new to you friday–my name is jen and…..

A few weeks ago, Christian Standard published an article by Brian Jones on “why churches should euthanize small groups.” It caused a bit of kerfluffle (75 comments and counting–check it out here) and is interesting since Brian is speaking at the Small Groups Ministry Conference at CCU in April.

But irony is fun, and I resonated with many of Brian’s thoughts. Small groups have never done it for me, but a 12-step group might. As I noted in the original post, the radical honesty and equally-radical acceptance demonstrated in many of these groups is crucial to overcoming addictions—and it should be more a part of …


more at stake

There is a perception out there that the Christian Standard avoids the hard issues or publishes a “party line” of predictable opinions. As one leader said, “It is narrowly focused in the ghetto of the Restoration Movement.”

I find this ironic because I also read the many letters and website comments that roll into the CS offices criticizing the topics the editors choose to cover or the positions they take.

Here’s a sampling just from current stuff:

“Anyone who would shun small groups, I believe, is of a legalistic nature and is looking for attention” (in response to Brian …


happy blogiversery

Today marks three years for this blog! (And tomorrow involves a birthday with more threes…….heaven help us.) Here’s a look back…..

Ten of the posts I like best, for one reason or another:

Do we really want a country of McChurches?

The story is bigger than our short-term happiness.

Can Christians drink?

A Holiday Tip.

“Leadership” means dealing with reality—including conflict.

eHarmony: I’m not a fan.

If you must read “The Shack“……

On preaching politics from the pulpit….

Why I’d rather work for men.

An open letter to Tim Keller.

Ten of the posts that received the most feedback, on or off-line:

Apparently …


all wet

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to download Christian Standard‘s new compilation of articles on baptism. The 14-page resource offers perspectives on this important and sometimes controversial issue from seven authors including Paul Williams, Bruce Shields, and Jon Weatherly. Since these articles all come from current issues of Christian Standard, you can also access them online. But this download offers them as a really attractive, concise package for study and for sharing with others—and at $2.99, it’s a steal.

I love anything Brian Jones writes and his article “What Happened When I Preached on Baptism?” is one of my favorites in the pack. He shares …


I am back from vacation and thoroughly exhausted.

So today will include no profound thoughts, BUT courtesy of my friend and fellow blogger Jan comes this test to determine the film rating of your blog or website. The site determines your score by scanning the content for certain words and counting how often they’re used.

As expected, I am less pious than Arron; his blog is rated G while mine is PG. And Brian’s “speaking out of turn” nets him a PG-13.

In other interesting test results, I am 58% addicted to blogging, my cadaver would be worth $4775, and I passed the celebrity photo quiz with a 75.

I …


Glamour “shots”

Of all the reactions I expected when I began this blog, the one I wasn’t prepared for was criticism of my photo. A couple of readers, all of them friends and all of them, I’m sure, with my best interests at heart, emailed to ask why I picked that picture and didn’t I have a better one? Truth is, the photo came from the point and click camera on my cell phone and it was kind of an afterthought. That’s not false modesty—if I had a magazine-cover-caliber picture you can bet I would have used it. But we needed one ASAP and this generally looks like me so up it …


Today’s edition of the Christian Standard enewsletter included a short quote from Brian Jones’ book Second Guessing God. “Nothing ever happens to us that doesn’t ultimately accomplish God’s goals for our lives,” he writes. “God’s providence means he is always working behind the scenes, outside of our view, to provide us with something, even when we don’t understand what’s happening at the time.”

I live most of my life in that space—not understanding what’s happening at the time. Occasionally God allows me to look back and see the way he orchestrated situations and answered prayers to bring me good. More often, he does not, and I must simply trust …