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 […]

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, by continuing to use this site you agree to this. Find out more on how we use cookies and how to disable them.