. [Read more]



We’re a generation removed from the Jesus Movement of the late 1960′s and the Rapture still Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.20.11 PMhasn’t happened despite astonishing certainty about when we could expect it on the part of some of the most influential voices of the era. Hal Lindsey had the timetable of the Lord’s return all figured out in his influential 1970 book,The Late Great Planet Earth and Earnest Angley’s 1950 tome, Raptured, was the Left Behind of the day. Angley’s book, which a friend and I took to calling “Raptured, raptured, raptured, raptured” because of the groovy lettering on the early 1970′s cover, was even more terrifying to me than Lindsey’s book when I was a teen. Christian rocker Larry Norman’s rapture-ready classic I Wish We’d All Been Ready was the only logical response to terrors of the kind of AntiChrist-ruled world Angley described.

The Rapture, the teaching that God will suddenly call all true believers to leave this decaying planet in the twinkling of an eye and join him in heaven, certainly wasn’t a new idea at that time, thanks to the theological stylings of John Nelson Darby and his disciple, C.I. Scofield, who codified Darby’s ideas about the end times into a very popular Bible version that shaped the theological understanding of generations of fundamentalist and conservative Evangelical Christians. [Read more]


When a renewal movement hits the church, things are bound to get messy. Some of the mess is the work of the Holy Spirit as he reanimates dry bones. Some of the mess comes when a bunch of broken human beings try to touch, help, hinder, or profit from the beautiful chaos. We’re a generation removed from the Jesus Movement of the late 1960′s. Poll after poll tells us that Evangelicalism, the primary beneficiary of this Movement, is having an identity crisis. Our children aren’t sticking around in our churches – and neither are many of us. We are known in caricature for our culture warring and mean-girl ways. Jesus is our brand, not our Lord. (Certainly not all of us fall into this category, of course. I’ve known lots of generous, forgiving, faithful Evangelical saints who reflect the love of Jesus through their words and works.)

The Church is in a state of transition in the West, though in the global South and East, she is growing like fruit-bearing kudzu. This transition here is an opportunity for a bit of spiritual housecleaning in the wake of the hippie-flavored chaos of a generation ago. Part of that housecleaning might perhaps create some space for reflection on the unintended consequences of some of our choices and desires. We reap what we sow.

To that end, I’m launching an occasional series in this space called The Jesus Movement’s Unintended Consequences. While some of these topics have been the subject of books and studies, I’m simply lobbing a few observations out there for all of us to consider as we grapple with where we’ve been so we can see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly….

(If you lived through the `70′s or like Broadway musicals, you know the next words in this sentence. For the rest of you reading this, the next words are “day by day“. Tambourine optional.) [Read more]