When everything isn’t awesome: Is the modern evangelical worship service a safe place to lament?

A couple years ago, I took a day off and treated my family to a matinee showing of The Lego Movie. My wife and I have four children—three girls and one boy—so this day was like an oasis for my son and me, surrounded as we are by princess movies. As it turns out, everyone, girls included, enjoyed the film. What we didn’t realize, however, was that the theme song “Everything is Awesome” would replace “Let It Go” from Frozen as the tune that would get stuck in our heads most often. By the end of the summer, for the sake of our sanity, we nearly banned it in the Darling house. But every time I watch the movie and see those little plastic figures running around gleefully, I can’t help but be reminded of church. If there is a soundtrack to most evangelical worship services today, it’s that everything is...

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15 Years and Counting

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:31–33 ESV) Fifteen years ago, a man waited by a church stage in Chicago as a beautiful young woman from Texas walked down the aisle. When you get married, you do it without knowing, fully, what is ahead. You know the other person, of course. You get wise input from friends and mentors and parents. You spend time together getting to know each other. But you don't really know the person you are marrying. This is part of what makes marriage mysterious and wonderful if you are committed to it. It is mysterious in that you have no...

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James K. A. Smith on the importance of the dinner table

I'm reading through James K. A. Smith's excellent new book, You Are What You Love. I highly recommend this book. Here are some of Smith's thoughts on the formative power of families eating dinner together: For example: never underestimate the formative power of the family supper table. This vanishing liturgy is a powerful site of formation. Most of the time it will be hard to keep the cathedral in view, especially when dinner is the primary occasion for sibling bickering. Yet even then, members of your little tribe are learning to love their neighbor. And your children are learning something about the faithful promises of a covenant-keeping Lord in the simple routine of that daily promise of dinner together (132). Smith continues: The table at home is an echo of the Lord’s Table; the communion of the saints is given microcosmic expression in the simple discipline of daily dinner together. There is an ongoing dance...

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A modest, post-election goal for everyone

We just finished perhaps the most divisive election in modern history. The good news is that the election is over and we are experiencing what few countries experience: a peaceful transfer of power. It was good to see the President and President-elect meet and discuss the transition. But there is stil much division in the country. I can commend a few pieces to you on this. First one by my boss Russell Moore and another by a favorite pastor of mine, Erwin Lutzer. You might also read this great piece at Desiring God and this analysis of the election by Kirsten Powers. I also loved this beautiful gospel testimony by Ernie Johnson. We are a divided nation and, even if they give it their best, our political leaders and parties and movements cannot bring the kind of unity we need. Only neighbor-love, expressed by the people of God, can help show a...

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