One of the biggest ongoing issues I face as an adult from growing up in sheltered, fundamentalist Christian circles is how much I take for granted that the rest of the world knows about extremism. Things that seemed perfectly normal to me as a child elicit shocked reactions from others when I talk about them.

It occurred to me today that Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert don’t surprise me — at all. Right now, it sure seems like there is a large swath of Americans, both conservative and liberal, that are shocked that people who embrace their kind of…


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It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the news, by politics, by the constant onslaught of issues that seem never-ending and unnecessarily complex. It’s easy to feel like the issues facing us are nearly impossible to solve.

They’re not. It’s time for a return to common-sense politics, a retreat from the smokescreening that so many politicians are so skilled at, that make us average folks feel overwhelmed by it all, to where we want to throw up our hands and disengage completely.

Certainly, many issues are complex, and require complex strategy and exceptional leadership to resolve. But many, many issues are…


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Order of Service 12/13/2020

Welcome: Kyle

Music: Joel

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, o come
Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, rejoice
Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high And order all things far and nigh To us the path of Knowledge show And…


Photo by Ben Noble on Unsplash

When I was in my early 20s, I had a hard-to-obtain meeting with the COO of the organization I was working for.

It’s hard to overestimate how much the staff and interns idolized this guy. He was and is a fantastic leader, always dedicated to improving his leadership ability, emotional intelligence, and communication. …


Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Dearest Ones,

I’m writing today to encourage you, if you find yourself in a similar situation to me.

Like many Americans, my livelihood was drastically disrupted by COVID-19. On top of that, we moved across the country in a move that was already planned, right as everything closed down. That means open jobs in my realm of expertise are rare, music gigs are non-existent (my wife and I have always made extra money as artist-musicians), and trying to build a new network in a new city is damn near impossible.

It’s discouraging. It feels like this is never going to…


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The “Religious Right,” it seems, is principally concerned with two things when it comes to reforming society: abortion and “religious freedom.”

This is ironic, because, as “people of the Book,” ostensibly, Christians ought to emphasize what Scripture emphasizes, no?

Doubtless, there were forms of abortion in ancient times. The Bible, Hebrew or Christian, has absolutely nothing to say about the topic. Not one word.

This is not to say that abortion is necessarily a good thing, or that we shouldn’t have ethical conversations about it on a national level, or even in our political discussions. …


Photo by Marco Oriolesi on Unsplash

One of the most sacred duties we have as American citizens is the right to vote. For whatever holes in the system you might think there are, or mechanisms that stifle the democratic process and keep the status quo intact, the fact remains that we still have the right to vote, and however small our voice may be in a single vote, it is still powerful, and yes — it still makes a difference, especially when raised in tandem with thousands or millions of like-minded individuals.

If you doubt that, just look at the last decade of national politics: the…


One thing I learned from the cult of my youth: Dressing lies pretty don’t make it the truth

Photo: Jenny Getter/EyeEm/Getty Images

When I was 7 years old
I walked down an aisle
Because I didn’t want to
Go to hell
What a thing to tell a kid
And as long as I can remember
I wondered
If anyone could break the spell
Of the shame I felt

As a 7-year-old boy

When I was 8 years old I learned
That women who wore jeans
Were probably gonna go to hell
My grandparents too
Who didn’t quite believe
In Jesus and his love
Would face his wrath as well
Oh the fear I felt

As an 8-year-old boy

Mama, don’t you kid…


Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

I’m not okay today.

Two weeks ago, a childhood friend of the family in her mid-40s suddenly passed away, after complications from what should have been a routine medical procedure with her diabetes that unexpectedly turned disastrous. She left behind a 15-year-old son, orphaned now after losing his father a decade prior.Saturday morning, an eerily similar medical story came to its conclusion for a 37-year-old author/influencer/theologian and mother of 2 small children named Rachel Held Evans. Rachel spoke the language of my heart the way few ever have, putting words to the hopes, doubts and desires deep in my own…


I feel like I lost a close friend this weekend. I did, really. More than a friend — a mentor, a guide, a hero.

I never met Rachel Held Evans personally, but we were bound to, sooner or later. Maybe this summer at the Wild Goose Festival. Perhaps at a conference or concert or a Liturgists gathering. But it was going to happen. We were going to be friends. I could feel it in my bones.

I’ve told people before that Rachel and I share a patronus, usually when I’ve pressured them to accept one of her books from me…

Joel Michael Herbert

Husband. Father. Artist. Storyteller. Armchair Theologian. Activist and politician. Gryffindor. Divergent. He-him.

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