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Examining the Call of Women to Christian Leadership

If we accept N.T. Wright’s description of the gospel in Simply Good News—as good news about something that has happened and something that’s going to happen which changes the in-between time we’re living in—then we have to accept a break in the continuum of ways things have always been done. Something has interrupted the “natural” course of events in such a dramatic manner that the systems—functional or dysfunctional—that we have relied on no longer reign supreme.Paul’s description of this ra … [Read More...]

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To Be Patient Is to Be Free

For many who have come from a middle-class American Evangelical background with solid, godly roots, there is a certain rightness to life that cannot be denied. This rightness includes a mélange of middle-class American values and Evangelical values, and it’s pretty hard to slice them down the middle. They coinhere. Many of us are kind of stuck in puritan mode—the small-p, pinched-face sort, not the good kind.These values are fairly tidy and can lead to a fairly tidy life—if, of course, you a) … [Read More...]

As the 2016 Election Cycle Begins, an Anti-Sneering Pledge

As the 2016 election season launches in earnest, I’m still quivering a bit from the vitriol and animus of the 2012 Obama-Romney run. I’m still remembering that video of the little four-year-old sobbing because she was so very tired of Womney and Bronco Bamma.I’m dreading the television ads, the r … [Read More...]

Jesus Loves Us Down to Our Toes: A Maundy Thursday Reflection

In the Gospel of John, the focus on the Passover meal as described in the other gospels—including the dipping of bread and sharing of the cup—is replaced with a tender, yet stunningly disturbing, moment. Jesus stoops to a most humiliating task: washing the disciples’ feet (John 13.1-15).Now we ha … [Read More...]

How to Be a (Better) Protestant in Five Easy Steps

Reformation Day doesn’t make me giddy, but it does afford me the opportunity to think again about this business of being Protestant. “I yam what I yam,” Popeye said. And so it is with me. By the grace of God.Most non-Catholic, non-Orthodox Christians really don’t identify as Protestants. They’re … [Read More...]

The Lovely, Lovely Thing (Friends of God 6)

 Some of our Friends of God shine like the sun, and their names are known even to an unbelieving world: Meister Eckhart, Henry Suso, Johannes Tauler, Jan Ruysbroeck. Some lie in forgotten corners of history like so many fallen autumn leaves blown into the shadows. Often, but not always, … [Read More...]

The Green Isle Community (Friends of God 5)

The Friends of God were committed to community. While their associations with each other were indeed informal and unregulated, they recognized the value of mutual support and encouragement in their God-friendships. The Green Isle Community is one example of this.Today, Strasbourg in eastern … [Read More...]

Honesty or Heroism? (Friends of God 4)

When we think of the Middle Ages, and we try to imagine the ordeals people faced, it’s our modern tendency to look for heroes. We love heroes. Who in the 14th century was doing something about all that mess? That deep-seated desire to set things right—by the sword, mainly—must, in part, be behind mov … [Read More...]

The Atmosphere of God (Friends of God 3)

Imagine running a large organization—a multinational organization—with thousands of employees, complicated networks of incomes and expenses, vast assets requiring ongoing upkeep and capital improvements, and a clientele that consists of nearly every single person in every country within your org … [Read More...]

Golgotha as Tabor (Friends of God 2)

In light of today's solemnities, and the desire to keep our eyes on the Christ, I'll refrain from talking too much history and delving into the characteristics of the Friends of God. Instead, I cite one of them for you (in my own paraphrase). Here this Flemish mystic from the 14th century writes … [Read More...]

Friends of God

Every generation, as it ages, seems to feel that things have gone awry, that the world is fracturing, that order has become disorder in unredeemable ways. To the young, the world is fresh, and their powers are strong, and their visions are grand. The “disorder” we who are older might feel is “order” … [Read More...]

Which Mythical Creature Are You?

Though I’ve finished the mini-series on neo-Christian myths, perhaps I’ll just add this postscript to the last entry on celebrity status. Consider it a trailing lament, I guess, a sadness that we feel so inadequate in our own hiddenness. We want to be seen, and known to be beautiful and wise and cle … [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #6: The Guest-on-Oprah Complex

It’s tempting to cut this last post out of the series, stop while I’m ahead (if, that is, I am ahead). I’ve kindled some ire in the previous five posts, and this last has lots of fiery—as in, the stake—potential. And I’m not sure I can even articulate my concerns about this clearly or persuasively. S … [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #5: The Velocity of Holiness

There’s a delicious irony in the fact that one of evangelical Christianity’s favorite phrases—“a long obedience in the same direction”—comes from the pen of “God-is-dead-and-we-have-killed-him” Nietzsche. It was appropriated by one of our most venerable writers, Eugene Peterson, for his classic book, … [Read More...]


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