Christianity As a Word-Centered Faith

Today I interview Karen Swallow Prior for Leadership Journal. Karen is one of my favorite voices in the evangelical world. She's a fun follow on Twitter. Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and a contributing writer for Christianity Today. I love Karen's work, because she urges the Church toward a rich and robust love of literature.  One of the questions I asked her was this: Why is it important for followers of Christ to read deeply and read well? Christianity is a Word-centered faith. That term—“Word”—takes on layers of significance, all of which are meaningful and relevant to our faith. Because Christ is the Word and the Bible is God’s revealed Word, it is clear that Christians have a special calling to the understanding of words—and therefore the Word. Neil Postman famously points out in his classic treatise,...

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Grace Makes the Medicine Go Down

One of the things that confounds me, as a parent, is the refusal of my kids to take their medicine, even as they are crying out in pain. It's particularly annoying in the middle of the night (you know, those few nights when it's actually me getting up instead of my long-suffering and faithful wife, Angela). It's quite illogical, really, for kids to refuse medicine that not only has the power to relieve their pain, but also can heal them of the sickness or injury that is making their little lives miserable. And yet, there a kid squirms, mouth closed, head shaking in refusal. As good parents, we practically have to hold them down and force the medicine down. Then we have to tell them that this medicine--the medicine we just forced down their mouths--is for their good. Trust me, we tell them. But just when I begin to shake my head in disbelief...

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Rewarding the Generious

Today I had the chance to interview Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson and one of the most influential bloggers in the blogosphere. Hyatt is a popular speaker on issues of leadership, publishing, and platform. His latest book, Platform is a New York Times bestseller. I asked Hyatt about the idea of platform-building, which has drawn some critics: Critics of the platform approach might say that it leads to a narcissism and self-promotion as opposed to service and substance. How would you respond to that? I think it’s actually just the opposite. Social networks reward those who are generous. With the exception of some celebrities whose antics provide entertainment value for their followers, those who focus too much on themselves don’t build large followings.Those who succeed at the social media game add value, offer assistance, and point to content their followers will find useful. Those who do the best job of serving, grow...

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The Cadence of Good Preaching

Today for Leadership Journal, I interview my friend, Glenn Packiam, a pastor and songwriter in Colorado Springs. Glenn is a fellow Leadership Journal contributor and the lead pastor of new life DOWNTOWN, an extension of New Life Church. He is the author of several books, including LUCKY: How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People and Secondhand Jesus. His latest is Discover the Mystery of Faith.Glenn also recently released an accompanying worship album. I asked Glenn about the nexus of pastoring and songwriting: You're both a songwriter and a pastor. How does your creative side affect your preaching and leading? A good sermon is, in many ways, like a good song. It has to have a solid hook that sums up the theme, something that will stick in their hearts and heads long after it's over. It needs to have good verses that develop that theme and build up to it. There is a cadence to preaching that is also quite a bit...

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