To most of my friends, I am probably the greatest comic book movie nerd that they know. I’m OK with that. Up until the birth of our son in January, I’ve seen almost every Marvel movie on opening night – and I’ve often gone to see the movies more than once while they’re in theaters. I generally read the comic book stories that the movies are based on prior to the theatrical release. I rejoice that we live in a world where I can complain that a Justice League movie just isn’t as good as any of the 19 Marvel movies that have been released.

So it probably comes as a surprise to most of my friends that I have not seen Deadpool, one of the most significant comic book blockbusters that has yet been released. Continue Reading

Why preaching? Why is (or should) the preaching ministry of a local church be an essential part of your life? Continue Reading

Dwight has been working for Dunder Mifflin, an average tech company in an average suburban city, for almost 25 years. At the age of 59, he’s beginning to look forward to his retirement, when he’ll move with his wife to be closer to his children and grandchildren who live several hours away. Unfortunately for Dwight and his wife, with the recent trouble in the housing market, he had to pull some money out of his 401k early in order to keep their home. As such, Dwight knows he’s going to need to keep working for Dunder Mifflin until he’s 67 (rather than 65) in order to make up some of what he has lost.

Every year, his company hires a batch of new employees who are fresh out of college. They’re always those young Millennial types – educated, quick to pick up technology, and full of lots of ideas. While Dwight has viewed them as a bit of a threat to his job security in the past, the new hires have never really impacted him because they’ve never been assigned to his team.

But this year is different. The 25-year-old new hire Jim has been assigned to Dwight’s team. Jim has already been trained in all of the technologies that Dunder Mifflin is trying to begin using as part of one of their new corporate initiatives. Dwight kept his distance from Jim, because as long as Dwight kept hold of the inside-knowledge about the team that he had acquired in his 25 years with the company, he felt that his job would be secure. All of this came crashing down just a few weeks later when Dwight’s boss told him he would be let go at the end of the month. The real punch to the gut was when his boss told him that he would have to train Jim as his replacement before he left. Continue Reading

There is no doubt that we in the West – particularly in the United States – are facing an authority crisis. One only needs to take a cursory look at posts on social media, comments on YouTube, or the stories run on various news channels to see that we have a real problem with authority. Intense disagreements with authority figures or established sources of information have become the norm for the world we live in.

Author Tom Nichols has described this phenomenon in his book The Death of Expertise. He describes what we’re experiencing as the “collapse of any division between professionals and laypeople, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers.”[1] Equal rights means that our opinions must be equal as well; to reject authority and expert figures is to assert our own autonomy and individualism – both of which are national virtues. “The death of expertise,” Nichols writes, is a “rejection of authority in all its forms coupled to an insistence that strongly held opinions are indistinguishable from facts.”[2]

Nichols identifies several causes for what we’re all experiencing today, such as the lost art of conversation, critical thinking being replaced by the Google search engine, and the fusion of entertainment with journalism. Yet regardless of its cause, this shift in the public attitude is marked by the fact that it is now a positive thing to be hostile toward sources of expertise and authority.

It is in this context of our current age that makes the Christian view of authority completely unique. In a world where we have associated the word ‘authority’ with abuses of power, privilege and platform, true Christian authority is marked by an ethic of service, sacrifice and suffering. The Church has been tasked with shining a light on this ethic of authority by Christ himself through the practice of ordination. Continue Reading