john pavlovitz

A Letter to An LGBTQ Teenager, From Someone Who Loves You

A Letter to An LGBTQ Teenager, From Someone Who Loves You

Dear Friend, I was thinking about you today, as I often do. And as I did (as with each time you come to my mind) I once again remembered. I remembered how difficult and disorienting it was just being a teenager, enduring all the changes and the pressures and the uncertainty each day brought with it, how […]

Continue reading
Call Them While You Can (Grief and The Stuff We Need to Say)

Call Them While You Can (Grief and The Stuff We Need to Say)

Yesterday my daughter did something really funny during dinner—like spit take funny. (This is rather commonplace in our home these days). Not long after finishing the dishes I grabbed for the phone to tell my dad about it. This is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that he died two and […]

Continue reading
Why An Apolitical Christian Faith Doesn’t Exist (If You Listen to Jesus)

Why An Apolitical Christian Faith Doesn’t Exist (If You Listen to Jesus)

You should stick to preaching the Gospel and stay out of politics! – A reader I get this frequently, especially in an election year. I’m not sure what “Gospel” this nice gentleman was referring to but it certainly isn’t the one Jesus mentioned: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to […]

Continue reading
Acknowledging Our Grief Anniversaries

Acknowledging Our Grief Anniversaries

I always struggle on sunny Saturday mornings. It was a brilliantly blue-skyed September Saturday two and a half years ago, when I bounded down the stairs on the way to the gym and noticed my phone vibrating on the hallway table. The caller ID told me that it was my youngest brother Eric and so I rushed […]

Continue reading
The Parable of the Lousy Samaritan

The Parable of the Lousy Samaritan

So in the Gospel account of Luke, Jesus tells a parable (this kind of spiritually loaded word picture), which even if you’re not a particularly religious person you’re probably vaguely familiar with, commonly known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Synopsis: A lone traveler is befallen by bandits and left bloodied and penniless by the side […]

Continue reading
Maybe You Should Stop Calling Yourself a Christian, Christian

Maybe You Should Stop Calling Yourself a Christian, Christian

People love to advertise themselves as Christians; on Facebook posts and in t-shirts and through tattoos, in Presidential campaigns and after football games and on bumper stickers. The Church regularly stands upon a soapbox to claim its collective Christianity, bloggers brandish the title as a calling card, and folks use it as a qualifier in social media conversations. I think we’ve really […]

Continue reading
No Christian, We Don’t Deserve Hell (And We Probably Needn’t Worry About it)

No Christian, We Don’t Deserve Hell (And We Probably Needn’t Worry About it)

So there I was on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the local dog park, gingerly tiptoeing through an eclectic minefield of canine care packages and discussing the eternal destinations of our souls with a complete stranger—as one does. And I was about to step in it. I’d only a few moments earlier met this young woman and her husband, and […]

Continue reading
Good and Loud (A Response To The Politics of Hatred)

Good and Loud (A Response To The Politics of Hatred)

Where’d all the good people go? I’ve been changing channels I don’t see them on the TV shows. —Jack Johnson At times like these it can seem like the darkness is winning. You can look around and simply be overtaken by all that seems so not right in the world; the hatred and bitterness and the steady, rising […]

Continue reading
On the Day I Die

On the Day I Die

On the die I day a lot will happen. A lot will change. The world will be busy. On the day I die, all the important appointments I made will be left unattended. The many plans I had yet to complete will remain forever undone. The calendar that ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me. All the material […]

Continue reading
Christian, Let My Transgender People Go! (When Bigotry Uses the Bathroom)

Christian, Let My Transgender People Go! (When Bigotry Uses the Bathroom)

Some days you read the news and you wonder how we’ve managed to survive as a civilization for millions of years without blowing it all up. Today is one of those days for me. This week Charlotte’s City Council voted 7 to 4 to approve new legislation protecting the LGBTQ community. These measures would allow these folks to shop […]

Continue reading
Breaking Bread With Heretics: The Table of God’s Hospitality

Breaking Bread With Heretics: The Table of God’s Hospitality

I live just down the street from a very conservative Southern Baptist seminary. I often sit at the nearby coffee shop and just observe people, listening as the conversations waft in and out of earshot. (Okay, so technically it’s eavesdropping but I’m currently repenting of it.) Today as I walked up the sidewalk I could […]

Continue reading
Donald Trump is a Christian Leader. The GOP Has Said So.

Donald Trump is a Christian Leader. The GOP Has Said So.

Donald Trump is a Christian. The GOP voters have confirmed this. Never mind that his life and campaign are devoid of anything remotely resembling the Jesus of Nazareth we find in the Bible. Forget that the rampant capitalism, unchecked ego, power lust, and repulsion for strangers oozing from his persona aren’t things anyone reading the Gospels […]

Continue reading
The Arrogance of Evangelical Evangelism

The Arrogance of Evangelical Evangelism

This week a friend shared this video on her timeline. It features well-known pastor and author David Platt speaking about a recent preaching trip to India. Though not at all unique in its content, falling in line with a fairly modern orthodox Evangelical worldview, the video succinctly sums up so much of what I and so many others […]

Continue reading
For Those of Us Needing a Detox From Religion

For Those of Us Needing a Detox From Religion

A few weeks ago I checked in on a friend from our church who I hadn’t seen in a while, asking how she was. Her response about her and her husband’s absence was as revelatory and prophetic as it was honest. “…we’ve needed a religious detox for some time.” A religious detox. Wow, do I get that. […]

Continue reading
The Gospel According to Ellen: Living a Practical Theology of Love

The Gospel According to Ellen: Living a Practical Theology of Love

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Jesus As far as I know and have read, Ellen Degeneres is neither a Christian nor a particularly religious person. No matter. She’s one of the greatest practical theologians our world has and she […]

Continue reading
A Letter From a Backsliding, Prodigal Heretic, To My Christian Friends Still on the Inside

A Letter From a Backsliding, Prodigal Heretic, To My Christian Friends Still on the Inside

To My Dear Christian Friends on the Inside*, I know that you love me. I know that because you love me you’re worried about me right now. I know that you feel that I’ve been led astray down the rebellious path of the prodigal, that I’ve somehow been deceived into darkness and you are gravely concerned for the eternal […]

Continue reading
Your Discomfort is Not Cam Newton’s Problem

Your Discomfort is Not Cam Newton’s Problem

Cam Newton does the Superman. Cam Newton dabs. Cam Newton zooms around the field with arms outstretched and mile wide grin displayed. Cam Newton gives kids footballs and does commercials and dresses to the nines. Cam Newton is flamboyant and exuberant and over the top when he’s winning. Cam Newton pouts and broods and grimaces and shuts down […]

Continue reading
Christian, the Reason So Many People are Losing Faith—May Be You

Christian, the Reason So Many People are Losing Faith—May Be You

Thou shalt not steal. – God Millions of people have lost their religion but they haven’t all given it up willingly. I think we Christians have stolen it from many of them. They’ve looked at our body of work and found it far less than convincing. For all our loud, flowery talk of a God who is […]

Continue reading
Learning to See People Deeply in the Shallows of Social Media

Learning to See People Deeply in the Shallows of Social Media

Social media can be a deceptive thing; beautiful but so very dangerous to navigate. Part of its great value is that it gives everyone an equal voice regardless of their status or social standing. Not bound by any of the restraints they may encounter in everyday life, people can speak freely and their words can find their […]

Continue reading
God is Not a Dude—But I Still Call God “He” Sometimes.

God is Not a Dude—But I Still Call God “He” Sometimes.

God is clearly not a man. God is GOD. God both contains and transcends the beautiful, broad spectrum of gender, wonderfully revealed and encountered in both masculine and feminine ways simultaneously—gloriously androgynous Divinity. God is absolutely not a dude, and though I do my best to speak of God without ascribing gender, I still sometimes refer to God as “He” and here’s […]

Continue reading