Category Archives: Christian Culture

Christian Culture Church Leadership Churches news

Questioning NNU’s President, Part 3: The Vote of No Confidence

Photo by Brandon Hill Photography
Photo by Brandon Hill Photography

NNU’s President, David Alexander, is stuck. His actions, resulting in the firing of tenured theology professor, Tom Oord, have drawn attention from all corners of the the Christian academic community and the Church of the Nazarene. You can read my summary of the situation here. It is my personal belief, that the actions Alexander has taken in recent years discredits his reasons for Oord’s termination now. To demonstrate this belief, I have been writing this 3 part series on Questioning NNU’s President. You can read Part 1 and Part 2.

I was going to write a part 3 today. I was going to detail a faculty meeting with Alexander, where the faculty offered to forgo their raises ($400k) in order to abjure any layoffs (the means for the $400k). I was going to write how Alexander refused to accept the faculty’s plea, citing that no raises and no layoffs were a short-term solution.

I was going to write about that at length. But then something happened yesterday.

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Christian Culture Church Leadership Justice news Theology

Questioning NNU’s President, Part 2: The Capital Education Marketing Failure

Photo by Brandon Hill Photography
Thomas Jay Oord, photo by Brandon Hill Photography

Northwest Nazarene University is in a bit of an upheaval following the announcement of Dr. Tom Oord’s layoff, a tenured and senior theology professor. Oord’s layoff has raised many questions about NNU President David Alexander’s decisions and actions, not only in the recent weeks, but throughout his 7 year presidency at NNU. Decisions about layoffs, reorganization of department staff/faculty, and recruitment strategies have been described as “dictator” like. Alexander has ignored advisement and faculty voice in many of these decisions (the topic of part 3). In this part 2 of a series I’m calling “Questioning NNU’s President,” I hope to shed some light on one particular decision that negatively affected several graduate programs at NNU: handing marketing of graduate programs to Capital Education–a service provider to online educational programs. 

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Christian Culture Church Leadership

Questioning NNU’s President, Part 1: The Graduate Counseling Ed Program

Photo by Brandon Hill Photography
Photo by Brandon Hill Photography

In my last post, I summarized the events surrounding Dr. Tom Oord’s termination at Northwest Nazarene University. I also described the broken trust between the campus community and NNU president, David Alexander.

Over the next three blog posts, I want to ask deeper questions about Alexander’s actions that lead up to the dismissal of Tom Oord. I also want to mention details that I believe every prospective student, declined applicant, pastor, parent, student, staff, and faculty member should know.

I’m calling these posts “Questioning NNU’s President.”

Part 1: The Graduate Counseling Ed Program

Part 2: The Capital Education Marketing Failure

Part 3: The Faculty Request for Collaborative Governance

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Christian Culture Church Leadership Theology

Why is Tom Oord getting fired?

Photo by Brandon Hill Photography
Photo by Brandon Hill Photography

Look, I have no idea why my former systematics professor is getting fired. 

Apparently, Dr. Tom Oord received an email from Northwest Nazarene University’s administration during vacation/holy week, notifying him that he’s out of a job come the end of the semester. On Maundy Thursday, I received an invite to a Facebook group that was sharing information and support for Oord. In one week, over a thousand people joined that group, people have given over $1500 to support Oord, college students have organized protests marked by hash tags and redshirts, wikipedia pages have been developed, fact sheets have been disseminated, the administration has emailed pastors in hopes of clearing things up, and a Q & A session has been set up for students on campus.

But still, no one knows why Oord is being canned. 

Well, I guess someone knows, but none of us do.
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Christian Culture Church Leadership Churches Life

Why I Left the Church of the Nazarene

          Thank you everyone for reading and sharing my story. The reach and response have been absolutely overwhelming! Thank you for all your comments on this page, on Facebook, and through private messages. I read all of them, though I may not be able to respond to all of them. Thank you again. I have also made one correction below: the church that I served and worshipped at while I was in college was an Evangelical Methodist Church, not a Free Methodist Church as I had thought. 

          About 5 years ago, I left the denomination that introduced me to Jesus. I didn’t walk out of the Church of the Nazarene with fanfare, fireworks or middle fingers. My relationship with the CotN had more of a soft closing. But I did leave. I let my credentials lapse.  I’m currently serving, preaching, and pursuing ordination in the United Methodist Church. When I first left the CotN, I got emails left and right from different pastors and friends wanting to know if it was true that I left, why I left, and if I’ll consider staying. Eventually, those kind of emails stopped. Now, I get emails from young Nazarene ministers asking me why I left, if they should leave, where they could go, and how to leave gracefully. I haven’t been shy about this conversation in person, but I haven’t Facebooked or said anything publicly about leaving the CotN, mostly because I love the CotN and I don’t want to hurt my friends there or somehow appear bitter. But I think it’s time I shared my story because I am entirely uncomfortable caring for so many ministry hopefuls who feel like they can’t serve in a church they love.

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Christian Culture Fun Inspiration Life

A Break Up Note: With Certainty

You just think about what you've done, Certainty.
You just think about what you’ve done, Certainty.

Dear Certainty,

Sorry to do it this way, but it’s over.

     We had our time, and it was good. You really strengthened me over the years. You gave me courage to say and do some pretty awesome things. Because of you, I–more or less–stayed out of trouble when I was young. You helped me in college, and that was nice. Because of you, I was never really unsure of where to go with my life. I really need to thank you for that.

     But let’s be honest, Certainty, you’ve gotten me into a number of fights, too. read more »

Christian Culture Eschatology Fun Theology

The History of Rap ture

Oh, there's a video game, too? This just got real.
Oh, there’s a video game, too? This just got real.

“Ray! Their shoes, their socks, their clothes, everything was left behind! These people are gone!”

-Hattie Durham in Left Behind

Apparently there’s this movie coming out this weekend about the end times from a “Christian” perspective. I know this because a lot of people are blogging about how Rapture teachings are not biblical. Rather than arguing about the bibliosity™ of rapture teaching (the kind of teaching found in books and movies like “Left Behind,” “A Thief in the Night,” and “Late Great Planet Earth”), I thought I’d just make a timeline that shows how we got to thinking like this.* Enjoy!

. . .

years 27-37 ad:  

A peasant, pedestrian, preacher, named Jesus, announces the Kingdom of God, is crucified and resurrected. Implications for the next life are established. (might as well start at the beginning.)

years 70-90ish:  

“The Revelation” is written, the coming of Christ and the end of evil, in an apocalyptic style.

year 100:

Everybody starts predicting the date when Jesus will come back, even though Jesus basically said, “don’t bother.”

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Christian Culture Church Leadership Inspiration Theology

How to Make Disciples and Why I Don’t Like the Sinners’ Prayer

     If converting people to Christianity was like buying shoes, the “Sinner’s Prayer” is like swiping the credit card and signing the receipt. It’s kind of the linchpin to a proselytizing session. The goal of all the selling, persuading, and smiling is to get the person that believes differently than you to say the “Sinner’s Prayer.” And like the credit card, the “Sinner’s Prayer” is an invention to make the transaction as simple as possible.

     I was trained as a teenager to proselytize my friends to my faith. I was trained to get into conversations, and the ultimate goal was to seal the deal by getting people to say the “Sinner’s Prayer.”

     My first encounter with the prayer was after a terrifying Christian play. I might have mentioned this before. I was 12 yrs old, and I attended a play consisting of something like 20 vignettes of people just before some sort of freak accident (like a brick wall falling on them). Each vignette then depicted the characters waking up in front of an angel with a book, and if they at some point in their life said the “Sinner’s Prayer” and really believed it, then the Hallelujah Chorus would play and they’d get to go to heaven. 

     However, the majority of the characters had not said this prayer, so Satan and his demons would slink from the wings to drag these poor souls, kicking and screaming, into a hell of cray paper and strobe lights. At the end of the play, some guy that I didn’t know and didn’t know me came out and told me that I needed to give my life to Jesus or I would go to hell, and then he led me and other scared children in the “Sinner’s Prayer.” Transaction complete, I even got a receipt.

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Christian Culture Church Leadership Devotional Thought Inspiration Spiritual Practices

Christian Living is Like Improv Acting

 Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 12.15.19 PMThe second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND… to me, YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.

(Tina Fey, Bossypants)



   I love stories. I love hearing about heroes, conflict, growth, redemption, victory, and love. I especially love hearing true stories, stories of peoples’ origins, struggles, and family. Stories are how we understand ourselves. When we describe ourselves to new acquaintances, we don’t describe our dimensions! We tell stories. Stories are how we understand our world, each other, and even things beyond our understanding.

     As Christians, we are a people of a particular story. It has a beginning, middle, and end, filled with dynamic and round read more »

Christian Culture Music

Derek Webb’s “Heavy”

Derek Joanna and I
Joanna and I with Derek Webb in Kansas City in 2008?

I’ve been a fan of Derek Webb for, well, most of my life. I learned to play guitar listening to Caedmon’s Call’s 40 Acres, and wooing the girls at church camp with Table for Two and Somewhere North of Here (we were pretty sure the women were wooed). He just released a new album, I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry & I Love You, available for digital download right now (hard copies in a month) here. I do make a guest appearance on Everything Will Change, so, you know, I’m kind of a big deal (actually, Derek called for some fans to join an ‘internet choir’ for one of his songs, awesome idea).

     As I’ve been reading some reviews, I’ve noticed that a lot of people are saying Derek is back, as if he’s apologizing for the things he’s been saying that has challenged so many Christians and so much of what we think is Christian.  Some people think this album is an apology to fans that he’s alienated. I couldn’t disagree more. I think this album is more personal and

Look! There I am, thanked and everything!
Look! There I am, thanked and everything!

less activisty, but I think it’s clear in the title track, that what he is saying now is what he’s always been trying to say.

     So, below is a video he just put out of one of his more personal read more »