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5 Reasons The Church Today Needs Matthew Paul Turner & Our Great Big American God

I’ve known Matthew Paul Turner for more than a decade.

We co-wrote Everything Twenties and 20 Things You Should Read together years ago. I remember his short-lived stint as an editor at CCM. Over the years, I’ve watched him grow and mature as a writer, editor, thinker, husband, father, and follower of Jesus. I’ve also had the privilege of watching Matthew—even from a distance—grow into who He was always meant to be—a provocative thought leader.

That said, I’ve never met anyone who has read much of Matthew Paul Turner, his wildly popular blogs, or his books including Churched and Hear No Evil that hasn’t gotten fire-engine-red faced angry. I’m sure that person exists.

Along with fairies, elves, and Sasquatch.

If you’ve read MPT for years and never once had your nose flare, show yourself. Then go to a doctor. You may not have a pulse.

This week, I read his newest book, Our Great Big American God, which provides a travelogue of God from the time He crossed the Atlantic until He arrived in what has become jesUSAMERICA. Beautifully written, Turner forces us to look at how Christianity has been influenced by nationalism, the economy, politics, entertainment, greed, agendas, and the history we prefer to ignore.

In his trademark playful style, some of Turner’s observations made me wince, others left me fuming, still others proved aha! moments. Some vignettes, much like a Gladwell book, only provided a sliver of the true tale, but still a shard we need to be aware of—even if it’s doubtful, questionable, or suspicious.

The reason the church today needs Matthew Paul Turner so much is because:

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Let me introduce you to my friend, Kara. Kara Powell, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Recently named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women shaping culture and the church, Kara is the author or co-author of a number of books including The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith, Can I Ask That?, and Deep Justice Journeys.

This fall, I've invited friends around the sticky barn door table to share what God is teaching them. My hope and prayer is that their words are a blessing and encouragement to you.

9 Words to Add to Your Vocabulary Starting Today

by Kara Powell

Snorkel equipment. Check.

Books for the airplane. Yup.

Exhaustion and a sense of being overwhelmed. In spades. 

So went my packing list for our family vacation at the start of this summer. Fatigue and a sense of overcommitment weren’t on my list, but they were so embedded in the weeks leading up to our trip that they snuck into my luggage uninvited.

Busyness has always been a struggle for me. Continue Reading...

Let me introduce you to my friend, Jennifer. Jennifer Dukes Lee  is an award-winning storyteller and a grace dweller, blogging about faith at www.JenniferDukesLee.com. She is author of the book Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval—and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes. Jennifer and her husband are raising crops, pigs, and two humans on the Lee family farm near Inwood, Iowa. Follow Jennifer on Twitter or Facebook.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I've invited friends to share their words in this space as we explore the mysteries of prayer during the Summer Bible Study.

Guest Post from Jennifer Dukes Lee

by Jennifer Dukes Lee

God saved my life the day I changed my prayers. I stopped asking Him to fix things. And I started asking Him to break things. Namely, my heart.

God would need to break me out of the miserable heart-prison I was trapped in.

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Let me introduce you to my friend, Holley. Holley Gerth is the best-selling author of several books, including You’re Going to Be Okay. She's a God-sized dreamer, the wife of Mark, and a friend to YOU. Hang out with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I've invited friends from all over the blog-o-sphere to share their words in this space as we explore the mysteries of prayer during the Summer Bible Study.

When You Need to Know You’re Going to Be Okay

by Holley Gerth

She says it and means well, “It’s going to be okay.”

And I think, “No, it’s not…but I am.”

It’s the paradox I’m learning to live with these days as my dear Grandpa Hollie faces illness and is getting ready for heaven at age 93. It doesn’t matter that I’ve written a book about being okay—it still hurts. And that’s the whole point. Continue Reading...

Let me introduce you to my friend, Emily. Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. Follow Emily on Twitter or Facebook.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I've invited friends to share their words in this space as we explore the mysteries of prayer during the Summer Bible Study.

Emily and Solange

by Emily T. Wierenga

I didn’t know I was praying.

All I knew was I was hungry. Sobbing into my pillow with my skin pulled tight across my rib cage begging the cotton, which smelled like the wind—because Mum hung our sheets on the clothes line strung across the skies of northern Ontario—to be normal.

No, I thought prayer was what I did at the very end of the night, in those final moments before falling into a sleep bloated with dreams of chocolate and sandwiches and cakes.

The long rote of a thing this preacher’s kid did which begged God not to send her relatives and friends to hell. It was a detailed list of names, and if I missed one it felt as though they were damned. And I put it off until the very end because this nine-year-old didn’t know God was love. She just knew life was as hard as the wooden church pews she sat on each Sunday morning.

But when the nurses told me at thirteen that I was a miracle; when they looked at this hypothermic girl whose braces showed through her teeth, whose hair was falling out in clumps, when they said Someone out there loved me, I knew then those nights of begging had been some kind of letter-writing to the sky. Continue Reading...