Hello, I'm Christopher Marlin-Warfield

I’m a pastor, an author, and a nonprofit development and communications professional. My passion, my mission, and my calling is bringing people together to do good, with a particular focus on serving people who are experiencing poverty and other forms of marginalization.

  • Love

    Human part 3

    Sometimes love is easy and safe; that love is good. Sometimes love is risky and vulnerable; that love is strong. Sometimes love is reckless and dangerous; that love is holy. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Love dangerously.

    Faith

    Human part 2

    Our faith is in a God who feeds ravens (even though they do not work) and clothes lilies (even though they do not spin) and invites us into a reign of love (even though we did not earn it). Our faith is in a God who declares that there is enough and more than enough. So do not worry! Have faith and live!

    Home

    Human part 1

    God’s reign of love is not waiting for us after we die, or following a rapture, or at the end of the world. God’s reign of love is right here and right now. God’s reign of love is in us and around us and among us. The only thing keeping us away from new and abundant life—the only thing keeping us under the powers of sin and death—is us.

    Stepping Into Life

    The God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ and defeats the powers of sin and death and everything that makes life less. Even after we betray him, and crucify him, and bury him, he gets up and invites us to be his people. Life is here! Love is here! Resurrection is here! Spread the good news!

    The Peaceful Revolutionary

    The God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ and starts a revolution of love. The world as it is fears that. The powers of sin and death and everything that makes life less fear that. And, sometimes, we fear that. But the revolution of love is the a revolution of extravagant, abundant, outlandish, reckless life. It is, in other words, a resurrection.

    Following the Savior

    The God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ and calls us to follow him: to drink from his cup, to be baptized with his baptism, to serve as he serves. The Christ who we imagine as a conquerer is easy. The Christ who we imagine as a mascot is simple. The Christ who calls us to follow him is hard. But it is that Christ who leads to life.

    The True Vine

    The God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ and commands us to abide in love. We are planted in love. We are watered by love. We are rooted in love. And because we abide in love, we bear the fruit of love. That is how people know that we are Christians: by our extravagant, abundant, outlandish, reckless love.

    Flipping the Script

    The God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ and reverses the ways of the broken world. It isn’t that the greatest are those who are served; instead the greatest are those who serve others. It isn’t that everyone who is not for Christ is against him; instead everyone who is not against him is for him. We imitate Christ by serving one another; we imitate Christ by welcoming all.

    The Good Shepherd

    The God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ: not as a conquerer, not as a mascot, but as a good shepherd. In Christ, God gathers creation together. In Christ, God cares for creation from the side of creation. In Christ, God lays down their life for creation. And that is an idea that we can barely wrap our heads around.

    Stepping Into Death

    The God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. And the hard part about Lent is that we know what is going to happen: before the one in whom the divine and the human—the holy and broken—meet comes back to life in the glory of the resurrection… he is going to die.
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  • Human

    If the Christian story begins with a premise and a problem, it ends with a promise that we are still living into: a story about how all of creation could be a beautiful and loving place. It is a story about how we can leave the inhumanity of a broken existence and really actually be human.

    Stepping Into Life

    The story of God-as-one-of-us is a story about redemption, or salvation, or liberation; it’s a story about how we are freed from the brokenness of the world and empowered to live in the world as it should be. It is a story about how love becoming human helps humanity become more loving.

    One of Us

    image credit: Untitled by Matt Collamer via Unsplash

    The thing that makes Christians unique is that we believe that God became one of us: a real, actual, historical human being, born among a dispossessed people in an occupied land, who was executed through the machinations of a powerful empire. We believe that person is the clearest image of the one who creates, sustains, and redeems the world because they love the world.

    Broken

    The Christian story starts with a premise and a problem. The premise is that the world is created and sustained by a God who is love. The problem is that the world does not reflect that love. The Christian word for that brokenness—that distance between the way that the world is and the way that the world ought to be—is sin.

    God Is…

    It’s easy to imagine God as an angry man who lives in the sky, makes a bunch of arbitrary rules, and then punishes people like you and me for breaking them. And that is a God who a lot of people preach, and who a lot of people believe in, and who a lot of people fear, and who a lot of people reject. But it is not a God who I recognize; because the God who I know—who I find in scripture and tradition—is love.

    Stories & Maps

    image credit: Untitled by Suhash Villuri via Unsplash

    We all tell stories. We tell stories about ourselves and about others. We tell stories about the way that the world is and the way that it could be; and—probably more than we'd like to admit—those stories make up our reality. In this series, I talk about the stories that we tell, the stories that other people tell for us, and how we might start telling a better story.

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  • God Does Not Make Mistakes

    I've had a couple of conversations about trans identity where someone has said, as a way of rejecting those identities, "God does not make mistakes." So let's talk about how trans people are not mistakes.

    God’s Pronouns

    image credit: Untitled by Alexander Grey via Unsplash

    A while ago, in worship, I used feminine pronouns for God. And I heard about it. So let's talk about God's pronouns.

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  • Books:

    Radical Charity

    Right now, there is a movement in churches and nonprofits arguing that charity is toxic, that helping hurts, and that the entire nonprofit sector needs to be reformed to truly lift people out of poverty. These charity skeptics are telling Christians that traditional charity deepens dependency, fosters a sense of entitlement, and erodes the work ethic of people who receive it. Charity skepticism is increasingly popular; and it is almost certainly wrong.

    Radical Charity weaves together research and scholarship on topics as diverse as biblical scholarship, Christian history, economics, and behavioral psychology to tell a different story. In this story, charity is the heart of Christianity and one of the most effective ways that we can help people who are living in poverty. Charity–giving to people experiencing poverty without any expectation of return or reformation–can save the world and help make God’s vision for the church a reality.

    Posts:

    Verifying Your Church with Percent (If Your Church is under an Umbrella Exemption)

    Percent verifies nonprofit organizations for Google, Canva, and other tools that have reduced or free tiers for nonprofits. But getting verified when you're a church is an annoying process. Let's talk about how my congregation did it, and how your congregation can, too.

    Why Schools Hiring “Chaplains” Is a Terrible Idea

    In the end, schools hiring real actual professional chaplains might be okay. But schools hiring "chaplains" is a terrible idea for the same reasons that hiring "teachers", "counselors", "nurses", or anyone else with sarcastic quotation marks around their titles would be.

    Who Decides What is ‘Political’ or ‘Partisan’?

    I do not believe that the church should cede the ground and allow political actors to circumscribe our voice. Instead, the church—and every other body of civic life, including the university—should stand up and speak out as a partisan for its own cause. And I believe that by enlarging the conversation and moving beyond the binary of Republican and Democrat, we will contribute to a better politics and, thereby, to a better world.

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