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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 about the Transfiguration of Christ. He makes no overt connections to Good Friday or the Crucifixion. That is my doing. Mount Tabor and the Mount of the Cross cannot be too far apart.Our Orthodox … [Read More...]

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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” to them.This may be one reason why the study of history appeals to people more as they age. History can be a dreadful bore when you’re fifteen; it’s a curiosity, maybe, when you’re twenty-four; it … [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...]

Neo-Christian Myth #4: The Sweet Tooth of American Christianity

When we study church history, the prevailing tension is one between continuity and ingenuity—between preservation of the gospel tradition and the adaptation of it to new languages and cultures.Sometimes that tension collapses when we entrench ourselves in the “this is the way we’ve always done it … [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #3: Muddling Music

Lest I offended preachers everywhere by my last post, I’ll take a moment here to honor them with a word of recognition... before I go on to tackle another touchy issue. Preaching is hard work and to be done well it requires faithful study, prayer, reflection, and listening (both to God and to the c … [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #2: the Preaching Pickle

Poor Donald Miller has been web-torched for his post. It has, at this writing, 479 comments, and let’s just say some of them are not very nice. (In fact, he wrote a follow-up post as a defense, which you can read here. Believe me, though, he’s loving the traffic, even if he is in Yod … [Read More...]

Six Neo-Christian Myths: Exiting the Arc of Christian History

Today I ran across a post by Donald Miller of Blue Like Jazz fame and more. I do not follow Donald Miller much or read his work—not out of any protest or high-minded posture, but, well, you have to pick and choose. I don’t have anything much to say about Donald Miller at all, really, nor should I pic … [Read More...]

Cancer and Divine Immanence

Last week I read Michael Hannon’s reflection on “Cancer and Divine Transcendence” and simply could not stop thinking about it, partly because it began with a story of suffering love and partly because it said something about God that I’m wrestling with.If I understand Hannon, he’s arguing that ou … [Read More...]

A Single Great Prayer

He prays unceasingly who combines prayer with necessary duties and duties with prayer. Only in this way can we find it practicable to fulfill the commandment to pray always. It consists in regarding the whole of Christian existence as a single great prayer. What we are accustomed to call prayer is … [Read More...]

A Traveler’s Song

I am deeply appreciative of the contributions of some powerful contemporary Christian authors (like N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard) who have refocused our attention on the meaning of salvation as a living, vibrant wholeness in the here and now, not just a one-way ticket to a beatific Bahamas in the … [Read More...]

Impossibilities

“It is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult...” ~ Rainer Maria RilkeSometimes it seems that Christian faith is all about … [Read More...]

We Are Saved by a Work

I’ve been pondering a troublesome passage—James’ harangue about works (James 2.18-26). It’s not a passage I particularly like. It’s prickly. You can tell he has someone in mind, some shocking example of an argument when someone shirked a work of kindness or generosity and begged off with, “Well, I ha … [Read More...]


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