Get Over It

Joe Morris Doss

Joe Morris Doss

By Joe Morris Doss

It is now a week since Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty made his unacceptable comments about LGBT people and African Americans in a GQ Interview. Pundits and reporters keep holding it up as news, which I find amazing. Among the many reasons I find what was said and how it is being examined so upsetting is the way the media seems to accept that this man is expressing “the” Christian position. But I am also pained by the way so many sincere Christians try to evangelize by offering their version of a moral code as the good news itself, a socio-eco-political-philosophical, simplistically black-and-white, moral code that acts as a filter through which they read scripture. Then they seem amazed that this narrow minded moral code cannot be understood as good news by those who love justice and peace – and especially by those the moral code condemns, castigates, marginalizes, brutalizes, and oppresses.

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It is no secret that young people are leaving the Church like never before. How to retain young followers and why they are leaving are both hot topics in religious spheres. In a recent Patheos article, Bruce Reyes-Chow lists the “10 Ways to Disconnect from the Next Generation.” Below, you’ll find Addie Zierman’s own story of turning away, and the ways in which the rhetoric of fellow believers keeps her and other millennials from connecting to their faith.

By Addie Zierman

Addie Zierman is a writer, blogger, and calls herself a “recovering Jesus freak.” She recently published her debut book, When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over through Convergent Books, which was just named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Publisher’s Weekly. You can follow her on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

Addie Zierman is a writer, blogger, and calls herself a “recovering Jesus freak.” She recently published her debut book, “When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over through Convergent Books,” which was just named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Publisher’s Weekly. You can follow her on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

The statistics are in. The millennials are leaving the church, and nobody seems quite sure what to do about it.

I am one of them. Born in 1983, I belong to the wispy beginnings of the new generation. I turned 30 this year, and I’m raising two small boys. I hold within me both cynicism and hope. I left the church. I came back.

Here is what I can tell you about millennials: We grew up on easy answers, catchphrases and cliché, and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that things are almost always more complicated than that.

When I returned to church, it wasn’t because of great programs, alluring events or a really cool “café” set up in the foyer. I went back not because of what the church was doing, but rather in spite of it. I went back because I needed community, and because, thanks to a steady dose of medication and therapy, I was finally well enough to root through the cliché to find it.

But not all of us are there yet. For some of us, the clichés are still maddening and alienating. Recently, I asked my followers online for the five church clichés that they tend to hate the most. These were the top five responses: Read More…


The church is constantly discovering the Gospel. In each era the People of God seem to wake up to see a Gospel imperative as though it is new, with eyes that seem to pop open. How, it will be asked, was this missed before – something so obvious, something so demanding! And yet, there it is, God’s will for society to lift oppression, to demand better treatment of some class of persons, or to do something in care of God’s creation that simply wasn’t recognized before but becomes apparent.

Slavery stands as one of the most obvious examples of this dynamic. Civilization was built on the backs of slaves, and this was true all over the world. At any given time in history the people who enjoyed citizenship in one of the civilized cultures would not have been able to imagine any other way to be the people they were – Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, you name it – than through the use of slaves. Only gradually did another notion take hold of the imagination of societies, the recognition that freedom, the freedom enjoyed by the slave-users was a precious human right to be held and exercised by everyone. Finally, and only after the idea of equality and freedom had taken hold and began to make its way forward, the church seemed to come to its senses and was forceful in convincing its societies to reject the entire institution of slavery.

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Martin E. Marty is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at The University of Chicago and one of the most prominent interpreters of religion and culture today.

Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty

By Martin E. Marty

As Pope Francis was an exhorter bidding for attention last month, not only Roman Catholics were his exhortees. Count us in. The dictionary tells us that adding “-ee” to a word turns it into one which means a person or thing that is the object of that verb. The pontiff issued an “apostolic exhortation,” Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), whose 85 pages have inspired uncommon attention in the media. It was clear that he focused on Catholics, but he probably wouldn’t mind if the rest of us joined his faithful in heeding the exhortation. The document concerned “economic inequality,” “unequal wealth,” and in it he denounced the current economic system as “unjust at its roots” because it defends “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” He calls the result “a new tyranny,” which “unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.”

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