How Mainsail Ministries got its name

Monday Musings for August 10, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

Have you ever wondered how Mainsail Ministries got its name? Well, today you find out — but spoiler alert: it's not just because of the alliteration. (Okay... it’s a lot about the alliteration... just not all of it.)

You’ll have to drop back to the King James Version to find the word, though, but name Mainsail does come from the Bible. That being said, I’m not going to give you the citation here. You’ll have to read the main article to get that... which is always the point of these Monday Musings anyway. But since none of that story will make sense without context, let me give you some of its backstories here.

I was not raised in the evangelical tradition, so I came late to the Bible. Not too late, obviously! It’s just that I “envy” (— I know... that’s a tough choice of words for a Christian —) children who heard the Bible stories in the cradle that I had to learn as an adult... although, growing up in the evangelical culture has its own type of peril.

Young people who have never challenged themselves on the doctrines held by their parents are easy targets for the people they will soon meet — like atheistic college professors. For many people, destroying a person’s faith is like shooting Coke cans at ten paces: it’s easy and fun!

This is why Mainsail exists. I think that it is critically important to make hardy Christians. But I think it’s more important to make Christians hardy. The paradox is, the kind of teens you “want” — the complaint ones who agree with their parents — are the ones most at risk; they have little knowledge of apologetics issues, so they will have the conviction of marshmallows.

It’s only through the process of struggle and victory (read rebellion) that a person “owns” his or her Christian faith. So, although I love the way you love your kids, if you are not challenging them — or being challenged by them — they run an increased risk of turning secular. This wasn’t a problem for me, of course, because spiritually speaking, I was raised by wolves.

Another “advantage” I had in my journey of faith is that I’m obsessive — although, not compulsive. What this means is those whispers of cognitive dissonance that sound to you like Cate Blanchett whispering, “If a believer is eternally secure, why are we also told that have to 'persevere'”? sounds to my ear like Gilbert Gottfried.

Living with cognitive dissonance can be challenging for someone who’s not used to hearing the voices. But once you truly “own” a doctrine, you will own it indeed... and that’s the gift I try to give to anyone who will agree to challenge what they believe.

But you don’t make friends by challenging people’s beliefs — yet, that’s the process — and as you will see, that’s where the name Mainsail comes from. Untested Christianity is not Christianity at all; it’s just a collection of pious habits. And because that house of cards will likely be tested some future date, that belief system is merely luck masquerading as faith.

Enjoy the musing. (Cate Blanchett speaks in the first two minutes of this trailer.) (Gilbert Gottfried doing stand-up. Caution: Gottfried’s material — and not just his voice — will be offensive to most Christians!)

(Click here to read the article referenced above. For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)