Joel’s Blog

A Sense of Belonging to Places of Pain

Chris Rice and Emmanuel Katongole have written a short book on Reconciliation that is a really helpful new resource for those who are interested. It’s called Reconciling All Things, A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing.  (IVP). Perhaps the most important thing they suggest, aimed at those who are passionate about Reconciliation, is to…

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Social justice, the gospel, and our social contract.

Mark Noll’s book “America’s God” takes a fascinating look at the development of American theology since before the revolution, with a special focus on the Evangelical Church. Early on he makes the point that American Evangelicalism is as different from 16th Century Reformational Protestantism, as the latter was from Roman Catholicism. This is an important…

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Jobs as a part of a gospel eco-system

Tim Keller spoke here in Chicago this past summer at the Christ+City conference held at McCormick Place. Keller is sort of what Jonah might have looked like if he embraced the city. You can hear him talk about his vision for the city and the church here. Keller spoke about what he calls a “gospel eco-system” for impacting…

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3 min’s on Glen Kehrein’s life

I was honored to be a part of Glen’s homegoing service this weekend. It was the shortest 3 hour service I have ever been a part of. It was held in the gym at Cirle, the very place I met Glen in 1989. So many people from so many different phases of Glen’s life spoke,…

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Glen is not lost.

I remember the first time I visited Glen Kehrein and Circle Urban Ministries in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. My wife and I were newly married, visiting a church that was in the tradition in which Paula and I were raised (The Evangelical Free Church), but in a neighborhood I could only describe as being “from the…

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Sunshine’s New Vision

What in the world is a ministry doing adding words like “justice” and “jobs” to the mission? In the current rhetoric of the jobs/justice/occupy conflict, I think that this is a really good question. Back in 2004 the Board of Directors at Sunshine re-wrote our Mission statement as follows: Sunshine exists to seek renewal in the city through…

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To Understand the Violence, in part.

Dream Deferred, by Langston Hughes   What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does…

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Social Justice, Shalom and the Gospel

The Millenials Generation (1982-2002) of Evangelicals are latching on to the the issues of social justice in a way not seen by their forebears, yet are leaving the church in an equally staggering way. This is not sustainable. In a recent 2 part sermon series at Northwestern University, I was asked to address what Christianity…

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A missing little girl and resurrection

The call came to me about 9:00 Tuesday night, still in the wake of celebrating Easter. “Joel, it’s Sarah. . . Sheneka is missing! . . . “ Sarah explained that 6 yr old Sheneka was last seen on her front porch, that her older sister had been watching her and that she was just…

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World Formative Christianity

Glenn Beck has grabbed headlines recently by equating social justice with nazism and communism. . . really with socialism on the whole. In the over-hyped world of talk radio (both on the left and right) demonizing your opponent is the way of the world. Actually listening, showing the fruit of the Spirit, demonstrating love is…

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