Vision: A Creedal Reflection on Psalm 10

“Why, O Lord, do you stand off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” The deaths of 68 young people at a camp in Norway silences us with horror and grief. The looming menace of the federal government’s default makes us stoop with dread and frustration. The drought and famine in Somalia appalls [Read More...]

Beer Brewing and Carpentry

This week a handful of us had a lively conversation about Dorothy Sayers’ “Why Work?” essay. Written in 1942, the essay tackles head-on Sayers’ concerns about her society’s consumption patterns and what they say about our perception of the value of work. The early part of the essay considers the economic consequences of unrestrained capitalism [Read More...]

Borders Blues

It’s not like I was a frequent customer. Its absence doesn’t directly affect me at all. But Borders Books is no more, and I have the Borders blues. Oh, I freely admit I’ve been an Amazon junkie for a long while. (Sorry, Steven.) But bookstores are not shopping sites only; they’re destinations. Bookstores are for [Read More...]

Waving the White Flag

After a long while in the spiritual life, most of us come to the point where we realize we’re making very little “progress.” Over and over we come to the shocking realization that the same weaknesses, the same pettiness, the same hardheartedness plague us in ever new and shifting forms. Like germs, mutating to fit [Read More...]

An Ancient Radical

The bones drying on the shelves … not so different from the valley of dry bones, the lifeless remnants of community. Can these bones live? The old prophet was wise enough not to posture, not to philosophize, not to speculate, not to issue any power statements. O Sovereign Lord, you alone know. All around us [Read More...]

Sniffing Doldrums

Sometimes it seems that Christians of every stripe get more energy from differentiating themselves from one another than they do in uniting with one another. “I’m not that type of Christian.” I do this, I don’t do that; I believe this, I don’t believe that; I vote this way, I don’t vote that way; I [Read More...]

The Peculiar Society: Our Christian Memory

When we study the beginnings of the Church, we face first of all the shock that the world exhibited when they heard the gospel message. What?? A crucified King? What kind of upside-down story is this? We want a god who is powerful, not weak; victorious, not defeated; regal, not spit upon. And resurrected? Yeah, [Read More...]

“Woman, you have great faith!”: Our Christian Memory

Whenever I teach a survey of Church history, I include at the very beginning some comments about the extraordinary growth rate of the Christian community in the first century. Some historians suggest that in less than three centuries after Christ, more than 10% of the Roman Empire’s population was Christian. Scholars attribute this rapid spread [Read More...]

The Government Is Not Going to Do Kingdom Work

It’s been nearly two years since the full intensity of the last presidential campaign, but I’m still stewing over the uneasiness it created in me. I’m not making any political comments here, only ecclesiological ones. The campaign may or may not have been more vitriolic than most, though it does seem like civility is giving [Read More...]

The Taxi to Hell

I caught an episode of “The Apprentice” this weekend. Sixteen hopefuls lined up respectfully and submissively before Donald Trump and his lieutenants, who happen to be Ivanka and Donald, Jr., his children. This season, apparently the would-be apprentices are all victims of the economic downturn – they’ve already all been fired or let go or [Read More...]

Doubt ~ “Could Be Wrong … but I Don’t Think So.” (Third time’s the charm.)

I don’t know anything at all about hunting pheasant. But I can imagine myself in the quiet mists of morning out in the wide open fields of Nebraska, standing beside the pick-up, tightening the boots, downing the last sip of coffee, loading up the guns and strapping on the orange vest, watching the dogs pace [Read More...]

Doubt: “Just the Facts, Ma’am” – Second Thoughts

The show’s dramatic theme song prepped the audience for a thrill; the deep voice announced the following: “The story you are about to see is true; the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Sgt. Joe Friday, confronted with auto theft, kidnapping, and murder, pursues the villain through clues and terse interviews – “just [Read More...]


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