Responding to the US Supreme Court Decision Legalizing Homosexual Marriage

On such a crucial day in our nation’s history, and however that plays into world history, I felt led to log my thoughts on my response to the US Supreme Court’s decision today to legalize homosexual marriage in all fifty states. This post serves, if nothing more, than for my children to read in the future when they’re old enough. If you’ve stumbled upon this post as an evangelical reader, I hope it brings you stability in what I perceive for many of the Christian faith (though not all) to be a turbulent time; and if you’re someone who endorses gay marriage, perhaps my words will help you at least understand the position of the many Christians that you can’t quite figure out, regardless of how vehemently you disagree.

From the beginning, let me make my position clear, so you can hold my later statements against an overarching view. I do believe homosexuality in lust, in commitment, and in or not in any form of union, recognized or not, is sin and breaches God’s intention in building human kind after his own image. This has been the opinion of the church for many centuries, and it will most likely remain so for many more; I fully concede that it and I may be considered antiquated both now or in times to come. I’m at peace with that. I will elaborate below on some areas where, however, I believe this position alone is inadequate, and where the Church must embrace the nuance of fallen man into her observations if we are to love compassionately.

My doctrine of sin also informs me that all sin is bad, and more than being punished for our sins—a much debated point over the ages—we’re punished by our sins, explicitly, to death should they have their way, because they’re that destructive. Therefore, whatever grace I extend to my own immorality is the same I expect toward other’s. The question for any struggling creature made after God’s image is a simple one: are you walking in sobriety with regard to your lusts? My objective is not to appease them, but to appease him, and bring myself into submission to his design, regardless of my own desires. Jesus as King trumps me as lord of myself if, in fact, I’m submitting to him.

I am required Scripturally to treat all sinners the same, myself chief among them. This means that I guard my language, extend true love, and exercise supreme acceptance wherever and however I have occasion to, in all circumstances. Anything less is anti-Christ in nature, for if he wanted to distance himself from any single sinner, he’d have to have distanced himself from all of us, and should have never arrived on the planet in the first place. If Christians arrive at a place of suddenly loving gay people, this is not a change in theology, it’s abandonment of bigotry. Because if you’re treating a homosexual different than you’re treating a liar, a glutton, a gossiper (this one’s worth repeating), a gossiper, a pedophile, a thief, a cheat, a pornographer, a proud person, an adulterer, or a drunk, then you’re failing at the greatest and only command after loving God—loving your neighbor as yourself. Isn’t it interesting that we have plenty of grace for a pastor struggling with obesity, but we don’t have for one struggling with attraction to the same sex?

As mentioned previously, I’d like to add that I do believe the Church, at present, does lack many good answers in our classic approach to the issue of homosexuality and gender orientation. I don’t believe we have good answers for people in our churches (should they ever feel our churches are safe enough to let their guard down) who have XYY and XXY chromosome composition (the later often referred to as Klinefelter syndrome), nor do we have good answers for people who are born as hermaphrodites (yes, they exist), or ambiguous genitalia. Again, such sensitive circumstances are more common than we might think (statistically speaking, there are ten in my own church—I just have no idea who they are). As a Christian, a pastor, and a human, I should have answers for them, I just don’t at the moment. Perhaps future generations will make progress in this area. I can only pray.

With regard to the Supreme Court’s ruling, there are a number of things we must consider.

First, I have never believed that my government is the kingdom, nor God’s kingdom our government. Yes, the United States and our invented, flawed Constitution may be the best thing going on the planet, and I tend to believe it is, offering the most amount of freedom to the most amount of people—but it’s not divine. Not even close. Only King Jesus is divine, and his kingdom.

This means that it is illegal for me to expect a human system to conform to a kingdom model when only the kingdom can be the kingdom. In other words, God’s kingdom will never be anything else, and man’s governments will never be anything else. And if you’re wondering about Revelation 11:15 (NLT), “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever,” recognize that it all belongs to him, even the broken things, like the United States of America. No where is my government called to reflect Christ, that’s the Church’s responsibility. If the government happens to at times, wonderful; what is it to me? Worldly systems do not change my divine mandate as a representative of the divine.

With my doctrine on sin as it is, my government has already missed several sin-oriented policies which, according to what those on the evangelical extremes are saying about “judgement” and “losing our blessing,” we should have already seen California break off from the continent long ago. What are they, you might ask?

Do we ban drunkenness? Cause that’s a sin. Sure, we have rules against drinking and driving, disorderly conduct. But drunks are allowed to be drunks. And it’s anti-Biblical.

Do we ban lying? Cause that’s a sin. Sure, you can’t lie under oath, you can’t lie on your taxes, and you can’t dish information if you’ve been ordered not to by a court of law. But liars are allowed to lie.

Do we ban overeating? Despite some attempts to tax certain foods or penalize obese people (a problem almost entirely relegated to the US), it’s not against the law to be fat. Gluttons are allowed to glut.

Do we ban gossipers? No, though I wish we would. More damage has been done in the church world by this singular issue than any homosexual has. And it’s insulting to even make such a comparison.

My point is that if you’re looking or waiting for the United States to act like the kingdom, no wonder you’re so distraught today. The US never has nor will she ever. Because she’s not the kingdom. And don’t worry, the land of our forefather’s wasn’t “based on Judeo-Christian ethics” like you perceive she was: slavery is demonic, and we invited a national war that nearly wiped us out because of it.

The greatest point not to be missed, however, is in regard to those Christians who seem to think the other proverbial shoe has dropped. Now the nation is really in trouble because God’s blessing is going to be removed. Unfortunately, much of this apocalyptic thinking has been seeded by a sloppy and dangerous mishandling of the Scriptures in the hands of sensationalist teachers.

Dear Christians, the greatest blessing of God on our human nation is Jesus, and nothing can deconstruct Him. No decision, no action, no pledge, no law. There is no greater blessing to be bestowed, and the Supreme Court can’t “lift his hand” from us; his hand was nailed for us, and when he was raised from the dead, it was laid upon us, right, wrong or indifferent. He’s not changing, he’s not offended, and he’s not going anywhere.

How can I be so sure? If I wasn’t so theologically convinced, all I need to do is observe the nations that would definitely meet the requirements of most Catastrophic Christians. Like China. For all China has done wrong, and I’ve been there to see much of that wrong, the Church is alive and well there. In fact, the Church in China is estimated to be larger than the entire population of the United States.

With regard to humanity and those who are perishing, if we can’t find Jesus doing or saying something, then we shouldn’t be either. Consequently, we should be acting just like him.

Do not be dismayed. And do not play into the enemy’s hands by buying into a false doctrine of sin, or of believing that there’s some other blessing greater than that of King Jesus himself. Jesus is still on the throne and you’re still called to lay your life down for sinners and Christians alike.

Even homosexual ones.


Tweets on The Gospel

While these upcoming tweets are scheduled for July release on my feed, I thought they should have a home here early. (Thanks, Scot). Happy head-messing!



The Gospel is the proclamation of all that Jesus is, not what we get because of who he is.

Saying the Gospel is all about personal salvation is like saying a car is all about its tires.

One reason many grow weary with our version of the Gospel is bc we talk more about an escape plan than we do about reformational living.

Corporate submission to the King trumps personal freedom.

Loving Jesus because of salvation is like loving your mom because she does your laundry.

Discovering that the Gospel is not about me and all about Jesus is one of the healthiest things an American can embrace.

Jesus is not your life coach. He’s King. Serving him invites the Holy Spirit, and he’ll lead you into all you need in his kingdom.

Our allegiance is pledged to King Jesus, not to a self-help menu.

If you want help, yes, embracing the Gospel will undo you.

Jesus didn’t die to give you personal freedom, he died because he’s the King who comes back from the dead. And he loved freeing you.

Proclaiming salvation is the Gospel is like saying that the scoreboard makes teams win games.

We must return to making the Gospel more about Jesus’ reign (which brought us salvation), not a self-help regiment.

The Gospel is not a gateway drug to lifestyle change. It is the message that Jesus is Lord and nothing else is, including our needs and wants.

Salvation is one benefit of the Gospel, but it is not the Gospel.

We do a disservice to Jesus and to people when we proclaim that the most significant part of the Gospel is salvation.

Emmanuel, God with us, astounds me.

“Jesus is Lord” should upset every balance in your life.

I don’t love Jesus because he saved me, I love Jesus because he’s God. That he does anything else for me at all is unspeakable wonder.

Facebook: The Collective Societal Brain Injury

What Filters?

When my sister-in-law, Amber, was recovering from her near-fatal car accident in late 2005, early 2006, we all had some laughs. I know. A violent car accident is no laughing matter. I’m with you there. And her rehabilitation period was pretty painful to watch. But there were some great moments of levity. This is primarily because Amber’s filters were gone.

Since Amber’s head hit a tree at 65mph, her brain was pretty damaged. It’s a miracle she didn’t die on the spot. (You can watch more on her miraculous story here). As a result, her brain took a long time to get back to functioning the way it always had, and one of those effected operations was her speech process.

No, not her speaking abilities. She could still talk, and did plenty of it. I mean, the way her brain processed what she was going to say before she said it.

The neurologists explained it to us like this, and I’m paraphrasing the half dozen or so that studied Amber over many months:

“All of us have filters in our brains. They’re like gates. They measure what we think we want to say against what we actually should say, and prevent us from making logical, cultural and emotional mistakes with our words. Most people employ between 25 and 30 filters to every sentence before speaking. Amber is employing a big fat 0.”

In other words, Amber was saying every single thing she was thinking the moment she thought to say it. She was truly being her most honest self 100% of the time.

It was scary. And crazy funny.

From calling the nurses at St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Hospital “penguins” because she was convinced they were all nuns, to using every four letter word you can think of, to telling a doctor, “I’m pretty sure my mom is trying to kill me,” Amber was the source of much comic relief. And given how stressful the situation really was, we all needed something hilarious.

Bring On The Filters

Over time, Amber’s brain healed. The filters dropped back in place, and her quick wit, humor, and incredibly accurate memory returned. (Sometimes we all wonder if we’re the ones dealing with traumatic brain injuries as she’s so much smarter than us).

This blog post could end right here, praising God for his miraculous power, and I’d be quite fine to let it. My wife’s older sister is alive today, and according to physics and science, she shouldn’t be.

But in the same way that Amber’s speech filters returned over time, I’m watching society’s filters break down. Specifically, in Facebook-land.

Instagram is for appreciators.

Twitter is for intellectuals.

But Facebook is the collective societal brain injury.

Those 25 to 30 filters between our brains and our tongues were put in place by God, I’m convinced of it. They keep us from saying stupid things. Damaging things. Things that would betray our innermost selves. And for good reason: our innermost selves need redeeming. If Amber’s filter-less brain is a reflection of what a stunning, brilliant, Bible-schooled lady can think, you definitely don’t want my brain hard wired to my mouth. Lord, help us.

I could lump all of social media together, and call it all rotten. But that’s simply not the case. And I could and probably should subdivide Facebook into smaller groups, as there are many great users (and great uses for it). But the reality is, if you’ve been on Facebook for any length of time, you’ve experienced some level of filter-less communication. Maybe you were the one saying something you shouldn’t have, or more likely, you received a comment that irked you. That rattled you for days. One little comment that kept you awake at night. And you said, “If I were with that person face to face, I’d…”

You’d what?

And therein lies my point.

The bane of Facebook, and arguably anything that’s not “in person,” is that it’s fake at some level. Not fake as in what’s being said isn’t real. Quite the opposite. What’s being said is too real. It’s your brain with a head injury.

When you’re sitting with your dad over coffee and you want to say the real thing in your head, but don’t—because you know it would crush him—you’re filtering.

When you’re standing in your boss’ office and can’t seem to resurrect that fantasy from the night before where you threw a stapler at his head, and instead you’re speaking with a calm tone to try and reason through a dilemma together, you’re filtering.

When you want to fire an employee but don’t, when you want to ground your child for life but refrain, when you want to slam the phone down, throw the computer, or pull the pin from the grenade but leave it in, you’re filtering. You’re preserving.

You’re loving.

Check Yourself

There’s a myriad of reasons, causes and stimuli that keep us in check, that keep you and me filtered. Some good, some bad, but all working together. Decency, intimidation, loyalty, eye contact, fear, cameras, honor, respect, humiliation, tone, power, nobility, patience, hostility, cultural faux pas, expectations, breathing speed, physical dominance, security guards. As humans, we’re extremely alert creatures. We notice everything. So much so, only 7% of communication is verbal. That means, to convey all the emotions and meaning behind your statements, 93% of what you’re communicating has nothing to do with what you could type.


That’s why a book, the Bible, can never be the fourth person of the Trinity. That’s why Jesus had to come in the flesh to get across what we’d been messing up since the dawn of time. And that’s why Facebook is so good at fostering environments that propagate rhetoric and not relationship.

The filters are gone, the nuance is lost, and we’re trying to have conversations with 93% of the information missing.

We’ve all been taught that being afraid of certain people, and therefore not saying “what we really want to,” is bad. And to a certain degree, I agree. There’s something to be said for confidence, for standing up for what you believe in. But there’s also an argument that certain type’s of fear are healthy. It’s a filter. As is not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, not wanting to disrespect someone’s age or position, and not wanting to offend.

I know, imagine that.

Anytime someone types, “I don’t mean to offend you, but…” what they’re really saying is, “I would never say this to your face in the same way I’m typing this now, but since you’re not here, and I don’t feel responsible to you, I’m going to say it anyway.”

Reigning It In

In a world where everyone is entitled to their opinion, everyone is empowered to share their opinion sans filter, and further, everyone thinks their opinion is the right one, people’s statements lose their relevance because they’ve abandoned cultural sanity.

I’ll give you an example. I’m a clergyman. I’m paid to know and study scripture, to counsel people, to lead a community. It’s not my hobby on the side. It’s my profession. And I’ve been at it professionally for almost twenty years. And yet I find it ironic how easily people can argue with me over theology. Not that they can’t, or shouldn’t. But that it’s careless. Can you imagine arguing with your doctor as he’s making an incision during an operation? “Hey, doc, maybe a little more to the left.” Or how about with your mechanic. “Are you sure that’s the wrench you really want to use?”

In a virtual world, everyone’s an expert, because everyone’s opinion matters. But opinions rarely sway people; more often, they tick them off.

No one ever wins a hard lining liberal to a conservative position in a comment thread. Nor does an atheist get a Christian to disown Jesus. Yet those attempts, and many less polarizing ones, are representational of the countless I’ve seen on Facebook. Sports, scriptures, television shows, recipes, the weather. It’s insane. It’s a collective brain injury.

The Face Test

In the absence of filters, people say what they never should.

While I could give you “10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Posting or Commenting on Facebook,” the chances are, you’d never remember them. Especially in the heat of the moment.

So here’s my cardinal rule that I try and follow daily, sometimes breaking when I hit my forehead too hard on a desk:

First, if I wouldn’t say my criticism to someone’s face, it shouldn’t be typed, and if it is, it’s private; and second, I must consider whether I have an actual physical audience with the person in real life.

The first part is hard enough, and I think it’s self explanatory, arguably solving the large majority of public Facebook issues that arise.

But the second is more intense. Meaning, if I don’t actually know the person, or the likelihood of me seeing them within the week is non-existent, I refrain from commenting. If it’s outside of my relationship, it’s illegal.

If the Bible calls this gossip and a loose tongue, I’d call it modern gossip and being an idiot. It’s why you don’t see me lambasting celebrities online. It breaks both parts of the cardinal rule: first, I wouldn’t say it to their face, and second, I don’t know them. (Read Matthew 18:15-17 on how to handle offenses).

All this stems primarily from how I want to be treated as a person. When someone easily says something to me online that I know that they’d have a much harder time saying to my face, and when someone acts like they know me when they really don’t (listen to Creativecast episode 3 on familiarity and transparency), it demeans me. If I don’t like it, why should I subject others to it? That’s hypocrisy, and unChristlike.

Picking A Home for Content

The second measure I employ is selective posting.

Facebook: The only things I post on Facebook anymore are announcements, general updates and pictures that are linked from my Instagram account. I still have 8,000+ followers on Facebook, and the majority of them are awesome, so it’s a great way to get information out. But the reason that the majority of what I post is pictures is simply because it’s hard to argue over pictures of someone’s life, especially when my goal in posting to Instagram is to give meaningful glimpses into what Christian life can look like. It’s a tool. That’s all.

Because Facebook is such a varied audience, and the nature of long-form posting there requires a thorough and sometimes exhaustive explanation in order for people to get your point without having a brain hemorrhage, it gets the least amount of critical information from me. I don’t need the headache, and users should spend their time doing better things. I had one famous theologian private message me on Twitter and confess, “I treat it very differently. Facebook is the devil.”

(As a humorous but no less intentional example, you won’t find a link to this post on Facebook, at least from me, because too many users there would freak out that I’m critical of the platform. You will find it on Twitter, however). 

Twitter: In contrast, Twitter, by virtue of it’s short form context, allows small, poignant statements that invite users into a larger dialog, stimulated by their own experiences and pursuits. While there may be intense discussion, users are limited to 140 characters at a time, which means you’ve got to know what you’re talking about (and if you don’t, everyone can tell).  The large majority of my posting happens here, and I love the Twitter community for that very reason.

Instagram: Posting to Instagram became a daily discipline over two years ago, when I realized it forced me to view my life intentionally. There are thousands of visual moments that make up my day; by pinpointing at least one, it’s made me savor the richness of life around me, and promote the things I see God doing in my world. It is, simply put, a form of visual evangelism.

Communicate Where and What You Love

Listen, if you love Facebook, and you’ve found a niche there where you can have a positive impact, I salute you. I genuinely admire that. It’s simply not something that’s healthy for me; I prefer Twitter, my blog, and Instagram. But regardless of where you spend most of your time, remember to filter. Avoid virtual brain injury syndrome (VBIS). Guard your words. Filter your statements. Be selective on where certain content goes. And for the love of God and all that is holy, make sure to breath. People do need our love more than our opinions.


REDACTED: [All the other things he wanted to say].

Creativecast Episode 4: Wayne Thomas Batson Interview

Creativecast Header Episode4
In case you have’t listened to it yet, make sure to check out my interview with author Wayne Thomas Batson on episode 4 of Creativecast. And if this is your first introduction to Creativecast in general, its preceded by three other great episodes designed for artists and leaders.

Happy listening,


Advice for Teen Girls When Talking To My Wife


My wife, Jennifer, is an amazing woman. And she was an amazing teenager.

Yes, she was in a relationship too young. And got out of it. And was in a second relationship with a guy who needed serious counseling. And she got out of that one too.

She also walked the talk as a Christian.

She did her first 40-day juice and water fast at 15 years old. (And still was first-string on her soccer team). When her other friends were off partying at midnight, she was laying on her face next to her flag pole, praying for revival in her school. She was devoted, outspoken for Jesus. And was still Homecoming Queen.

She was a rockstar.

As a teenager.

Because of this faithfulness, she addressed thousands of her peers in arenas around the country. Multiple times. And sang in front of 25,000 teens on the Mall in Washington, DC. All to give glory to her one true love, King Jesus.

God rewards those who pay a price to follow him.

Ladies, if you have my wife’s phone number or are friends on Facebook, don’t text: “So, can I ask you a question?”

Listen, I love that you admire her. So do I. Either ask your question, or don’t. Pretending like you’re weighing your options when you’re stepping up to bat with a Titan of faith is unbecoming.

And if you’re going to ask for her pearls of wisdom, please mean it. In other words, don’t insult her by throwing them in the mud after she gives them to you. Her time and her testimony are valuable. They’re gold, and then some. If you really value her, decide in advance that you’re going to model what she’s modeled for you. Or don’t bother asking. You’ll be wasting your time and her’s.

Ladies, you have this sneaky way of so desperately wanting her advice when you don’t have a boyfriend, conveniently throwing yourself into Jesus. But the moment that cute boy comes along, you suddenly vanish off the map for six months.

Here’s my advice: don’t expect to get the life she has without paying the price she paid to get it.

Wisdom is purchased, not transferred.

Start saving early.

“Wisdom is supreme. Get wisdom. Yes, though it costs all your possessions, get understanding.”

King Solomon of Israel (Proverbs 4:7 WEB)

Do you want to know why she’s such an amazing woman? Because she sought wisdom, and chose to cling to it even when other things seemed more enticing. This was hard. She was not proven faithful when life was easy—she became great in the midst of adversity. I could not ask for a more remarkable, more intelligent, more steadfast, more beautiful, more passionate woman than her. She paid for every one of those attributes, and more.

If you want role models, true female models, they’re out there. Most aren’t on the covers of magazines, and most won’t give you the answers you want. Just make sure you’re really going to do what they say before you ask for their pearls; they get tired of being insulted as soon as your fancy changes.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 7:6 ESV)

To those of you who have listened to Jennifer, and in turn, listened to Jesus, you know who you are, and I applaud you. Thank you for treating my wife’s wisdom with the honor it deserves. Your lives are testimonies of God’s faithfulness to those who pursue him at any cost. I love you for honoring the Jesus in my wife. Carry on.


Podcast for Artists and Leaders – Creativecast Launch

Creativecast iTunes Launch Headphones Christopher Hopper

After 15 months of encouragement from close friends, and two months of hand-holding from Mike Kim, Creativecast has hit iTunes with three inaugural episodes.

If you’re not yet a podcast listener, consider this your maiden voyage. And if you already are an avid podcast addict, I hope this new subscription will find its way into your routine.


iTunes: Creativecast Podcast
Twitter: @creativecastfm
Facebook: /creativecastfm
Behind the scenes shots:
Instagram: @creativecast


Creativecast was birthed for a few different reasons, many of which I outlined in my original post [READ: So You’re Starting A Podcast?]. But speaking to creative hearts who are concerned with serving others around them is at the epicenter of this movement. I want to serve you. Whether it’s gleaning a few pointers for your already mature endeavors, or you’re on a steep learning curve for how to be a creative leader, Creativecast is made with love each week to inspire you in your pursuit of influencing your church, business or familial culture.

Whether you’re a producer, painter, pastor or parent, there’s something for you here. And I encourage you to download, put your earbuds in, and start listening.

But more, Creativecast needs your feedback.


Since this show is meant to serve you, it must be informed by you. This means we need your questions, your comments, your feedback. You can find the show notes for each episode at their respective posts on Whether it’s there in the comments section, or on one of Creativecast’s numerous social media platforms, we’d love to take your questions.

Lastly, please consider leaving a review on iTunes. These reviews really do help get the word out and reach more people with tools that are free and valuable. If you enjoy the show, and you believe these first three episodes are beneficial to you, please leave a review.

Thanks for listening! See you in the Creativecast,


Creativecast iTunes Launch iPhone Christopher Hopper

Hep Fund Jennifer Puking In Guatemala

The Hoppers in Guatemala

Jenny and I are heading to Guatemala again at the end of February. Inevitably, Jennifer pukes. In a plane, in a van, or on a goat.

OK, so not on a goat. But she totally would.

This time around, we decided to ask our friends, readers and listeners to help fund our airfares. It frees up other funds to bless people with. And that’s what we live for. We’re blessed to be a blessing (Gen. 12:2).

Already, without much advertising, we’ve been blessed with $255 from really precious people. I rarely fund raise, so it’s humbling to see people parting with their money in order to bless a nation so far away.

Please consider sending a small gift after reading more about our trip. It may just mean the world to a soul a world away.


Ask Simply, Receive Broadly

Many people ask, “God, do you want me in job A, or job B?”

But what if God wants you in job C?

Now the Lord has to speak outside of the perimeters you provided him, and you’ll be far less likely to accept what you did not conceive of yourself.

Learn to ask more simply so that you can receive more broadly.


Overcoming Selective Perception – Where National Geographic’s Camera Got It Right But The Comment Got It Wrong

Jennifer and I often find ourselves driving down a road that we’ve traveled thousands of times (literally), when we notice a new house, an old building gone, or a large change in the landscape.

“Woah, I never noticed that!”

The more frequent the road for us, the more startling the change to us. Sometimes we just look at each other, incredulous.

“How are we so blind that we didn’t notice that?

Just this week, one of us (I won’t say who) noticed that an entire nursing home, complete with out buildings and an admin wing, had been torn down.

For eight months.

If you’re chuckling right now, it means you’ve had similar experiences, which means none of us are alone in this condition.

This same effect, however, can also play out on much more meaningful subjects.


A National Geographic photo posted on their Instagram account this morning is a prime example:


I felt compelled to comment:

@find_ch forget climate change; what about the immediate caustic effects of those walking through it?

@wiccat Agree to you!!

@wiccat thanks for the kind comment. I think sometimes we can get so caught up in generalizations, especially if they suit our own ambitions, that we fail to notice (or comment on) the thing that’s staring us right in the face. This is a perfect example. The climate’s changing? OK, the jury’s still out even as to why. But right now, I see a beautiful girl who’s walking through carcinogenic smoke—and that’s not the lead line? [sigh]

Exclusive perception.

We tend to see what we want to see. The object of our passion becomes the blinders to our perception by distorting reality. We don’t notice the obvious because in our own distorted reality, the obvious thing literally isn’t there. We’re induced into a state of virtual blindness.

We need healing.

Usually this comes in the form of a good coach (some who “sees” more than we do), an epiphany from God (a revelation found in spiritual awakening), or a jarring life experience that snaps us out of our stupor (a visit to Cambodia, let’s say).

Such “wake up calls” help us then divest ourselves from a singular passion and reinvest in a passion that is itself inclusive—that has many passions within it. But, since we can’t be poly-sighted in every scenario, we must make a values call by becoming passionate about the right issues.

What are the right issues, you ask? Aren’t those utterly subjective?

The right issues are those that always place the needs of hurting people, all people, above politics and policy, no matter how revered. A politic that itself has missed the care of a person is a flawed politic, and therefore a flawed virtue. Because the needs of hurting people are always the right issue to champion.

There is no more noble cause, no more clearer lens through which to view the world, than to empathize with another individual and meet their need. It is precisely what King Jesus did for humanity, and it’s the lifestyle lens that helps us overcome bureaucracy with benevolence.

The only set of flawless virtues that I know of are not those of any present nation or civil contract; though there are plenty of good working models, even the best is far from adequate. For even a system that proves idealistic for one people group turns out to be hostile for another, since there is nothing in civil contract that can inherently transform the condition of the human heart.

The kingdom lens.

The values of the kingdom of God are universal (they are best for all mankind, everywhere, regardless of race or culture), they are eternal (they have everlasting effects on the individual), and they are inherited (not earned, but gifted, sometimes even to those who aren’t aware of the Gift Giver—such is the largess of grace). The kingdom is in fact the superior and supreme ideology and methodology in serving humans out of our collective depravity.

It’s how we see.

It’s how we perceive.

When our passion becomes Jesus, our values become kingdom ones, and our empathy becomes action. Because, for the first time, we don’t see a mission. We don’t see a cause or a campaign.

We see a face.


“But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

James the Just

So You’re Starting A Podcast?

You know that queasy feeling you get right before a big exam?

Like, you’re pretty sure you know all the material—at least as good as you think you can know it—but you’re also pretty sure there’s going to be that one question that sinks you? And that you wore the wrong underwear? And that you showed up the wrong day?

That’s how I feel right now.

Because I’m taking the “I’m not sure I can do this” and “why haven’t I done this sooner?” leap into podcasting.

Podcasting Is Popular?

I know, right?

It’s ironic that podcasting has any traction at all. I mean, we actually have video calling capabilities right now. We’re the friggin’ Jetsons! So why a modified version of (gulp) radio? Do radios still work?

A better question to understand the usefulness of podcasting is, do our ears still work? And further, do our imaginations?

For all the amazing things we produce visually, there’s still something we humans love about purely auditory experiences. This would be a great moment to inset a latin-based psychological term that scientists use to explain this phenomenon. If there was one. Which there may be. But I don’t know it, and I don’t feel like Googling it.

We also still do plenty of functions in our daily lives that require us to be focused on a cognitive primary task but likewise allow us to use our ears to benefit from a background secondary task.

Driving a car.

Working out.

Doing housework.



Some people might argue that crocheting and knitting are the same thing, but anyone who’s had their grandmother school them on these trades knows they’re light years apart.

As much as we might dismiss podcasting as a modern throwback to a bygone means of production, the reality is that podcasting is insanely popular. In fact, iTunes reached over 1-billion subscribers this year.

That’s about three time the population of the United States if you like statistics.

That’s about 9.4605284 × 1024 meters in light years if you like really obtuse statistics.

So Why Am I Podcasting?

People like podcasts if the content is interesting, if it has something valuable to give, and if it’s entertaining.

I think I’m entertaining. At least my kids think so. Because I can talk like Elmo and Yoda, mainly.


I can be interesting. But that largely depends on who I’m hanging around with. (More on that in a second).


And I have enough life-experiences at this point to offer value to anyone who has a long enough drive or big enough pot holder to crochet.


I’m podcasting for personal reasons too.

I need to keep myself sharp. As an associate pastor, I don’t speak publicly as much as my senior pastor. Which means my speaking gift gets rusty from misuse. Podcasting—while not preaching, and sometimes like teaching—forces me to prepare and speak with an audience in mind. And I like that.

I’ve also been encouraged by my dear friend, Mike Kim, who’s a podcasting phenom. A whiz kid. A wonder whirl. A idiot savant without the idiot. And because I’m only as interesting as the people I have around me (see earlier note), he’s agreed to co-host my first ten episodes.


Having a recording studio at my disposal is a plus, too.

What Are You Going To Podcast About?

Great question.

Like most of us, sometimes our greatest strengths can also be significant weaknesses. One of my strengths is that I like a lot of stuff. Music, writing, theology, technology, leadership, business, art, history and my favorite: family. So while a particular subject matter stream may take a while to materialize (you know, that one subject that makes something “brandable”), I’m going to cover it all. Because I can. It’s my podcast.

And either this thing takes off because you help make it awesome, or it sucks, and after Mike is done co-hosting, we dig a shallow podcast grave and bury it.

Here’s Where You Come In

I’d love to field questions from you. From funny to deathly serious, this is your chance to hear me answer your questions in front of a live (no) studio audience (nope) of thousands! (That’s a lie).

I’ll be checking the comments for your questions, as well as Twitter and Facebook, as we gear up production and shoot for a late January launch.

Thanks for reading, and soon, thanks for listening.


The Shopkeeping Pastor

Thought this was such a thought provoking quote:

“The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches.”

Eugene Peterson (@PetersonDaily)
12/29/14, 7:36 AM

It’s true on so many levels, from the way pastors care, maintain and treat everything from people and families and budgets, to physical buildings and possessions.

How we constantly try and think of new ways to serve a community, produce a constant stream of content, and pull off weekly “shows” that hopefully please both God and man.

How we’re are always looking to expand the kingdom’s influence and reach more people, expanding into “new markets.”

New ways to market what we’re doing, maintaining the integrity of what people experience (a brand).

Long hours, few reprieves.

Strategizing, praying, meeting, counseling, brainstorming, assessing, hiring, firing, accounting, resourcing.

We must have a clear mission, but never at the expense of our values. A mission without values leaves hurting people in its wake.

We’re spiritual shopkeepers in a material world. The correlations between being an entrepreneur and a pastor are too numerous to count, and the disciplines required for both are tightly bound.

Thank you, Pastors, for all you carry; thank you Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists and Teachers. May the five-fold positions of ministry continue to keep the shop lights on for those walking in the dark.


Beware Numbness

“Numbness does not hurt like torture, but in a quite parallel way, numbness robs us of our capability for humanity.”

Walter Brueggemann, Prophetic Imagination

Beware the numbing effects of technology, commodity satiation, and comfort. They lead to comparison, abandonment of gratitude, and warped perspective on priorities.

Numbness not only disconnects us from feeling for others, but feeling as others.

Let the battery go dead for a few hours. 

Look up. 


Let numbness melt away, exposing the one word society so desperately craves but so earnestly resists.