False Hope and Beauty in an Anthropomorphic God

We speak of a conscious god, one with feelings like sorrow, anger, and joy. We speak of a just god, one who demands moral behavior and forgives moral breaches, one who speaks and gets His way. But is that true? Is there really a god like that or do we simply want that to be [Read More...]

The Straw Man and the Arrogant Modernist

God save me from smug, ill informed, modernists who spend their time deconstructing faith thinking that they know what is true. The latest, and conceivably the worst, contribution to this genre being Divinity of Doubt by Vincent Bugliosi. It makes me angry because, while they legitimately dismiss the mythic constructs of faith formed in pre-modern [Read More...]

In Our Backyard, a Christian Perspective on Human Trafficking

You’ve seen them, the storefronts, or 2nd floor windows that say, “Massage – ‘Vaguely Asian Sounding Name’ Spa, the neon sign says Open, the hours are 10 AM to 2 AM with no appointment is necessary.” Of course some of them dress it up a bit with a reflexology chart in the window, but really [Read More...]

A Little Hope and . . .

There have been some moments of hope this week. I published an op-ed piece in response to the mono-dimensional response our politicians offered up when we killed Osama bin Laden. The piece appeared in both in the Commuter Times and in the Marin IJ. I posted it on gracecomesfirst.net and patheos.com. Then I used much [Read More...]

Justice is Served?

Don’t get me wrong, I get it. I get the horror, the shock, and the grief. I get the humiliation, the fear, the anger and I certainly get the desire to eradicate evil – or at least the person in whom evil takes root. I understand the elation and the pride that follows a job [Read More...]

What if There Were No Religions?

What if there were no religions? I like John Lennon as much as the next guy, but this line had to be his low point. Nevertheless, it’s still alive. I saw it on a bumper sticker: What if there were no religions? I can understand wanting a world without the Santa Claus god – the [Read More...]

Why Isn’t It Cool to Be a Christian?

It’s just not cool to be a Christian. I went to Integral Spiritual Experience, (ISE) over the New Year – 500 people from about 30 countries, representing dozens of religious traditions. Studying, practicing, talking with these people, deepened my decidedly Christian faith. Still, I was knocked off balance by the following, recurring conversation. “What do [Read More...]

Wake Up Saba

Jesus touched Peter’s mother-in-law and she was healed. The text goes on to say that this was done to fulfill what the prophet Isaiah said, "He took our diseases and carried our infirmities. As we said last week, Matthew doesn’t bring this up to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, he brings it up to [Read More...]

We’ve Seen a Great Light

We’ve Seen a Great Light (Audio approximately 10 MB, right-click to download.) The sermon, the first in a long series on Matthew’s gospel, talks about one of the 8 "prophesy fulfillment" passages in Matthew. They are not there to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. The readers are already convinced of that. They are there [Read More...]

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem Sixteen chapters of unrelenting horror and judgment and 2 chapters of hope. Sounds about right. I don’t like false hope religion and this passage is not false hope religion. We recognize the horror of our world throughout the Revelation and at the end of it the question is, "Can any beauty come of [Read More...]