Archives For church

"10" by Leo Reynolds (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“10” by Leo Reynolds (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

2014 closed out with the usual smattering of Top 10 lists of books that had been meaningful to people during the course of the year. The same people are opening 2015 with lists of resolutions that they hope to keep—changes they want to make to their lives. But I suspect that there are plenty of people out there who don’t want things to change. Real change is disruptive and unsettling. It upsets the status quo and prevents life from continuing on as usual.

With that in mind, I give you, in no particular order, 10 Books to Avoid in 2015 (Unless You Want Things to Change). Seriously, if you like your life as it is right now, don’t read these books. If your horizons are broad enough, stay clear of the things on this list. If you find nothing wanting with your church and your theology, make sure these books don’t find their way into your library. Each one of these books will challenge your sensibilities and may cause big changes in your life. Who wants that?  Continue Reading…

crisis chinese

Popularized in a 1959 speech by President Kennedy, it is said that when written in Chinese, “crisis” is composed of the two characters meaning “danger” and “opportunity.” Though the actual linguistics of such a translation are a bit shaky, the sentiment is a good one: crises are crucial moments with high stakes.

The church is not unfamiliar with crisis. Throughout its long and storied history, the church has faced despotism from within and from without. She has been both the persecuted and the persecutor. She has been both endangered by standing against kings and kingdoms, and she has been endangered by playing bedfellow to Presidents and Prime Ministers.

Continue Reading…

Is you church having services on Christmas Day? What do you think about that?

Albert O. Hirschman’s Exit, Voice, and Loyalty is an excellent book. Hirschman looks at decline in organizations and how members/customers react to decline. He merges theories from two fields, economics and politics, to explain the decisions that members/customers make regarding whether to stay or go.

It has long been thought that exit is the best barometer of the quality of a product. If the quality of a given product by a particular company declines too much, customers will stop purchasing it and move on to a competitor. Seems pretty straight forward, but as Hirschman points out, it is much more complicated than that. Customers don’t act in one unified way. Some have a greater tolerance for decline in quality than others. That is often linked to their mobility in the market, the availablity of alternatives, and the cost (perceived or real) of making a change. These factors combine to present a strata of customers, unequally distributed, that will react to decline in very different ways.  Continue Reading…

The Crooked Mouth?

July 31, 2011 — Leave a comment

Ever wonder why this site is called “The Crooked Mouth”? Well, it is a reference to the origin of my surname, “Campbell”. The consensus among many historians and genealogists is that the Campbell name can be traced back to the Gaelic, “caimbeul” which means “crooked mouth”. It can also mean “curved” or “twisted” mouth. 

When I started this site, I did so under the cover of a pseudonym. You can read more about the reasons that led to that on the “About” page. Even though I was needing to create anonymity on this site, I couldn’t get away from having some sort of link to me. So I chose the site name, “The Crooked Mouth,” as an obscure reference to my real name.

When I think of the image of a crooked mouth, I imagine a wry smile. Indeed “wry” is a good substitute for crooked or twisted. Usually a wry smile is associated with displeasure or condescension. However, it can also be found on the faces of those who recognize the dry humor present in challenging conventionally held beliefs. 

As a follower of Christ, I often find myself with a crooked mouth when talking about the differences between typical American church-going and participation in a community of people earnestly desiring to live out their faith in Christ as Victor and Reconcilier. Rather than become despondant, angry, hopeless, or cynical, I try to keep a smile on my face and press in to the foot of the cross, even if that smile is a rather crooked one. 

I hope that you will continue to enjoy the posts here. For lighter fare, please do check out my blogs on running and on family.

Most wrly,

Anderson “Crooked-Mouth”

Relationship Road Maps

June 10, 2011 — 10 Comments


In a couple of months I will travel with my doctoral cohort to Kenya and Ethiopia. I’ve been to North Africa before, but never sub-Saharan Africa. I’m excited for the experience. I’m also trying to prepare for the difference in cultures. I fancy myself a fairly culturally aware person. I understand to a large degree how my worldview is shaped by the culture in which I have been formed. The direction my doctoral work is taking me has me exploring how a particular facet of my culture, namely consumerism, forms families and shapes their commitments. I will argue that the formative nature of consumerism, while unseen by most, have a greater effect in shaping “Christian” families than their professed faith does. This leads to conflict between what a family says it values and the commitments they actually make. But I digress. Back to Africa. Continue Reading…