Closing the Book on Jobs


 10 years ago the USA had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope, and Johnny Cash.Now they have no Jobs, no Hope, and no Cash. … [Read more...]

The Beauty of Baseball


Let's be honest.  The most popular game in America these days is brutal. I'm talking about the incessantly broadcast game of professional football, a game, as they say 'won in the trenches', a term borrowed from WWI and the Maginot line. Today instead it is the offensive or defensive line. Yes, there are thrilling plays in football--- elegantly arched passes to diving receivers, runners weaving their way through traffic heading for the endzone. But most of the actual play on the football … [Read more...]

The Interloper


On lime stones we’d laid The chipmunk sat erect His beady brown eye watched me Wondering what to expectWhile he devoured a nut His teeth worked at warp speed He sat oh so still Satisfying his need.The creek kept on flowing Behind the barrier wall The chipmunk did not notice Its rise or its fall.The ducks kept on laughing Beating their wings in the stream The sun kept on shining But the day ran out of steam.There is stillness in the motion And silence in the sound Of … [Read more...]

Moses’ Blessing


The following is a post by the pastor of my home church Myers Park UMC and my friend, James Howell.In 1979, archaeologists made a startling discovery: a pair of tiny, delicate, beautiful scrolls, both just 1 inch wide, and 4 inches long, crafted of silver, dated to the time of Jeremiah and Isaiah! The words etched on the scrolls were the memorable verses from Numbers, chapter 6:The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord … [Read more...]

The Wane in the Main(line) without Refrain


Duke Professor Mark Chaves has been tracking trends in American religion for some long time now, and in his recent study "American Religion: Contemporary Trends" he concludes that over the last generation there has been a 'softening' in American commitment to traditional Judaeo-Christian religion.This 'softening' is said to affect everything from whether people feel like they ought to go to worship, to whom they are prepared to marry, to how they identify themselves if asked religious … [Read more...]

Why Capital Punishment is not such a Capital and Christian Idea


If it was ever the case that I hoped or expected jurisprudence in America to act in ways that accord with Biblical teaching, I have now officially abandoned hope of that being true, or even mostly true. I do not expect lawyers, courts or executors in America to abide by Christian principles any longer.Furthermore, for those who are so minded, I think a reasonable case for state sanctioned capital punishment can be made on the basis of New Testament texts like Romans 13, though there the … [Read more...]

Affirmation for the Week


I believe in the God who made and owns the world, and in the Servant God sent to redeem the world, and in the Holy Spirit who is God's presence in the world today.I believe that everything I have is really God's, given into my keeping for the good of the world. I believe I am expected to live spiritually in the world, dealing justly with all persons and contributing to the care of the poor and the needy.I believe that my own life and the lives of those I love will be blessed by my … [Read more...]

Philippians has arrived!


HOORAY! My new socio-rhetorical commentary on Philippians has arrived! This is the last volume I am contributing to our Eerdmans socio-rhetorical commentary series, and I hope you will get as much out of it as I got while doing it. What a great discourse Philippians is. While it is not Paul's last will and testament, it certainly is one of his most poignant discourses.How could you not enjoy a discourse about joy, even in the midst of suffering? … [Read more...]

Raising the Barr: The Legacy of James Barr

The following is a post by my friend Larry Hurtado. 50th Anniversary: Barr’s “Semantics of Biblical Language” by larryhurtadoA bit late in the year, I've noted that this is the 50th anniversary of the publication of a truly landmark book by a former member of academic staff in New College, Edinburgh:  James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1961).Barr served as Professor of Old Testament Literature & Theology in the University … [Read more...]