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Showing posts with the label #Expectations

“Call me Pastor.”

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Three years ago I got into a conversation with some guy at a Starbucks. It’s usually in coffeehouses such conversations take place; I’m in them so often. (I’m in one now as I write this.) He asked my name. I gave it. He gave his name as “Pastor Todd”—although Todd isn’t actually his first name, ’cause I changed it for this story, ’cause he’s not gonna look good. Todd struck up a conversation with me, quickly found out I’m Christian, and we got to talking about our common beliefs. Like most people, he assumed since I’m not clergy, I must know nothing about theology. Which is a really naïve assumption, ’cause there are a lot of dangerously overeducated laymen like me around. Something I learned back in my journalism days: Never underestimate people. But never overestimate ’em either. Find out who they really are. There are a lot of dangerously undereducated clergy around too. It just so happened Todd is among them. He tried to instruct me in certain areas he clearly knew little

Why Amazon is my favorite Christian bookstore.

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My hometown has one bookstore—only one—which specializes in new books. [Update, 2018: Not anyore.] Although specialize isn’t the proper word. That’d be Family Christian Stores, which isn’t so much a bookstore as your one-stop shop for all things Christian. It sells tchotchkes about as much as books: CDs, shirts, toys, art for the walls… you know, “Jesus junk.” ’Twasn’t always thus. We used to have a Borders. It closed when Borders went bankrupt in 2001. In the ’90s we had a Crown Books, and that closed too. All that’s left are the used-book stores which sometimes carry a new book or two. And the book sections of Walmart, Costco, Target, and other department stores. And the local library’s monthly book sale. There’s the odd church bookshop, but they’re not open unless the church is, and not even then. Why can’t a town of 90,000 sustain a new-books bookstore? Because those stores, for the most part, don’t know what they’re doing. They didn’t realize, till it was too late, their

Getting Christian capitalization right.

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Y’know, we Christians have invented a lot of little (and stupid) ways to gauge how devout our fellow Christians are—how closely we follow Jesus, how much we respect and honor God, how saved we are. How many Christianese words and terms can we slip into our conversation? How likely are we to pray at the slightest provocation? Are we willing to mar the bumpers of our cars with Jesus fish and pro-God stickers? Can we quote bible verses casually, and post ’em on Twitter? One of those little litmus tests is how we do on Christian capitalization. Do we capitalize all the appropriate titles and names and holy things and their pronouns when we’re writing about God and Christianity? Fr’instance when we’re writing about God, we’d better darned well have capitalized the title “God.” I know; some Christians call it the name of God, but Y HWH ’s his name; God’s his title. Technically his species. Still: Capitalize it! It’s not lowercase-G “god,” like we use for other religions’ gods, espe