I devour books. Not necessarily quality books; more likely, spy novels and similar fare, unless I happen upon something like David McCullough’s biography of Harry Truman, or, next up on my earnest list, “American Creation,” by Joseph Ellis.

My point is that I am doing all my reading nowadays on an iPad. Call it the dark side, if you will, but I love reading on a tablet computer. I enjoy the heft of this device, flipping the page, having consistent lighting.

I’m not shilling for Apple. I am suggesting that technology is making it possible for us to do far more in most of life than we ever could before, including more in ministry, communicating the Gospel and connecting with people. Is each blogpost or email deep, deep, deep? No, but it’s more than we had before.

I still believe clergy and lay ministers ought to be out in the field making their calls. But now we can supplement that face-to-face with iPad-to-iPad and Facebook-wall-to-Facebook-wall. Our communities are no longer limited to those we can literally touch.


Q: A minister once told me I was not a Christian because I did not believe in the virgin birth. Would you consider one a Christian who does not believe in the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, and/or the resurrection?

A: They say that alcoholism is a “self-diagnosed disease.” While experts debate the nature, cause and trajectory of addiction, addicts themselves realize that if they think they have an addiction to alcohol, then they probably do. And, with that admission, they can find the motivation to seek recovery. Without that admission and motivation, what do the experts’ definitions matter?

I think Christian identity is much the same. Experts build walls, create webs of definition and dogma, fashion litmus tests, and try to declare who belongs in the circle and who doesn’t belong. But what does any of that matter when compared to the person who comes to faith, names Jesus as the center of that faith, and sets about trying to live as a Christian? After all, Jesus gave food to whoever was hungry, healed whoever asked, and welcomed to his circle anyone who dared to come – all without benefit of dogma, boundaries, litmus tests and rituals.

Experts tend to create jobs for experts. Believers simply want to know God and to serve God. Your faith might deepen if you looked deeply into resurrection or divinity or virgin birth. It might not. The sign of your faith will be how you live, move and have your being.