Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

(Posts Archive)

Salt and Light

According to Matthew, Jesus described his people as the salt and light of the world— after telling them what it would take to make them good in the eyes of heaven (Matthew 5:1-16). By the time he was done showing what that looked like, he had, at his own expense, taken apart a religious community […]

Left Unsaid

Have you ever imagined what it might be like to sit down with the Apostle Paul and— with no time constraints—to ask him, “What were you thinking when you wrote: ‘Every part of Scripture is God–breathed and useful one way or another— showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live […]

Reading Between the Lines

In the end, God will make his enemies his footstool (Hebrews 10:13). For most of my life I saw this as an allusion to the way God will condemn and humble his enemies “under foot”— as ancient warlords put their feet on the necks of conquered enemies. What I didn’t notice until recently is that […]

This I Believe

I don’t know whether what I’m about to say is right, or true. But I’ve come to a place where I don’t know how it couldn’t be. Many of us believe the Bible is inspired, a gift from God, containing words that give us meaning and hope, important for every moment in life—and yet subject […]

Imagine!

Imagine being able to spend a couple of hours every week with our neighbors, in a local theatre, watching on a big screen a reality-show-documentary of The Word of God— without words. No sound. No closed-captioning. Just action—all the way to the last scene when he leaves his friends staring into the clouds. What would […]

The Politics of Jesus

If Jesus was a king, he was a different kind of king. His politics and policies call for a different kind of revolution. His wars are to be fought with a different kind of spirit. His victories with a different understanding of outcomes. If Jesus was a king, his face doesn’t need to be seen […]

Touch Wood

Touch wood. Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring? So much wonder. In such simplicity and complexity. In a Japanese cell phone commercial. Geek.com describes it like this: “We promise you’ve never heard Bach’s Cantata 147, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” quite like this. It’s rare to see an advertisement so artfully and skillfully done, but Sharp’s […]

Who’s There?

There’s a story going around the Internet suggesting that some of us may not see or hear ourselves the way others do. It goes something like this: Knock. Knock. Who’s there? Jesus. What do you want? Let me in. Why do you want me to let you in? So I can save you. Save me […]

Does Love Make us Gullible?

From time to time I’ve wondered what the Apostle Paul was thinking when he wrote that love “always believes”— or as some translations put it “always trusts” (1Cor 13:7). Could he possibly be urging the kind of love that believes whatever anyone tells or promises us? Over the years I’ve tried to take his words at […]

Alive Inside

Earlier this week I watched a documentary about the effect of music on persons with dementia and memory loss. I hope I never forget what I saw. You may be aware of the work of Dan Cohen since video excerpts of his research and work have gone viral on social media. The film is an […]

Mercy

With the thought of mercy, what comes to mind? The cold kindness a bully shows when his victim admits defeat? Or Jesus on the cross praying, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” My guess is that if we could sit down around the same table— and share a meal of memories about […]

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 […]

Legalists Anonymous

While spending time in Paul’s letter to the Galatians I’ve begun to wonder whether getting intoxicated together at the open bar of the law is actually more dangerous than alcohol. Early on, Paul describes how violent he used to be— while living by a system of Law he thought he was keeping (Gal 1:13-14). Now […]

Irenaeus and the Word

Irenaeus was a second-century follower of Jesus known for his writings against heresy and for his summary of teachings handed down from the Apostles. Tutored by the martyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who in turn was taught by the Apostle John, Irenaeus is important because of the way he used both Old and New Testament […]

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 […]

Connecting Epic Dots

In Genesis, the Serpent shows up as an accuser and a deceiver. In the story of Job, Satan shows up as an accuser of both God and Job— allowed to do violence to Job—to deceive Job and friends… In the story of the Cross—Satan is allowed to enter Judas to do violence to the Son […]

On the Ground

I appreciate your willingness to smile and reflect with me on the stunning repetition Moses used to describe what happened on the ground—shade in the day, warmth and light in the night—as God led in The Cloud overhead (Numbers 9:15-23). Your comments show that in the wilderness of then and now, the direction of God depends […]

Day in Day out

I’ve been thinking again about a section of the book of Numbers that we’ve looked at together in years past. But it always makes me smile. It’s about how the LORD led his people— day in day out, as he protected and provided for them through the wilderness on their way to a Promised Land […]

On Wikileak Sea

How can we make sense of a world where all who have something to hide live in constant fear of being exposed by a power seeking, money hungry— or ever loving rival? How different are such thoughts from the “What is truth?” asked by a cynical judge when he was asked to seal the fate […]

Why?

Why did God create us with such an enormous capacity for hurt, misunderstanding, bad blood, family division, and tribal warfare? Could it be for the same reason Jesus was born not just to die, but to be crucified? In allowing himself to be insulted, tortured, and killed, did the Source of all power, authority, and […]

Acts of God—2

An interesting thought surfaced in the comment section of the last post. In misunderstanding the Acts of God, there are two possibilities: Attributing to God the acts of Satan and attributing to Satan the acts of God. In both cases, misunderstanding the consequences of demonic darkness results in blaming God for what he allows. Confusion […]

Stockholm Syndrome

In 1973 four hostages were taken in a Stockholm bank robbery. When eventually released the victims defended their captors and refused to testify against them in court. Their experience led to the coining of a term that represents, by some estimates, 8 percent of persons who have been intermittently harassed, beaten, threatened, abused, or intimidated […]

Glances and Glimpses

One of the stubbornly resistant facts of the Bible is that all of its words, affirmations, and denials have to be interpreted. Take for instance a hint of of God’s goodness spoken by the LORD to Moses and remembered by Paul, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” (Exodus 33:19; Romans 9:15). Anyone […]

Trauma

I’ve been reading a book about the effects and treatment of trauma titled, “The Body Keeps the Score.” Written by psychiatric researcher, Bessel Van Der Kolk, it describes how different parts of our brain need to work together to help us avoid and survive danger. In general terms, Van Der Kolk describes at great length […]

Thanksgiving for Better or Worse

National days of Thanksgiving happen for better or worse. Unless we stand together in gratefulness for a shared harvest— or unless our prayers are childlike enough to not stir up adult issues, our family and political differences can overcook more than the turkey. Thanksgiving Holidays seem to have the unintended result of reminding us of painful […]

Perspective

In the 8th century before Christ, King Uzziah ruled Judah for 52 years. It was a time of unusual stability, material prosperity, and national security, marred by a devastating earthquake and— the leprosy that forced a popular leader to give up his throne. In the year that King Uzziah died, the prophet Isaiah had a […]

Law and Order

In the beginning there was one Word. One rule. One voice. One law. One “don’t do this”—surrounded by beauty, truth, and goodness. Yet there was more in the wonder than the eye could see. The one “don’t do this”— became a compellingly dark hole, an irresistible pull, offering the right language and leverage— to test the […]

State of Emergency

Concerns felt for the tragic losses of the people of Haiti, and for those in Florida and our own Southeast coast go far beyond our sense of moral duty. States of emergency bring out the best in our common humanity—and sometimes the worst. When “acts of God” turn lives upside down, neighbors reach out to one […]

One in Many

How can many be one? On the eve of his tragic execution, the Son asked of his Father that those who belong to him “Will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will […]

Hope

Would God ask us to love others as we love ourselves, and even more— only to break our hearts in the end? Maybe for a while, he would— as he allows our pains and longings to turn our hearts to him, and as he allows our concern for others to deepen our trust in what […]

Glory

There are different kinds of glory. As the Olympic games of Rio played out, many of us saw glory in the glowing eyes of those who won the honor of standing on a podium, with a gold medal around their neck, and their national anthem playing in the background. Jesus reflected a different glory when he was […]

How We Look

Is there a difference between what we see and how we see it? For example, is there a difference between what we see in ourselves, others, the Bible, current events, personal circumstances, the future, etc. and how we look at it? We’ve talked together before about the observation that we see things not only as they […]

Imagine

Can you imagine Jesus living the way we do? What if his schedule wasn’t open enough to be spending time at the lakeshore with friends? What if he didn’t have time to be alone, to pray, or to even to talk so much about what was important to him? What if he had to do […]

A Time to Laugh

Laughter can be a wonderful gift… full of wonder, joy…sometimes foolish, sometimes cruel. In a dark season of life, Solomon sensed there is a time to laugh… Modern science and medicine might lead us to believe that, for all of the benefits observed and measured, we were made to laugh— for our own health, and the good […]

Laughing at Ourselves

Someone said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” For the sake of love… and joy… Wonder if Jesus made tax collectors and self-described sinners laugh until they couldn’t catch their breath… or until they cried? If so, am guessing the religious leaders of Jerusalem didn’t find him […]

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 […]

Looking Back to go Forward

Some of us like to read a book backward—the end first, before the beginning. Others are on the look out for spoiler alerts and enjoy the experience of not knowing how the story is going to turn out in the end. The Gospel writer Matthew had learned to read the Scriptures of Israel both forward […]

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Those of us who have seen and felt the horrific impact of Mel Gibson’s 2004 “The Passion of the Christ” may recall the dark opening scene of Jesus groaning in the Garden of Gethsemane; the Satanic whisper that One cannot bear the sins of all; the troubling image of a snake slithering out from beneath […]

Calming Thoughts

Earlier this week a few short words from the 131st Psalm caught my attention. The songwriter seems to have found a way to calm his mind about the kind of questions that could drive us mad. He writes, LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great […]

And the Greatest is…

What could be more important than a discovery of who Jesus is, and who he loves? And does he only love those who love him and those who accept him rather than reject him? Did he? Second to that finding, even if it is far down the line of other important discoveries about who Jesus […]

No Eyes On

During the search for two escapees from a maximum security New York prison, many of us watched competing news media press for information on the status of the pursuit. At one point commentators began quoting a source who admitted that—though law enforcement officials believed they were in “hot pursuit” of the subjects— they  had “no […]

Inside Information

Sometime back a fast food sandwich by the name of Meat Mountain made news. Layered with six different kinds of meat, two cheeses, topped with chicken tenders and three strips of bacon, it sounded like a one of a kind sandwich made for a temporary media splash. According to a BBC article, Meat Mountain was […]

Coming Together into 2015

Day is starting here in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. at 15 degrees with blowing and drifting snow. Just got a phone voicemail alert that our offices have a 2 hour delay in opening as we all dig out and face the icy, snow covered roads. As you can see, I have access […]

Mary Did You Know?

This year, just before Christmas, a wonder-filled five minute National Geographic YouTube video has captured my attention. It has also renewed my appreciation for one of the wonderful lines of Mark Lowry’s Mary did You Know—“that your baby boy… is Lord of all Creation?” Without him was nothing made that was made… (John 1:1-4) (John […]

The Heart of a Park Ranger

While thinking more about our Father’s world, I found an inspiring article in the BBC Online Magazine about Africa’s oldest national park. It’s the story of Andre Bauma, a park ranger, who describes how, in addition to his love for his family, has found a special place in his heart for an adopted orphan gorilla […]

Blood Moon

The interest in the recent lunar eclipse has stirred up thoughts about what an amazing gift the moon is to us. While the sun is far greater, a lunar eclipse shows that the moon has an apparent size in the sky equal to the sun. A fascinating online article in Universe Today explains this in […]

Living in Riddles

We  struggle among ourselves about how to use words like loving, forgiving and judging others. Together we’re discovering that all such words have a range of meanings and an unlimited capacity for intent, application—and their place in a story. Maybe that’s one reason  we are called by the Bible not just to words, but to […]

Theology With a Limp

Jacob walked with a limp after his encounter with God (Genesis 32:31). As a result, according to Genesis, when his descendants ate the meat of an animal, they had a practice of not eating the tendon attached to the socket of a hip (Gen 32:32). Since Jacob’s people have given various explanations to this event, […]

Questions about Questions

Honest questions can be priceless. Without them our minds and character remain unchallenged and undeveloped. Without the freedom to ask honest questions we remain little more than the extension of someone else’s self-centered will and control. Without a healthy and purposeful curiosity we cannot reflect, reason, or try to determine the difference between imagination and […]

Separated

It’s been called a spiritual law: man is sinful and separated from God. The resulting word picture is a deep, uncrossable chasm between a holy Creator and the sinner. What seems worth thinking about together, though, is how this separation looks in the unfolding story of the Bible. Let’s back up and think about what […]

The Word that Changes Us

What comes to mind when we hear “the word of God” or “the word of truth”? 1.  God’s word of provision behind every good gift (Deut 8:3) 2.  A living and eternal Person  (John 1:1-3) 3.  The good news of what the living Christ did and does for us (Eph 1:13) (Eph 5:25-26) (Eph 6:17) […]

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

With tornadoes cutting swaths of destruction across the US South and Midwest, families in Malaysia, China, and South Korea continue to mourn their lost; as many more in the Ukraine and Russia move to the edge of war… as our world moans… as we grieve our losses… and as our God groans with and for […]

What are We Hearing?

What do we hear in the words of a king who sobs over a son who died trying to overthrow his own father, “Oh Absalom, my son Absalom, if only I had died instead of you”? 2Sam 18:33 Is the emotion similar to what we hear in the boldness of a leader who asks for […]

Seven Days to Remember

The seven days we remember this week were a long time in coming. Heaven didn’t seem to be in a hurry.  Since the first hint and promise of a rescue, thousands of troubled years had passed. No one’s parents had survived. Everyone’s children were dying. A brief moment of expectation was followed by 30 silent […]

The Gift of Time

This is National Volunteer Week in the U.S. April 6-12 has been set apart as a time to honor those who have given one of the greatest treasures in life to the service of others. During the week I’ve had a chance to have lunchtimes with groups of Service Partners who donate time to our […]

Lost

Now that Malaysian officials have declared flight 370  lost—beyond all reasonable doubt—many are thinking today about the reality of unanswered prayer. Some will hear in the groans and silence certainty that there is no God. Others will see reason to believe that, for now, God alone can make sense of the lingering questions of who, […]

The Mystery of Malaysian Airlines 370

At any moment we may hear the answer. But for now the mysterious disappearance of the 239 passengers and crew of the missing 777 has captured the minds and hearts of the world. For many of us, the developing story raises disturbing questions of personal risk and security, procedural errors, truth and misinformation in reporting, […]

In the End and Beginning

As we come to the end of the Sochi Winter Games, an article in the Washington Post asks whether any other host city will ever be able to match the size, cost, and 51 billion dollar showcase created by Vladimir Putin. At the same time we are hearing stories of some athletes who expect this […]

The Vision of Sochi

Seeing the nations of the world coming together peacefully around the common language of sport says a lot about our shared humanity. So does the fact that our athletes are competing with one another for personal and national glory in snow covered mountains, surrounded by fences and armies of anti-terrorist security. May be a small […]

The Spirituality of Sport

On the heels of Seattle’s stunning Super Bowl victory over Denver, and in the week leading up to 18 televised nights of the Sochi Winter Games, it seems like a good time to think about one of life’s great ironies. In some ways religion and the games we play seem like a strange pairing. But […]

Avoiding the Potholes

With the recent thaw after a lengthy period of below normal temperatures, Michigan roads have suddenly become littered with axle-busting potholes. Our local paper reported yesterday that road crews are out trying to fill as many as possible. But as the the snow has begun to fall again, we have more than slippery conditions to […]

Mark of the Forgiven

With just a few words, someone who knew what it was like to deny Christ gave us a lot to think about. According to Peter, if we are not growing in our love for others, we have forgotten how much we’ve been forgiven (2Peter 1:8-9). Jesus said something similar to a Pharisee who objected when […]

The Relativity of Time

It’s been said that a twin living at the top of a mountain ages slower than a twin living at the base. But the idea based on Einstein’s theory that time is relative to energy and mass is beyond me. I have all I can do to explain the relatively different way that time seems […]

Christ and Culture

As we transition into a new year, it seems like a good time to post once again an excerpt from an early 2nd or 3rd century letter explaining and defending the faith of Jesus’ followers. The letter was originally written in Greek to an unknown person named Diognetus from Mathetes (probably a pseudonym since it […]

Cheetah-like

A BBC African news story tells how four Kenyan villagers out ran and then  captured alive two cheetahs that had been killing their goats.The owner of the goats said that the large cats had returned repeatedly to kill 15 of his animals. So how could these men run down, on foot, the fastest animals in […]

So What?

Does the whole Bible really help to tell the story of Jesus?  I found this 2 minute answer by Tim Keller fascinating. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmnSnNC8UJk Then earlier this week, a friend passed along a video link of a musical presentation by Sam Robson. Seems to me that it expresses so well what can happen when inspired words […]

More than a Cameo

As Job becomes increasingly upset with his friends for what they are saying—and with God for his silence—suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, Job expresses a hope that looks like a small cameo appearance of Jesus in an otherwise lengthy, angry, and hopeless debate. Text: Job 19:21–27 (NIV) 21“Have pity on me, my friends, have […]

Terror in Tacloban

In another day and age, the victims of a catastrophic storm like Typhoon Haiyan would have gone unnoticed by most of the world. But today the images and eyewitness accounts stream to us in almost real time. A BBC news report says,”Tacloban is totally destroyed. Some people are losing their minds from hunger or from […]

Progressive Thinking?

After offering his reasons for declaring as blessed those who are poor in spirit; and those who mourn, Jesus said, blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth (Matt 5:3-5). Of the word for “meek” Thayer’s Hebrew lexicon offers the opinion that, “Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we […]

Wisdom Riddle or Super Woman?

As part of our Discover the Word recording schedule this week, Alice Mathews led us through a fresh way of thinking about the “virtuous woman” of Proverbs 31. What Alice described is not the “Super Woman,” who is so intimidating to women and perplexing to men, but a literary device that brings to conclusion the […]

Life on the Run

Have been thinking about some of the most obvious differences between ourselves and people like Abraham, Ruth, and John the Baptist.  For one, their lives were oriented to the seasons of an annual agricultural cycle. By contrast many of us live on the run, without being forced into the slow-down rhythm of waiting on crops […]

For a Healthy Heart

Two recent articles on developments in heart research sound promising. One talks about a form of gene therapy that uses a heart-healing virus to help rebuild heart muscle. Another describes the effectiveness of using the crisis that requires a procedure to open one blocked artery as an occasion to clear out the rest of the […]

The Mystery of Moon Dust

Yesterday, NASA launched a 280 million dollar unmanned rocket dubbed LADEE (The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer). This project may be different from other NASA projects in that its announced purpose isn’t to search for the origins of life in other world environments. Instead it’s an exploration designed to help scientists learn how to […]

Secret Disciples

At the time of Jesus’ burial, two men are ready to take a risk. Both appear to be members of the Sanhedrin, a ruling body of Israel. One is Joseph who had been a secret disciple of Jesus for fear of other Jewish leaders (Luke 23:50-51) (John 19:38). He is the one who went to […]

Bargaining with God

When Jacob left home to avoid being killed by his furious brother, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and assured him that he would be with him on the road ahead; that he would protect him, and provide for him; until safely bringing him back again to the homeland he was leaving behind […]

The Science of Attitude

An article of the BBC Online Magazine asks whether science can explain why some people see “the glass as half empty” while others see it as “half full”. The answer offered by medical journalist, Michael Mosley, explains additional research on genetic discoveries that we alluded to in a recent post, “God only Knows.” According to […]

Barred and Bored

Writing from Normandy France for the BBC News magazine, journalist Natasha Breed writes of her reaction at seeing a caged King of the jungle—as a traveling circus rolls into town. “I have spent years working with wildlife film crews following lions in Africa, and I have learned to read the big cats’ moods in their […]

God Only Knows

Do you ever find yourself feeling like your mind is going to unravel over some of the most obvious and mysterious questions of life like: Why does anything exist? Me? You? Us? Now? Here? In a conscious state that cannot be explained? Above all why, would there be an eternal self-existent God? Why can’t science […]

A Song for the Journey

The 84th of the Bible’s book of songs is full of thoughts about a safe place. Verses 8 and 9 though have caught my attention today. The songwriter, prays and sings, In two sets of parallel thoughts in which the second line of each couplet brings  clarity to the first. Hear my prayer, Lord God […]

A Sleepless Night

20 years had passed since Jacob left home, on the run for lying his way into more than his share of the family inheritance. Now he was coming back, with 2 wives, 12, children and large herds of animals. As the sun set, Jacob would once again try to fall asleep with his head full […]

Entitlements

Honor to whom honor is due… When we consider any soldier who has died or been wounded in the service of others, and when we consider how many have paid that ultimate price, we have only begun to consider the inequalities of life… Jesus knew we’d consider him and his Father unfair. He told a […]

If Insects Could Talk

Genesis tells about a God who spoke into existence insects and everything else that we see and sense (Gen 1:24). This God says the word. Something comes out of nothing. Light pushes back the darkness. Order emerges out of chaos (Gen 1:1-3). In the resulting paradise God begins sharing his life with children bearing a […]

Like a Snake

Somewhere in the Bible it implies that Jesus would be treated like a snake, for us. It’s a stunning thought, especially when we think about the fact that Satan is pictured in Genesis and Revelation as the great serpent and deceiver of the world. Yet Jesus, himself, makes the connection between himself and the snake.  […]

Another Look at Law and Grace

Recurring tensions in this blog reflect the history of our faith. In every century followers of Christ have had a running disagreement about how much emphasis to give to law and/or grace. One side thinks the other tends to emphasize grace to the point of moral license. The other side thinks their counterparts are morally […]

Three Women Found

The report of three women found alive in Cleveland, Ohio after they went missing about a decade ago is the kind of news we could live for. While much information isn’t yet available, it appears that all three were abducted in separate incidents and held captive, for 10 years,  in a normal looking home with […]

Matthew’s Table

Why were “sinners” so drawn to Jesus even before learning that he had come to suffer and die for their rescue? Can we put ourselves in their place, and his? (Matt 9:9-13) Is it possible that the most righteous person who ever lived can identify with “the worst” among us better than we can? Seems […]

Hedges, Fences and Walls

The Bible uses the word picture of hedges in some provocative ways. Satan complains, for instance, that God has bought Job’s loyalty by building hedges of protection around him (Job 1:10). Later after the Lord has taken some of the fences down to give the Devil access, Job wonders why the Almighty has shut him […]

In Our Search for Answers

As the FBI leads the investigation into yesterdays Boston Marathon tragedy, many will be tempted to try to pin the blame on one or more individuals responsible for such loss and suffering. But even when the investigations of Federal, State, and Local agencies are done, we won’t be at the bottom of this or any […]

Jacob and Israel

Isn’t it ironic that what so many call The Good Book doesn’t put a high value on moral pride and seems to go out of its way to honor those who have made a mess of their lives? What’s even more amazing is that the people of the Book haven’t found a way to clean […]

The Riddle of the Cross

Needed by all, deserved by none; A life for death, a death for life; In one, all; for all, one; By rejection, acceptance; By weakness, strength; In sorrow, joy; In right, made wrong; For wrong, made right; By injustice, justice; Through judgment, mercy; Through despair, hope. What love is this, and what difference could it […]

As the Music Plays

An article on the BBC news website describes the process by which experts have affirmed the authenticity of a violin that was played by the bandleader of the Titanic. As I thought about the eerie irony of an orchestra playing during the 1912 tragedy at sea that took the lives of 1500 people, the biblical […]

Interests vs Values

When I wrote about diplomacy and the art of peacekeeping in the last post, some thought I was suggesting that we negotiate or compromise on important truths. Admittedly, that would not be a good thought. Unhealthy compromise should be a concern. So let’s narrow our focus to the idea of interests vs. values, which according […]

Famous Stone Throwers

Just before Jesus healed a blind man (to release him from spiritual dependence on men who thought they could see but couldn’t), there is an eye-opening conversation recorded in John chapter 8. That episode picks up as a group of Moses’ followers drag a woman caught in adultery before Jesus. Hiding their real intent to […]

What are we Seeing?

I’ve been sitting here reading a question over and over that any of us can find in the ninth chapter of John’s gospel: “…And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was […]

Where’s the Smile?

What are we to make of joyless religion or faith? We’ve spent quite a bit of time emphasizing that the goal of Christ is love for our neighbor. So what about joy?  What if we find that we don’t know what to make of the words of David when he sings about a kind of […]

Focus Check

In thinking back on the last conversation, it seemed to me that we actually stayed within ourselves as “friends” better in talking about different perspectives of prophecy (which can be such a divisive issue) than we did in dealing with the role and meaning of love. Ironically, sometimes love can be so intuitive that even […]

Law and Love in the Balance

One of the questions that keeps coming up in our conversations is whether an emphasis on uncondemning mercy, love, and compassion will leave us with an unhealthy devaluation of moral law, spiritual virtue, and social order. Who among us hasn’t by now seen or read the drama of life that gives us the answer? The […]

Mystery of the Wise Men

A bumper sticker says, “Wise men still seek him”.  But why? Am having a hard time recalling anyone  who claims to have relentlessly pursued the hopes and fears of all the years— until the equivalent of a guiding star finally settled over the sound of God crying in a manger. Some of our personal stories […]

Evil Access

No one can doubt the evil that coldly takes the life of another– let alone a little child or many. But would we be missing something to leave the impression that evil happens apart from the human experience that is common to all of us– whether awakened by rejection, fear, hopelessness, rage, abuse, neglect, mental […]

Lingering Tangled Questions

Am thinking there may be questions lingering in our minds after considering that evil sinners are seen as “righteous” in God’s eyes if they are ‘in Christ’…and that such people are to be considered well off and to be envied– not because they “have it all together”– but because they have seen their deep spiritual […]

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