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Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in Culture, Politics, Work | 0 comments

The American Bible

The American Bible

  How do we restore civility to American public life? This will be the topic of conversation on October 13 at a lunch in Denver “Civility: Becoming People of Peace in an Age of Deep Division.” This book review, originally published on The Gospel Coalition, evaluates religion scholar Stephen Prothero’s attempt to bring civil discourse back to a raucous political culture in Washington DC by looking back at her most sacred, formative texts: what he calls, “The American Bible.”  America is not just a country; it’s a religion. The faithful sing her praises at baseball games, pay homage to her heroes in Washington, D.C., and recite her pledge of loyalty in schools. They remember the tale of her exodus from England, and fancy themselves as a chosen people. They chide themselves for the original sin of slavery, and praise redeemers like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. who shed their blood in atonement for the sins of a nation. They spread the gospel of freedom, equality, and democracy, and when doubts arise, they...

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Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in Culture, Work, World | 0 comments

American Pluralism: “She Thinks My Land Rover is Sexy”

American Pluralism: “She Thinks My Land Rover is Sexy”

When driving down Broadway on my way home from work, I’m often entertained by the mosaic of life lining the street. Antique shops, graffiti on the walls, pot shops and gas stations decorate the corridor of cars heading home. Last week, while at a stop light, I couldn’t help but notice the interesting mix of bumper stickers on the black Land Rover in front of me. In two corners were stickers heralding Moab, Utah and skiing Colorado’s mountains. On the right side was a Colorado State University sticker, and right below an SUV boast: “You can go fast, I can go anywhere.” Quintessential Rocky Mountain weekend warrior. Then the kaleidoscope gets interesting. On the far left, a white outline of a female body in high heels, bending over, with the message: “She thinks my Land Rover is sexy.” Below is a series of three stickers: a hand gun that reads “Rocky Mountain Gun Owner,” another Land Rover sticker, and an ad for Key West. Below the license plate, a...

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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in Art, Culture, Work | 0 comments

The Christian Retreat from the World: Chatting with Hans Rookmaaker on the Back Porch

The Christian Retreat from the World: Chatting with Hans Rookmaaker on the Back Porch

We all struggle to explain what we do. I’m no different. Actually, I have rehearsed a set of responses for when people ask the inevitable question: “What do you do for work?” “I lead an educational nonprofit in Denver.” If I can get them to bite with this amorphous answer, they’ll often ask, “Oh, really? What kind?” “I direct an organization called Denver Institute for Faith & Work. We offer educational programming on how Christianity can shape and influence a wide variety of work we do, from business to law to art to education.” At this point, they pause, tip their head sideways, and say, “Oh, how interesting.” And…I lost them. It’s not that they’re uninterested. But there’s really no category in most people’s minds for this kind of work. It’s just strange. Perhaps esoteric. Sheet metal manufacturing and folding clothes at The Gap — these kinds of work make sense. We need metal. We need clothes. But why on earth do we need Denver Institute for Faith &...

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Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Culture, Politics, Work | 0 comments

From Rage to Responsibility: Why Our Work Matters More Than Our Vote

From Rage to Responsibility: Why Our Work Matters More Than Our Vote

  “Against stupidity we are defenseless.” German pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer could have written this about the 2016 GOP election race. I’m like most Americans. Religious, white, middle class, and ticked off. But far from supporting either Trump or Bernie Sanders, after months of feeling outrage and then disbelief, my anger at the American political machine has subsided, and now I find myself looking for hope far outside of Washington—and much closer to home. Here’s what I mean: the past six months of political campaigning have given me emotional heartburn. The unpleasant reflux came in three phases. The first emotion was shock. When Trump calls Mexicans who cross the border rapists, enthusiastically endorses torture, hints that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia was assassinated, and advocates the killing of terrorist’s families, my blood boils. How could Americans be voting for this man to lead the party of Abraham Lincoln? And how could 37 % of evangelicals support him? What on earth is going on here? Second, moral outrage gave...

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2016 in Culture, Politics, Work | 0 comments

The MLK Option

The MLK Option

  Tim Keller once said we’re now living in the autumn of Christianity’s influence in the West: the leaves are falling to the ground and winter is approaching. For many of us, the cold wind that reminds of us the coming winter storm is the loss of religious freedom so many evangelicals see in American life today. A Christian student group at Vanderbilt University loses official school recognition; Chick-Fil-A gets grilled by the Denver City Council for trying to move into theDenver International Airport; in California an Intervarsity Christian Fellowship is forced to elect non-Christian leaders. Many evangelicals feel like a cat backed into a corner. A combination of fear and outbursts of rage (usually on our Twitter feeds and Facebook pages) often define our response. Times have changed. Christians committed to the public implications of their faith are now a minority in American life.  Today many Christians are frantically searching to find a way to live in American society without cultural power. New options are being proposed. For...

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Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Culture, Politics | 2 comments

Spelunking, Cave Formations, and Culture Change

Spelunking, Cave Formations, and Culture Change

  “It’s riskier than ever,” Jill said, “to tell people you work with you’re a Christian.” Jill worked at a public policy communications firm in Denver. Having worked with people of all and no faith for over 7 years, her sentiment about being a Christian in pluralist America was one I hear often. Fear. Isolation. Better to be quiet about my faith, and not risk the professional repercussions. Clearly, for Christians in America, we’re not in Kansas anymore. For many evangelicals who sense a deep loss of cultural power over the past decade, a debate has developed about how cultures change. The need to reimagine a Christian cultural presence has become a hot topic – and so have ideas about how cultures emerge and develop.   The debate essentially boils down to two approaches: (1) Top-down elites who are in power shape culture by imposing their perspectives on society. These elites sit in positions of institutional power, sit on one another’s boards, and have disproportionate influence on culture. The...

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