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New sermon series, “Do I Stay Christian?”

A note from Phil about the new sermon series:

On Sunday, Sept. 11th we begin a sermon series inspired by Brian D. McLaren’s book, Do I Stay Christian? He has been one of my favorite authors for many years, putting into words what I so often feel but don’t have words for. Several years ago he was kind enough to endorse one of my first books, which meant the world to me. For years he’s gone out of his way to be supportive to others and I remain ever grateful for him for that.

I also appreciate his transparency. As an author, he expresses what I so frequently feel as a preacher, especially when it comes to how I hope people understand my approach to the kinds of questions he asks:

“I hope you will understand my purpose for this book. I am not writing this book to convince you (or myself) to stay Christian. Nor am I writing this book to convince you (or myself) to leave Christian identity behind forever. Instead, I want to think through the question of retaining or shedding Christian identity with you looking over my shoulder. And I want us to consider how we are going to live, whether or not we identify as Christian…

Wherever you’re coming from, I make this promise: I won’t try to push any foregone conclusion upon you. This is a serious subject, and a personal one. As a thoughtful and morally responsible person, you are the only one who can decide whether you will stay Christian or not. And only you can decide how you will live your wild and precious life after you choose to stay or leave…

When I was in college, I went through a period of deep doubt (one of many) about the existence of God. For a while, I kept my secret, but then I confided in one of my closest friends. “I think I’m on my way out of Christian faith,” I said. He looked at me across the room, with great kindness on his face. “Whether you stay Christian or not,” he said, “I am your friend no matter what.” If we were in the same room, that is what I would say to you.