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.

  • Spending Time With the Ancestors

    The scriptures are a deep library of different texts by different authors writing in different context and responding to different questions and concerns. They are a rich tapestry of viewpoints on God and humanity and all of creation. They are a conversation that we can be a part of. And they are part of a conversation that can change the way that we see the world.

    Spending Time With God

    The most important relationship that we have—the relationship that builds all other relationships—is the one that we have with God. Our relationship with God starts with spending time with God. And we spend time with God by going to God in prayer: whether we are speaking or silent, serious or silly, happy or sad. No matter who we are, and no matter where we are on life’s journey, we can fill our faith by spending time with God in prayer.

    A Leap of Faith

    image credit: Untitled by Aron Van de Pol via Unsplash
    Faith is about trust, not certainty. Faith is about loyalty, not certainty. Faith is about leaping into an adventure that is utterly uncertain—and adventure where doubt is very real—but that, just maybe, just might, lead to something amazing. Hold the doubt, take the leap, usher in a reign of love.

    A Glimmer of Hope

    image credit: Untitled by Aron Van de Pol via Unsplash
    Thomas is a hero because he demands extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. Thomas is a villain because he takes it way too far. Sometimes, a glimmer of faith is all that we can see. Sometimes, a glimmer of faith is at that we need. Because if we feed that faith, and if we care for that faith, it might just blossom into something beautiful. We worshipped outside today, so we are audio only on the video!

    The Dark Night of the Soul

    image credit: Untitled by Aron Van de Pol via Unsplash
    Psalm 88 might be the most despairing moment in scripture: a poem of unrelieved gloom, a song of hopeless sorrow, a scripture of all-but-abandoned faith. And God hears it and is moved.

    The Sound of Silence

    image credit: Untitled by Aron Van de Pol via Unsplash
    Everyone wants to hear God in a wind that breaks rocks. Everyone wants to feel God in an earthquake that splits mountains. Everyone wants to see God in a fire that burns every doubt away. And, sometimes, God shows up in those things. But, sometimes, when we are looking for the God who is love, we only find a sheer silence.

    Lord I Believe; Help My Unbelief

    image credit: Untitled by Aron Van de Pol via Unsplash
    We like to say that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains; but none of us can move mountains. We like to think that anything is possible for those who believe; but there are too many times when nothing seems possible. Sometimes the most we can ask for is a smidgen of faith. Sometimes all we can do is beg for a bit of belief. And God is there, too.

    Human

    Human part 7

    The God who is love redeems, repairs, and restores all of creation, including our very humanity. We are our most deeply human when we most fully bear the image of the God who is love. And the work of being Christian—of being a disciple of the one who was most fully divine and most fully human—is the work of learning how to be truly human.

    Justice

    Human part 6

    Faith in the God who is love leads to true justice. Faith in the God who declares that there is enough and more than enough leads to real justice. Love is justice. Hospitality is justice. Charity is justice. And the most human life is a life full of that justice.

    Charity

    Human part 5

    When God called the world into being, God gave freely. When God looked on a broken world with compassion, God gave freely. When we were in desperate need of a savior, God gave freely. Giving freely might just be the act of love that brings us closest to God.
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  • Help My Belief

    July 7, 2024 to July 28, 2024

    We just talked about our unbelief and about how our doubts can lead us to a deeper faith. But once we’ve taken a leap of faith, once we’ve taken hold of a little seed of faith, how do we nurture it and help it grow? That is where the work of discipleship begins. That is when we become practicing Christians.

    Help My Unbelief

    May 26, 2024 to June 23, 2024
    image credit: Untitled by Aron Van de Pol via Unsplash

    It’s easy to think that Christianity is about being certain. It’s easy to let a little piece of doubt keep us from taking the leap of faith. But doubt is a part of human life, uncertainty is a part of deep faith, and God is comfortable with our questions. We are free to cry out, "I believe; help my unbelief!”

    Human

    April 7, 2024 to May 19, 2024

    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

    February 18, 2024 to March 31, 2024

    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

    January 7, 2024 to January 28, 2024
    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

    November 19, 2023 to December 24, 2023

    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…

    October 8, 2023 to November 5, 2023

    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

    September 10, 2023 to October 1, 2023
    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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  • How I Read the Bible

    image credit: Untitled by Emmanuel Phaeton via Unsplash

    Let’s talk about how a progressive pastor—or, at least, this progressive pastor—reads the Bible.

    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:

    Getting EventIn to Play Nicely with Bricks Builder

    This is a little niche, but I spent a lot of time getting EventIn to work will with Bricks Builder for my church's website. So let's talk about how I did that.

    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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