David Z Nowell

David Z Nowell

Pursuing Dirty Faith

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Nowell’s prophetic call strikes like a hammer on the anvil of Scripture, yet alongside the ringing iron is a whisper of grace.

Grace and Works

Talking about grace and works in Sunday school, using Peterson’s book on Ephesians. I get the struggle. I understand that guilt and self-reliance push us to try to earn God’s favor by our good deeds.  But at the same time, I also think we set up a false dichotomy between the spiritual (grace) and the physical (works) to the point that we want to dismiss the physical as irrelevant to our lives of faith. But the lesson from the New Testament is that the Lord of Eternity is also Lord of the Present. Remember the story of the healing of …

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The Face of True Religion

Reading Micah 6 this week.  Really glad he is a minor prophet.  I don’t think we would have been friends. . . . what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? I like the formalities of my religion, the stained glass, the order of service, the readings, the hymns. Especially the hymns. First growing up in the church of the south, and then living within her embrace as an adult, I find meaning in the rituals of southern churchhood, both deep and sometimes mundane. From Wednesday-night …

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When Dirty Faith Gets Too Close to Home

I think God must have read my book. He’s letting dirty faith get far too close to home. It is very easy to practice dirty faith while safely ensconced 5,000 miles from the kids of Hope. They become numbers and good stories, not hurting children whose eyes hold pain, and whose hearts understand a side of the world I will never fully comprehend. It is a safe faith because the dirt under my fingernails gets washed away on the twelve-hour flight back home. It is not ever-present, ever-pressing. I like my dirty faith to be clean. But then there is …

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The House Rules: Five Essentials for Your Mission Trip

It’s that time of year again. Yesterday our church commissioned the youth summer mission trip team. Nine teenagers, three adult leaders, headed to Atlanta for a few days of work. Good kids, good sponsors, and a really good project practicing dirty faith among the kind of people Jesus loved. They will join thousands of other churches on the ubiquitous Mission Trip that is standard summer fare for church youth groups throughout North America. If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, read Dirty Faith, or heard any of my radio interviews, you know I’m kind of on the fence about short-term …

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