Announcement: After a summer of being scattered into our communities for Sunday mornings, Hill City Church will resume meeting together as a corporate body at Kenmore Middle School on Sunday, September 11th at 10:30am. We look forward to another year full of celebration, learning, and encountering God together in this corporate space. We'll see you there!
On my personal Facebook page, I've posted a lot of #BlackLivesMatter stuff, but when the #DallasShootings happened, I felt like I needed to wait to address the death of the officers in Dallas.
Some people in my family are in law enforcement, people whose integrity and competence I respect. I also believe that the law enforcement agencies in this country are largely responsible for the order and peace many of us take for granted. Additionally, Christians are called treat those in power honorably.
However, honor does not mean that critique is out of the question (sometimes even taking the form of a prophetic critique of culture, although balancing prophecy and outright anger is a tricky balance. Sometimes, like Moses, you want to beat the rock in anger instead of speaking to it in faith).
Between the months of June and August, Hill City Church will be scattered into our individual communities on Sunday mornings. Recognizing that this is fairly unconventional, why in the world would we do this?
Here are our three hopes for the summer:
1.) Space for Rest - With summer being the season of summer break and vacation, our prayer is that this scattered season will be a time of rest and rejuvenation for our church body. We want to encourage everyone to live into this season rest and take time for spiritual retreat and abiding with God. More dynamic and relaxed Sunday mornings in community will support these practices of rest and invite our church body to grow in intimacy with the Father.
2.) Space for Unity - We are hoping God uses the upcoming months to inspire our imaginations for what it means to be extended family. Sharing more...
There has been a lot of conversation around the garment industry and what it means to purchase clothing “ethically” in our community and around the world, especially since the 2013 collapse of a garment building in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh. While it is good to talk about this issue, it can be difficult to find ways to turn talk into action. What makes the garment industry issue challenging for me is that it is challenging to find ways to opt out of an industry that I depend upon for a basic need – clothing – and opt into… what?
For a long time, the challenge of not knowing how to exchange my buying habits for more sustainable and thoughtful ones kept me from changing anything about the way I did my shopping. I would just try to ignore the guilty feeling at the cas...
Karl Barth was a German theologian active during the early to mid-20th century. At the beginning of his career, many of his peers and teachers took a nationalistic stance on World War I, essentially equating German nationalism with Christianity, using God to sanction support for the German war effort. This created in Barth a theological crisis, inspiring him to completely transform his thought.
The changes were made most apparent in the second edition of his The Epistle to the Romans, published in 1922. Even George Lucas’ many changes to the Star Wars movies are no match for the utter and comprehensive revision that occurred in this second edition.
The book was ground-breaking. A contemporary of Barth’s remarked that the book “fell like a bomb on the playground of the theologians.” Barth’s theology took on even greater significance during...
With another Valentine’s Day having come and gone, I reflected on the fact that I have been single my whole twenty-some years of life. As someone who hopes to marry one day, I can’t help but feel like the Church as a whole is telling me I am not living up to my potential or that I cannot fully serve God’s Kingdom unless I’m married. For most, confronting this kind of fact often leads to a time of feeling down or left out. This can be even more prevalent in some Christian circles, where marriage is celebrated as a great boon with the combined character and drive of the couple. While the union of two people can indeed be a great benefit to their service in the Kingdom, this often causes us to forget the benefits of being single in the service of God.
With all the social pressure to marry or begin dating, both from within t...
I don’t usually talk about discipleship much. That tends to be Hai-in Nelson’s shtick.
However, some recent events have gotten me thinking: What is discipleship, and how does it not get weird?
What do I mean by “weird”?
There are movements in the Church that have embraced discipleship as a form of control and micro-management of other people’s lives. Before you buy a house or a car, some groups expect you to go to your spiritual leaders or “disciplers” to get permission before making these and other important life decisions.
And the consequences if don’t seek your handlers’ permission?
It varies. Sometimes, it involves a certain amount of shunning by the “in-group.” Other times, you get publicly shamed. At worst, you might even get kicked out of the church or organization entirely.
At Hill City, we’d like to think we have a number princip...
The most powerful thing in the world is a good story. They are addictive, transformative, intoxicating. I’ve known this my entire life. I’ve been a story addict from day one. I had to be bribed away from books to spend time with friends during childhood, and I couldn’t imagine majoring in anything but literature in college. I love everything from my friends’ anecdotes to advice columns, and I’m obsessed with a truly humiliating number of television shows. These stories are one of the only things that every society through time and culture and continent has had in common, and many of the ones we tell today have endured for several thousand years. Nothing holds sway over humankind in quite the way that stories do.
In The Blue Parakeet, Scot McKnight offers a light-hearted and exuberant way to read the Bible as literature, as Story. Address...
What do you think about when you picture a jazz band? When I picture it, I think of creativity, spontaneity, emotion, and fluidity, but would you ever think it as a model for leadership? When I first heard J.R. Woodward talk about the term “polycentric leadership,” which he coins in his book Creating a Missional Culture, I thought it sounded a tad odd and complex, until he surprisingly related it to something I could understand - a jazz band. In the book, he paints the picture of polycentric leadership as a jazz band having many talented musicians, seamlessly taking the lead at spontaneous points or when needed. At any time, a jazz band might have a lead musician playing melody, rhythm, or harmony. If polycentric leadership were in the dictionary, Merriam-Webster might define it as many leaders circling around a common center....
On Saturday, 14 November 2015, Paris, France was victim to a heartbreaking terrorist attack. Later that week across the pond, U.S. leaders, citizens, churches, and relief organizations rage in debates on whether or not Syrian refugees should be allowed on U.S. soil. To date, 26 states have stated that they will refuse to allow in refugees. The legality of these claims is debatable, but the action alone sends a striking message: You Are Not Welcome Here!
What is more troubling has been the response from some segments of the church. While I am overjoyed that many Christians of various denominations and political leanings have declared support for refugees, there remains a piercing voice under the Christian banner strongly denying any refugee acceptance. Some of the more “compassionate” deniers have even advocated for allowing in Christian...