Voices

Christmas presence

Christmas presence

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  The warm glow of Christmas lights fills the room. Candles flicker on the cake. We break out in song. “Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday, dear Jesus Happy birthday to you!” It has been our family tradition every...
Thriving as a teen in a tough world

Thriving as a teen in a tough world

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  It’s Wednesday evening at Providence Wesleyan Church (PWC). Three teens sit on the coffee counter while others sporadically arrive. Cheyenne, the youth pastor, greets a new student and they quickly bond over their love of books....
Being “doers” of James 5:16 in recovery ministry

Being “doers” of James 5:16 in recovery ministry

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  I love the story about our Wesleyan Way of discipling via small groups and how the movement began. You know the one—back when Rev. John Wesley was approached by a handful of persons, “who appeared to be deeply convinced of sin, and...
Time to fix the faucet

Time to fix the faucet

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  The faucet in my children’s bathroom has a very slow drip. It has dripped from the first day we moved in, over six years ago, so I know it dripped before we moved in. I need to fix it, but I haven’t yet because while it might just need...
The disciple’s sixth sense: seeing in the dark

The disciple’s sixth sense: seeing in the dark

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  As a disciple of Jesus Christ, my life is about knowing God and being found in him. I’ve noticed, though, that for many, the path to knowing God is not intuitive. Furthermore, this path seems to go dark from time to time. In some...
Border Stories: Meet me in the middle

Border Stories: Meet me in the middle

I boarded a plane to El Paso late on a Sunday evening. The flight would only last an hour, and so I settled down in the middle seat between two young women. Both women appeared to be about the same age and race, both friendly as I squeezed through with my big camera...
A face worth seeking

A face worth seeking

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  My three-year-old’s hands are always sticky. It’s typically snack related, but I also have a theory that she is biologically predisposed to sweat a jam-like substance from her palms. One can never be certain. When she wants my...
Tearing down the wall of prejudice 

Tearing down the wall of prejudice 

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  The first recollection I have of watching how an immigrant was treated dates back to my teenage years in my native Brazil. A woman looking very distraught and dismayed entered our home, carrying a small suitcase and speaking to my...
Welcoming Christ

Welcoming Christ

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  “Christ’s identification with suffering becomes the hiddenness of God’s glory, and among the marginalized we experience the presence and power of God to redeem.” (Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of...
“We space”: an invitation for every church

“We space”: an invitation for every church

In a recent trip to the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez border, I had the opportunity to sit with a lovely indigenous woman who has been a doctor serving faithfully in the Anapra region of Mexico for decades. Doctora Mendoza is not only caring for people in a very poor town but...
Model worshippers and “trendy” legalism

Model worshippers and “trendy” legalism

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  Occasionally, while grading papers or doing some menial office task, I will play live worship music via YouTube. I rarely watch the videos, but when I do I am sometimes struck by a strange observation. In a few of these famous churches,...
White Christians and multiethnic ministry

White Christians and multiethnic ministry

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  The theme of racial reconciliation in the church has perhaps never been more popular than it is today. I am grateful for the many pastors who use the pulpit to decry racism and call for the unity of God’s people of every ethnicity....
Children of light

Children of light

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  Let me begin by saying I’m grossly unqualified to start this discussion, but it’s still my responsibility. I sat with fellow church staff questioning how seven teens from the same school could attempt suicide, one of them succeeding. We...
Border Stories: When I was hungry, you fed me

Border Stories: When I was hungry, you fed me

Our team pulls in to the gated parking lot of what looks like a repurposed restaurant: flat red roof, stucco walls, absent sign. In the distance, the Franklin Mountain Range creases the middle of El Paso, separating east and west. We are on the eastern side, and the...
Border Stories: The kingdom in our midst

Border Stories: The kingdom in our midst

We met him on a dry, dusty Tuesday in Juarez, Mexico. I will call him Leon,* a man God used to show us the kingdom. He was a resident at Casa del Migrante, a temporary home and refuge for migrants. Leon, his wife and their two children had recently made the 2,000-mile...
Border Stories: What about “those” people

Border Stories: What about “those” people

I am not a newcomer to the discussion of immigration in the United States. Since 2006, I have spoken in many places, including congressional hearings and press conferences. I have met with multiple senators and Congress people, and even President Obama in the Oval...
Generously selfish

Generously selfish

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  I have realized that I can be generously selfish. In other words, I am generous with doing what I want to do and not doing what I don’t want to do. I would rather read than vacuum. I would rather play soccer with my son than wash...
Sunday best

Sunday best

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  I grew up in a church where we put on our Sunday best. Pristine shoes click-clacked up a concrete walkway lined with azalea bushes. Casseroles were carried, friendly glances exchanged and everyone had an assigned seat. My assigned seat...
What is your spiritual love language?

What is your spiritual love language?

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  I recently asked my students, “What do good Christians do? What behaviors should be expected of them? What practices are prioritized in their lives?” They wrote their answers on the board: go to church, tithe, read the Bible, pray....
Shifting worship in the West

Shifting worship in the West

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  The missional frontier has shifted, and we are the new missionaries. The church no longer holds the position as the chaplain of society in our late modern or postmodern world. We no longer live in a culture that is looking for...
How love and pro-life ministry mix

How love and pro-life ministry mix

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  A decade ago, my wife and I found ourselves on an abortion clinic sidewalk for the first time. In college, one of our high school classmates had left a life of partying and pills to follow Jesus. He had become a street preacher. John...
Trusting God’s trajectory

Trusting God’s trajectory

 Learn more About Voices Blogs  “The Eagle has landed.” Those words changed humanity forever. This coming July the world will celebrate the 50th anniversary of humanity landing on the moon. July 22 will mark the anniversary of when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and...