The Fire of Suffering

“I wish it wasn’t so hard,” she said sitting across the office from me. As was our custom, I sat on the couch and she sat in my desk chair as we talked. I with my cup of coffee, and she opening and closing the laptop in front of her nervously. We met…

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Author: Kelly Edmiston Publish Date: May 23, 2018

Without Vision, Ministry Perishes (Part 3)

Where there is no prophetic vision the people are discouraged. (Prov. 29:18) — The popular definition of insanity is “doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.” Now, psychologists would tell us that isn’t the proper definition of insanity, and they would be right. But it is CRAZY to think that we…

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Author: Daniel McGraw Publish Date: May 22, 2018

Don’t Check Your Wounds at the Door

“The best church I’ve ever been a part of is Alcoholics Anonymous!” I was shocked to hear the words tumble from my friend’s mouth, and embarrassed that he would share such a personal detail of his life with our whole class. The uncomfortably casual quip arose in the midst of a heated class…

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Author: Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby Publish Date: May 21, 2018

When All Your Elder-Candidates “Just Say No”

If you’ve been through an elder selection process recently, I suspect you heard one word more than any other: “No.” Not from the existing elders. Not from the congregation. Not from the staff. No … the “no” you probably heard repeatedly came from elder-candidates who reasoned that “now, is not the time” for…

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Author: Eric Gentry Publish Date: May 17, 2018

What Is Winning?

Multi-billion-dollar corporation Nike built its brand by paying athletes to endorse their product. Michael Jordan became the first famous athlete—or at least the first I can remember—with his own shoe. “Jordans” became both sports equipment and status symbol, to the extent that a decade after his retirement kids are still buying “his” shoe.…

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Author: Justin Simmons Publish Date: May 14, 2018

For Mothers

As a father of two wonderful girls still with me and one gone too soon, and as a husband who watches his wife celebrate two and grieve another, especially on Mother’s Day, I offer this prayer. — God, creator of life, Jesus, sustainer of life, and Holy Spirit, conduit of all life: In…

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Author: Chess Cavitt Publish Date: May 13, 2018

Hate the Sin (insert “eye roll” here) but Love the Sinner

I am not sure what a “trite statement” exactly is, but if there was ever a sentence that would seem to meet the definition … this would be it. “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” Stated so often that after the first two words everyone can finish the sentence. Sounds good on the…

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Author: Steve Ridgell Publish Date: May 11, 2018

Loving Your Fat Friend

Woah! Did I just use the F word?! Fat is a word that I have even heard small children spell. Once I complimented a young girl’s high jump from the top of our church pulpit. That’s probably something most people would discourage a child from doing, but you should have seen this young…

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Author: Celeste Smith Publish Date: May 10, 2018

Backwards: A Dangerous Reading of Matthew 6

Warning: Objects in Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear The Setting: A Typical American Church The Time: Sunday Morning The Scene: A buzz fills the room as people exchange pleasantries. Football games are discussed. Lunch plans are made. The lead pastor/minister takes the stage. “Good morning all! WE are so glad that…

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Author: Adam Daniels Publish Date: May 9, 2018

Squirming on Mother’s Day

Ahhhhhhh, flowers are blooming, the sun is warming, and spring rains are falling. They all point to many things, including Mother’s Day. I appreciate the intent of the holiday very much since I have given birth to three people. Thanks to Hal Runkel, I can’t say I have three children because only one…

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Author: Amanda Box Publish Date: May 7, 2018


The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
Karissa Herchenroeder
Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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