Archive for the 'Basics Of Faith' Category

(Posts Archive)

The LORD Bless You…

“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” Temple leaders wanted to know by what authority Jesus had turned over the tables of the moneychangers. It was then that he made his veiled comment about rebuilding this temple in three days— a comment that even his disciples didn’t get until after […]

Beyond the Curtain

With the passing of someone we love, our minds go to questions of what lies beyond the curtain. And as we honor and remember those who have preceded us in death, I’m guessing that many of us will also admit that we love God to the extent that we believe he loves us— and those […]

Divine Parallels

During three years of public life, Jesus told religious leaders who envied him that he only said and did what his Father told him to say and do. Hours before his death he told his disciples that— as they had heard the voice of the Father in him— so they would soon hear his voice […]

The Humility of God

The thought might seem laughably self-contradictory. If it is so, why does the God of the Scriptures seem pathologically consumed with his desire for praise and glory? Why would he demand that we love him? But if it is not the case, how could Jesus be mirroring something about the heart of his Father and […]

One Thought!?

AW Tozer (1897-1963) famously claimed in The Knowledge of the Holy that “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” While recently reviewing the book to see if I could find more context for the quote, I was reminded of how the Apostle Paul described his […]

The Short Answer

“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of […]

Teachable Moments

In the last post we raised the question of whether a person of questionable motives can say something profound about the heart of our God. Like the wise woman of Tekoa, the high priest who presided over the condemnation of Jesus also shows us that the goodness of our God can show up in some […]

A Wise Woman from Tekoa

After deceiving David with a  made up story of woe, a wise woman from Tekoa says, “All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when […]

Before and After

In Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis describes the mystery of his spiritual awakening. Of a certain sunny day, he writes, “When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did. Yet I had not exactly spent the journey in thought. Nor […]

Room to Breathe

When the messenger of Christ urges his readers to stand firm against the divisions, arguments, hypocrisy, and enslavement of legal solutions— and to believe that it is for freedom that Christ has made us free—he was not writing like the man he used to be. Instead of reasoning like the legal scholar of his earlier […]

Implications

Sometimes, and maybe always, the Scriptures make sense only if we read between the lines. For instance, what’s the point of Israel—if God doesn’t choose everyone? Why would Jesus’ answer about the greatest of all commandments be so good and wise— if (behind the scenes of our collective wrongs and chaos) God didn’t love us […]

The Humility of God

Humility without a trace of hypocrisy. That’s what set him apart in the moment of his execution. Instead of offering a blistering, blustering attack on his accusers, he gave fulness of meaning to a song sung by a lesser king. O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; […]

A Time to Wonder

Others had said something similar. But it was during a dark time in my life that, through the novels and Unspoken Sermons of Scottish author and poet, George MacDonald (1824-1905), I began to take to heart— what I now believe to be some of the most helpful counsel and caution I’ve ever heard: If, while reading […]

TPOJAP #2

When Walt Disney’s classic animation of Bambi was re-released in theatre’s, many moms and dads relived childhood memories by bringing their young sons and daughters to the see the tender story of a little deer. A friend’s sister, whose husband was an avid outdoorsman with an impressive trophy room, was one of those parents. With […]

The Politics of Jesus and Paul

Early on we learn that religion and politics are two subjects that intrigue, animate, identify and divide us. Neither is easy to avoid in a world that is at the same time so material and spiritual. We are drawn into politics by real issues that tend to leave us with the impression that all of […]

Chosen

In sport being chosen can be about making the team. In employment it may involve making it into and beyond a final group of applicants. Being chosen or not can be so personal. When we’re the one brought in— or left out, it can seem like it’s all about us.  Up close, it sometimes is. […]

Quote Unquote 2.0

We’ve talked before about something that seems important beyond words. Together with the New Testament Acts of the Apostles, the letters of Paul, Peter, James, and John refer often to Jesus but hardly ever quote him. The four Gospels do. But after his ascension to the Father, actual quotes of Jesus are few and far […]

Words and Statistics

Over the years we’ve seen together that words, like statistics, can be used to say or hide just about anything we want to say or hide. We’ve also seen what happens when words and thoughts, whether ours or God’s, are used to express the wonder of shared cares and smiles. I say this with renewed […]

On the Other Side

In the Garden of the Olive Press, Peter was too tired to pray with the One who had prayed for him (Luke 22:31-32). In the cold darkness that followed, he denied ever knowing the teacher from Nazareth. If Jesus hadn’t done for Peter what Peter couldn’t do for Jesus, who can imagine what the rest […]

It’s Time to Pray

In the Garden of the Olive Press Jesus urges his disciples to pray. If that’s all we were told we might imagine him saying, “Pray for me, for I have come to the moment for which I came into the world.” Instead, Jesus reminds them to pray for themselves, as he has been praying for […]

Riddles

The teacher writes four words on the blackboard, one over the other— defeat, deduct, defense, and detail. “Class”, she says, “Let’s see if we can spend the next hour using these four words in a sentence.” Little Johnny says, “That’s easy,” walks up to the board and adds four more, Defeat of Deduct went over Defense before Detail. Johnny is a […]

From What?

From the good conversation around the last post, I think many of you are way ahead of me. But let’s stay with the question, “Saved from what?” Let’s think together about what we hear when, “The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation…” says “Here I am! I stand at the […]

World Views

Fifty years ago, Bill Anders of the three-man Apollo 8 flight crew took a picture of earth that changed our view of the world. In an article for Space.com, he describes what it was like to give us a different picture of ourselves at a time when our world seemed to be unraveling. He recalls […]

Herod the Great

I remember the day in May 2007 when Professor Ehud Netzer, an archeologist from the Hebrew University, announced the discovery of Herod’s Tomb among the ruins of the Herodium, a man-made mountain fortress built about 3 miles southeast of Bethlehem.   The emotions surrounding the announcement remind me of what Matthew tells us about the day Herod and […]

Unhitched and Irresistible

I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately with recent YouTube videos and writings of Andy Stanley on a subject that has compelled him to take some risks. Andy’s current video series, “The Bible for Grown-ups—last things first”, offers his reasons for writing “Irresistible” in an effort to explain the life-changing difference between the Old […]

Who for Who?

Does God exist for us, or do we exist for God? Isaiah spoke of the God who acts for his own Name and glory (Isaiah 48:9-11). Yet, the Apostle Paul asked, “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). He follows with, “He who did not spare his own Son, but […]

Overthinking

I’ve become more aware lately of how many costly mistakes I’ve been making by not taking the time to stop, take a breath, and think—and by my inclination to think too much. Am guessing you’ve noticed, as I have, that inspired words meet us on both sides of the road. The first Psalm urges us to meditate day and […]

Otherness

As the Holy One of Israel, Jesus gives us a new understanding of the God who asks, ““To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. (Isaiah 40:25). Long before Jesus, the prophet Isaiah had been overwhelmed by his vision of One who caused him to say “Woe is […]

The Rule of Law

In the beginning, there was 1. Then 10 multiplied into hundreds— and thousands. Later we learn there is a time for everything—a time to see the importance of laws… and a time to see their worthlessness. If Jesus is in the process of renewing and refreshing all things, how does he throw light on what […]

All things New

While thinking about some of the last words of the Lamb in the 21st chapter of Revelation, I found a quote from Terrance Klein in America… The Jesuit Review”. Klein writes of a well-known American actor and filmmaker, “He has many critics, as a man and a moviemaker, but in his movie “The Passion of […]

Believe it or Not

As much as I don’t like snakes… one more thought. In the Garden, the fiction sounded believable. The words, logic, and appearance of the Serpent—  encouraged trust rather than alarm. The prelude to the sequel is easy to forget. An embittered enemy, disguised in the appearance of a pre-cursed creature, seemed to offer a better hope […]

The Gospel of Matthew

Two days ago, Steve from West Virginia took time to tell us about the unexpected kindness that he and his son Matt saw at a local Dairy Queen. Their experience reminds me of another Matthew and another story. The New Testament Gospel according to Matthew shows how impressive and memorable mercy is when it shows […]

Empathy

Why does the Bible say nothing about how Eve was feeling after her first son killed his younger brother? Did word get back to her that, when asked where Abel was, Cain had said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Did she know that he seemed more concerned about losing the affections of his fields than […]

For Better or Worse

Better than we think—and worse. As in life itself, in all of us— there is something of the best and the worst. For me, it’s a wake up of a thought—that started in the Garden, and keeps beeping in the background, like an unexplained but familiar-sounding reminder that something about us—and everything— isn’t as good […]

Something in Everything

When you know what to look for, you see it everywhere. An exaggeration to make a point? Yes or no, the idea implies its opposite. The author of the 136th Psalm seems captured by the thought. 26 times in 26 verses he says things like— To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love […]

In a Tent

In another post, we thought together about a promise that sounds too good to be true. The Blessing1 that was to be pronounced by Aaron and his sons on the family of Israel, with implications for us2, was authorized by God even after Aaron had lied about a golden calf that mysteriously jumped out of the […]

The Rhymes of Life

Mark Twain is one of those attributed with the quote that “Although history doesn’t repeat itself, it often rhymes.” The truth goes deeper than words or events. When the Word of God was tested by Satan in the wilderness(Matthew 4:4) (Deuteronomy 8:3), the last Adam was challenged to do for himself what the first Adam […]

The Gift of Song

This past week I’ve been reading a description of the 1904-1905 Welsh revival by G. Campbell Morgan. One of the things that caught my attention is that the author repeatedly describes the role of song in this revival. Morgan notes his personal observation that “The Revival is borne along upon billowing waves of sacred song…It […]

All Things New

I ended the last post with the thought that— the best time to “judge” may be when we can do so at our own expense, for the sake of others. If this is so, it is only because the Judge of the world is already in the process of making all that is broken— new […]

A Time to Judge

Many of us grew up hearing the quote, “Judge not according to appearance but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24 KJV). I don’t remember reading those words in light of the motive and moment in which Jesus said them. Now I’m looking at them again in a story of rivals who were accusing our Teacher of […]

Spirit of Truth

Misinformation interrupted by deafening explosions of truth. We’ve been here before. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, went on record in behalf of One who at his own expense exposed a world of darkness for the good of all. Before his stunning death, Jesus left his disciples with more than partisan moral arguments to selectively expose […]

Conspiracy Theories

With the release of the Kennedy Assassination Papers, we may find ourselves in the mirror. Some of us are drawn to conspiracy theories. Some of us aren’t. Am wondering whether every culture has its own examples of tragic events that divide citizens between those who believe the official story, and those who don’t. What is apparent, […]

The Enemy

When faced with unspeakable evil and terror, it’s probably important to remember that the first move into our darkness was not a good God’s judgment of sin. It was the Accuser’s shrewdness in leading our first parents to see a forbidden tree as evidence of God’s self-centeredness. The Accuser never stops accusing God— or us— […]

Acts of God

What was the man thinking when, in the tragic losses of war, fire, and wind, he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21)? Is it the hand of our Father […]

Love Songs

In 1936, American song writer, Billy Hill, wrote “The Glory of Love”. Before long a nation was singing, “You’ve got to give a little, take a little and let your poor heart break a little. That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.” Fifty years later, in 1986, another song reached the top of […]

The Lion and The Lamb

Let’s take the upside down nature of the kingdom of God a bit further. If I understand authors like N.T. Wright and Gregory Boyd, here’s why they are suggesting that the holy war of God is a real battle— waged in terms and drama that are understood only by seeing the Lamb-like heart of a […]

The Hidden Right and Left

What were James and John thinking when they infuriated the other Ten by asking for the honor of sitting at Jesus’s right and left— in his coming Kingdom? (Mark 10:35-37, 41) Jesus had just warned the Group, “We’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. […]

A Final Solution

In 1979 George Steiner wrote a controversial work of fiction that ignited an international firestorm. In The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H., Steiner  created a scenario in which an aged Adolf Hitler was found and captured from his hiding place in the Amazon jungle— and then given the last word in a court of law. Hitler […]

Agreeing to Disagree

A bitterly polarized nation is one thing. A divided body of Christ is another. As Jesus’s mission of rescue neared its moments of tragic surprise, he prayed that his disciples would have such unity that the world would see the truth about him and the Father who sent him (John 17:18-26). Later, Paul also focused on […]

Redemption

To be released— like a slave bought to be set free. Something? Someone? Everything? Everyone? However all-encompassing, narrow, or personal our thoughts, the Scriptures speak of redemption in earthshakingly, cosmic, and personal terms. Who or what doesn’t need to be released from bondage in the grand scheme of redemption that has been set in motion by Jesus’s […]

Caring too Much

I began today in an updated edition of Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotional. The text is “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you.” Psa 55:22. The words that followed were hard for me to deny. We can care too much. The thought surprised me by hiding behind the assumption that we can never […]

The Curse

This Spring, a Robin built her nest in this wreath on our front door. I watched as she wove the nest, mudded it, and then made it into a soft bed for her family to be. Over the next few days I got pictures of three blue eggs and then babies barely able to lift their heads. But four […]

The Blessing

I’ve mentioned before how puzzled (and intrigued) I am with “The Blessing” God gave Aaron and his sons to pray over the nation of Israel. Seemingly out of nowhere— for chosen ones who fall so short of their calling, God gives the priests of Israel a way of mediating divine favor and generosity with the words, “The […]

Unforgivable!

Some of the most difficult words of the Bible come from the mouth of Jesus. For example, he is the one who talked about 2 sins, one against God (insulting the Holy Spirit), the other against one another (an unwillingness to forgive), that he called unforgivable. (Luke 11:18; Matthew 6:15) Writing about the unnecessary suffering a misunderstanding […]

Glory!

Some time ago a friend recommended to me a short daily e-mail audio and text meditation that I’ve been listening to ever since. Today’s Seedbed Text by J.D. Walt is so timely that I couldn’t think of a better way to follow up my last post by passing along to you a link to “Why […]

One Last Drink

Over the years, I’ve wondered about Jesus’s comment to the Samaritan woman about the last drink she would ever need. Standing at Jacob’s well, in the heat of the day, she didn’t know what he meant either. Has anyone ever gotten what they would call one last drink from Jesus? So what was Jesus promising […]

What’s Helpful?

In our Father’s goodness, we find new ways of relating to one another. Instead of only noticing whether something— or someone— is right or wrong, we get a chance to ask “what’s helpful?” For the sake of all, or anyone—our God shows us how to come along side with care and interest— or even friendly curiosity, rather than a challenge or threat. Isn’t […]

As Needed

So much of life isn’t simply a matter of right or wrong. Medications, sedatives, painkillers, doctors, hospitals, courtrooms, prisons, weapons, and armies, look different— as needed by us or someone we love. We don’t have to walk down this road too far before coming to the hill on which Jesus was crucified. What does his […]

Not Quite Right

Those of us who have struggled with mental illness, either in ourselves or in someone we love, have learned what it means to be not quite right. And when we read the story of the Bible we discover that what we think of as troubled thinking— is a hint of something common to all of […]

The Sniff Test

Five senses—to see, hear, taste, touch— and about this time of year the last reminds us that we are not alone. A skunk smells. But what? Itself? Grubbs? Danger? I recently read the words of someone who understood our human inclination to call out the wrongs of others—while giving ourselves a pass, a passing grade, or a […]

It’s Imperative

Authority issues are hard to avoid and easy to confuse. According to the Gospels, when Jesus taught his disciples to pray “Give us … forgive us … lead us… deliver us…” he gave us verbs in the imperative mood. When he prayed from his cross, “Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing”, […]

Unimaginable— Part 2

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” Here Paul seems to give us a loose quote of prophets who saw that God has unimaginable plans for humanity (1Cor 2:9) (Isa 64:3-4). Yet even Isaiah and others could not conceive of […]

If Then

Sometimes understatement says the most. The other day, I was reading an author who caught my attention with just a few words. He said, “If God is anything like a father, and… if I am anything like his child… then…” Since then, I’ve found no end to ways of adding to that one thought. May the most important if/then […]

Sounds and Silence

Why did the Savior of the world need to be born with so much acclaim— only to be followed by 30 years of silence— before stepping onto the stage for which he came? Why couldn’t the Lamb of God just show up like one of those Old Testament prophets who seemed to step out of nowhere… to get […]

Living by the Broken Rule

Threat for threat. Insult for insult. Wrong for wrong. Bluff for bluff. Blood for blood… The broken-rule promises the upper hand, control of circumstance, and self-protection. Yet it drags us to the threshold of mutually assured destruction. Could someone who spent three years with Jesus— before denying that he ever knew him— know what he […]

Torah

The New Testament offers us citizenship in a monarchy where the King serves— and calls his servants friends. The idea isn’t completely  new. It’s a story that begins to unfold in the drama of Eden— but is soon lost in the confusion of a world where muscular strength and social authority are used to build kingdoms of self-serving […]

A Certain Kind of Love

Where did Paul get the idea that without love— eloquence is noise.. and that knowledge, understanding, faith, and even charitable sacrifice amount to nothing? If we knew nothing about his story we might assume that Paul was probably just a thoughtful observer of life in the home, neighborhood, workplace, temple, or halls of political debate. On […]

Imagination

At telling moments our Accuser has made his case for why people like us shouldn’t trust our God— and when that worked—why we shouldn’t believe that our God could possibly love people like us. In both cases the Great Divider appeals to our imagination. First he stretches our minds to believe that the source of […]

A Personal Word

For most of my adult life, I thought of the words of Isaiah 40:7 as the words that I wanted to represent my life. That text says, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” I wanted (and still do) to give my life to the wisdom of […]

Fill in the Blank

When we think of filling in the blank, we fill in the blank. The phrase itself doesn’t tell us in what sense we mean it. Is it a reference to the kind of test we took in school? If so, it we are reading in our recall of a testing method that was used by […]

Our Father’s Business

Jesus’ first recorded words are revealing— and maybe a clue to all that follows. When his mother asked her 12 year old why he had caused her and his father so much anxiety, he answered with his own question. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house” (or “Didn’t you know I […]

Looking for What’s Missing

In the previous post, “What’s Wrong With this Picture?” the close up of the ant sculpture in the Atlanta Airport shows what happens when perspective is missing. My guess (trying to read the lines, and between them) is that when Paul says to the divisive church in Corinth (inconsiderate of one another, and drinking to […]

What’s Wrong With this Picture?

As a child I remember a learning game that recently came to mind while thinking about a New Testament letter. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is an interesting study in human nature and in what he believed it means to be followers of Christ— together. From his opening words he is focused on what […]

Memorial Hope

This past weekend US citizens did what people all over the world do to recognize those who have lived and died in the service of their country. We remembered and honored our heroes of war— and those whose lives were changed forever by their loss. In remembrance, we probably sensed that this was not a […]

Terror’s Other Story

In Roman culture– crucifixion was a slow, cruel, humiliation and death meant to publicly serve notice of what happens to those who challenge political power. Within the biblical storyline, the curse of being hung on a tree seems to have echoes of the law (Gal 3:13; Deut 21:23), and deeper still of the tragic consequences of what […]

The Sign of the Cross

When Jesus was crucified, he suffered under signage that bothered the religious leaders of Israel. Pilate the Roman governor of Judea had written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” But when the chief priests saw the sign, they objected saying, “Don’t write King of the Jews, but instead, […]

A True and Better Ethic

I’ve been trying to immerse myself in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians to see if I can get a sense of his frame of mind when writes the 13 verses of his 13th chapter. What I’m finding will not surprise you. Paul writes with a courage and clarity that lifts him above the superstitions, […]

Our Kind of Kingdom

The Bible’s first mention of a kingdom shows up in a reference to Babel and a strong man named Nimrod (Gen 10:10). In the clamor that followed Babel’s attempt to build its own greatness (Gen 11:1-9), competing regimes tried to enforce their will on one another. Eventually a new kind of nation was born out of bondage, nursed in a no man’s land, […]

Money, Cover-up, and Conflicting Reports

Follow the money. The tomb was empty. The soldiers who had seen what happened were terrified. When the religious leaders who demanded Jesus’ death heard what happened, they paid off the guards to say that, while they were sleeping, grave-robbers had stolen Jesus body (Matt 28:11-15). Women told another story Meanwhile Mary of Magdala, with a […]

The Cup Jesus Drank for Us

As we think together about how our Lord suffered in our behalf, let’s reflect again, as thoughtfully and reverently as we can, about what he was suffering. In Jesus’ sin offering and sacrificial death for us… as he drank the cup giving to him by his Father… do we know what was in the cup (Luke […]

Transformative Spirituality

We count on doctors to give us the right diagnosis and prescriptions for our illnesses, and are grateful when they do. The wrong answers and medications could either make our problems worse or just mask the illness by relieving our symptoms. Dr Mark Hyman is the Director the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He […]

Origins and Outcomes

In our last post we talked together about how in the 9th century BC, the prophet Elisha counseled the king of Israel not to kill his prisoners of war. As a result, Joram (king of Israel) prepared a feast for the soldiers of Ben-Hadad (king of Aram/Syria) and sent them home. After that, we’re told, that […]

The Word of God

Imagine talking to someone who has never read the Bible before. Literate, intelligent, intrigued with the Scriptures, and knowing of your interest in The Book, the person asks, “how do you read it’? Which of the following do you think you might, or definitely would not say? I read every word as the Word of God. I read […]

Life 101

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith […]

What has God Said?

Thanks to all who jumped into the conversation, “Under Fire”. Seems like we are all rightly sensitive to the original “has God said?” challenge of our enemy. Yet, we now face a different set of problems. Today, when it comes to interpreting and applying Scripture, if we don’t say, or at least wonder, “has God– really […]

Under Fire

How do the Scriptures work for us in the declared war with our spiritual enemy? Is our challenge to do as Jesus did? When tempted— either to prove himself, or to negotiate a settlement for the world— he responded three times with quotes of the Jewish Scriptures (Luke 4:1-13). I’ve often thought about how skillfully […]

Why Jonah Ran

Be fair to Jonah. His mission was dangerous. Bearers of bad news had been killed for a lot less, even within the borders of Israel. Imagine hearing, “Go to your enemies. The awful ones.  Tell them that in 40 days the God of Israel is going to destroy them.” Yet when the prophet eventually delivered his message, people as evil as […]

Jonah and the Perfect Storm

Fearing for their lives, the crew called out to their gods and did everything they could to save the ship and themselves. Desperate, the captain went down into the hold, woke Jonah up, asked how he could sleep at a time like this, and urged him to cry out to his god for help. Meanwhile the crew resorted to a game […]

Jonah and Jesus— for Openers

Continued… from Jonah’s no Jesus. Thanks to those of you who’ve taken the challenge… Here’s an example of the kind of reflection I’ve been alluding to. It’s done not by turning the subplots of the Bible into allegories, but rather by reading forward and then backward to see how the greatest of all true mysteries, tragedies, […]

Jonah’s no Jesus

Jonah’s story ends abruptly. We’ve been given narration, dialogue and miracles. Like so much of the Bible we’ve been told what sounds like a tall tale— but haven’t been told what we are supposed think or conclude. All that is truly clear is that Jonah is not on the same page as his sender or […]

What is it About Jonah?

I don’t remember the first time I heard about Jonah. But looking back, I can see how differently his short story has played out in my imagination over the course of a lifetime. Early on, it was about a man who was swallowed by “a whale”. At some point I learned that it was a […]

Hearing the Joy

In past Christmases I’ve written about how much I love listening over and over to “Mary Did You Know” by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. This year one of my co-workers asked me if I’d heard the Pentatonix version also on You Tube. Once again we’ve all come to this day from many places. Some of our […]

Unwrapping the Greatest Riddle

We’ve talked in the past about riddles. I think my favorite is: The poor have it. The rich need it. If you eat it you die. What is it? As we all know, riddles work by play on words; by layers of double meaning or ambiguity understood by the speaker but not revealed to the hearer. […]

Self-Opening Gifts

In the beginning, Genesis describes a God who was mysteriously wonderful, creative, loving, strong, wise, present, personal, and generous. When the son and daughter of his likeness opened the one gift marked “Do Not Open”— only to suddenly feel as if they had been locked out of the house without their clothes on— he came […]

Unopened Gifts

It’s been called the first hint of the Gospel. God says to the Serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Reading our Story backward, we know that it was the Great Accuser who shows […]

Over-personalizing a Harvest Festival?

Down through history, and all over the world, thanksgiving festivals have given communities a chance to thank the God or gods who gave them another harvest. Such celebrations have been more than expressions of gratefulness for personal health, wealth, marriage, children, and happiness. They have been opportunities for neighbors to celebrate together their shared good […]

Father?

Over the last few months, I’ve returned occasionally to read a few more pages in The Ragamuffin Gospel. For some reason, I have not found it to be one of those books that I can’t put down… Written in 1990 by Brennan Manning, it reflects the findings of a Franciscan Priest who discovered in his own […]

Where’s the Good News?

My guess is that most of us have been around long enough to hear questions asked either to avoid or find answers. For example, If the law of God is written on our hearts, as Paul says, why do we need the Scriptures of Moses or Jesus? Or, if all law is fulfilled in one, […]

The News We Hear

In the last post I mentioned a couple of books that take up the question of why the best news the world has ever heard is so often heard as bad news. In Simply Good News, author N.T. Wright considers some important questions like— Why would we refer to information that’s been around for thousands […]

Why Some Veterans Miss War

In a provocative 13 minute TED Talk war correspondent Sebastian Junger tries to answer a disturbing question. Why do so many veterans, especially those who served in active duty, miss war? After 20 years of covering the horrors and inhumanity of the battlefield, Junger found a painful irony—what veterans miss is the opposite of what […]

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