The Future of the Church Is Unreal

Virtual reality is poised to dramatically change our culture. Is the church ready? I once stood in the middle of the galaxy and walked up to the sun. I couldn’t wrap my arms around it, but I could pick up the planets—like tiny marbles—and toss them into space. Then I stood on the deck of […]

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Making Peace with “The Big One”

What the Coming Cascadia Earthquake Taught Me About God When I moved to Oregon just over a year ago, I didn’t realize it would cost me my life. At that point I was blissfully unaware that I’d be crushed by ceiling beams. Or trapped under rubble. Or drowned by a 100-foot wall of water raging […]

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Learning from Steelhead Fisherman

What a quirky, Cascadian pilgrimage can teach the church. Each year during the late winter and early spring, crowds descend on the small coastal town of Forks, Washington. They come in pursuit of winter steelhead. For many who make this trip it’s no ordinary fishing adventure; it’s a pilgrimage that borders on the religious. Last […]

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A Refugee-Friendly City

How Vancouver is leading the way in welcoming and supporting refugees. Our world has a refugee crisis. Thousands upon thousands of people are fleeing violence and political unrest in an attempt to stay alive. For some, the journey to save their lives has ended in tragedy and death, as the story of young Alan Kurdi […]

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“What Do You Do?”

Gail Song Bantum on the awkwardness of answering that question as a pastor in Seattle. When Gail Song Bantum first moved to Seattle, she did what most women—and, honestly, what many men—do: she found a new hair salon. After an enjoyable time getting to know her stylist and some of the other women at the […]

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Surprised by Suburban Poverty

How our church is seeking to serve the poor hiding in plain sight. When someone says the word “suburbs,” what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you likely picture an idyllic, if somewhat banal, scene. Manicured lawns, double (or triple) car garages, backyard BBQs, white picket fences, a chocolate lab running in slow […]

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Seek the Welfare of the Suburbs

They may not be seen as exciting, but the ‘burbs need a Christian presence, too. Suburbs are the place not to be. In conversations around creative cultural engagement, I’ve noticed suburbs are viewed as boring, a kind of anti-culture to be avoided if at all possible. Defined by car dependence, generic housing, sprawling development, big box […]

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It’s Not About the Coffee

How I went from training employees to shepherding people. My wife and I are the owners of the Dutch Bros. coffee locations in Spokane, Washington. In the early stages of running Dutch Bros., my management approach was pretty typical: train staff to do their jobs better. Over the years I’ve learned that although training people […]

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New Churches in the None Zone

What do church plants in one of the most post-Christian cities in the nation have to teach us? While national headlines herald the decline of Christianity in the United States, scarcely heard are stories from the thousands of new churches and new forms of church that are springing up each year across the country.  Dr. […]

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Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?

Northwest Christians are caring, conscientious, and friendly. So why won’t they invite you into their homes? I’m a bit of a Nomad. I was born in Alabama, raised near Detroit and, since leaving Michigan at 19, I have lived in many places from Florida to Alaska, North Carolina to Nevada, and all parts in between. […]

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Tapping Into Community

Christians have heard all about the dangers of alcohol but what about the benefits? Imagine something for me. Think of two young Christians doing their best to seem intellectual. They’re college students meeting a group of atheists from the same school. We all know the type. Young, brash, outspoken know-it-alls. Both groups. Now throw some […]

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Theory Matters in Ministry

What I learned lecturing to Asian American Pastors. Early in March 2016, I was invited to Seattle Pacific University (SPU) to do one of the most terrifying things for a Christian layperson to do: teach pastors how to do ministry. Technically, the course fell under a few areas in which I’m supposed to have some […]

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Does Vancouver Have a Soul?

Religion reporter Douglas Todd discusses faith and culture in British Columbia’s largest city. Interview by David Warkentin There aren’t many people, if any, who have spent more time reflecting on religion and culture in Cascadia than Douglas Todd. As a lifelong resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, and a journalist in the area of North American […]

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Love Your Buddhist Neighbor as Yourself

We’re not called to merely tolerate the religious minorities in our midst. “Coexist” bumper stickers abound in Portland, where I work. Like car bumpers that provide cushion from crashes, these stickers signify a desire to cushion people from religious intolerance. We place a high premium on tolerance in places like Portland, though tolerance often masks […]

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Bringing Sanity to the Gay Debate

How a new book by an evangelical theologian and his gay son models Cascadian Christian family values. Space at the Table: Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son (Zeal Books, 2016) is a powerful book with a transformative message. But before I explore the themes of the book, some disclosure is in order. […]

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You Have Died of Dysentery

Encountering non-religious pilgrims along the Oregon Trail. “You have died of dysentery.” Those ominous words, one might recall, were the worst words any eight-year-old could read on the screen while playing The Oregon Trail—that folkloric, now ancient video game those of us of a certain generation played after school on our Apple IIGs’s before mom […]

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