“Radical Gratitude: Hearing the Call” – a poem

Radical Gratitude Patheos post

    November is national gratitude month. With that in mind, I wanted to share a poem with you that I wrote about choosing gratitude, perhaps with grateful self-talk, even and especially, through the hard things.This poem is from the perspective of my "grateful-self" talking to my "needing-encouragement-self". I hope you enjoy it. Radical Gratitude: Hearing the Call By Riley O'Brien PowellCome hither dear and hear the call,Through the rustling … [Read more...]

Five Elements of Church Error (pt 2/5) – Leaving Slavery & Segregation Behind


Do you believe in slavery? Would your church hire a pro-segregation minister? Would you be part of a spiritual community that banned attendees of a different race? Would you attend a church that refused to allow inter-racial marriages?  I'm guessing that not only would you answer "no" to these questions, but that most of you have a hard time imagining that there was a time when the Bible was used to justify and support such notions. Thankfully, almost all Bible teaching today comes from a place o … [Read more...]

Five Elements of Church Error – The Unexpected Jesus (Part 1of 4)

Part 1: Were We Wrong About Jesus Being Wrong About Eschatology?Early in my journey to a fulfilled eschatology perspective, I had the question, “How could the mainstream church have been so wrong for so long about eschatology?” I asked the question this way, because I held to the presupposition that God wouldn’t let the faith I grew up in be in error about something as significant as the timing and nature of the coming of Jesus for “most” of history.I had the perspective that the majority … [Read more...]

What is a Coming of God? Part 3/3


Part 3 of 3 In this series, we’ve been exploring the possibility that Jesus’ “coming on the clouds” was a symbolic way of speaking about the spiritual meaning of the one of the most significant events in the First Century CE: The Jerusalem civil war, and subsequent Roman attack, culminating in the destruction of the Hebrew Temple. But is this the only time Scripture describes God “coming on the clouds”? If there are other examples, do we see these “cloud comings” of God in history following a s … [Read more...]

Coming of God – part 2

Last month, we looked at what Jesus had to say about the timing of his own parousia, or “coming.”So where else does the ‘coming of God’ show up in Holy Writ? Was a ‘coming of God’ like the world-devourer Galactus‘ herald Silver Surfer, gliding in from the sky all bright and shiny? Or was it a demonstration of God’s power in spiritual, physical and the visible realms? Let’s delve into the internal language of Scripture to discover what this concept means to its original speakers.In the Heb … [Read more...]

What is a “Coming of God?” Part 1

There is much confusion in Christianity today surrounding the milieu of biblical eschatology. Specifically, there is widespread misunderstanding about the nature and timing of Jesus’ coming, arrival or presence (parousia in Greek). In popular preaching and imagination, it’s often called his “second coming” or “return.” Many life-long Jesus-followers are surprised to learn that these are not terms found in the Bible – and then to consider how these terms effect our thinking on just what this all m … [Read more...]

Lenten Peace in Israel


Today There are three big things in my cultural-religious mind going on today. Today is St Patrick's Day. It is also Lent. And it's Israeli Election Day.  First, St. Patricks's Day. With a maiden name like Riley O'Brien, each year on this day I try to feel a sense of connection to my Irish roots. And I never do. I've never been to Ireland and I don't even drink. Instead, observance of St Patricks Day for me is usually something closer to shuffling into my closet and thinking, "Shoot! Why don't … [Read more...]

“Flipped” About Lent & Resurrection


Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of lengthening, stretching ourselves, as we journey toward celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus.Lately I've been thinking about an idea that has stretched me further, lengthened me. And, luckily, it has a roundabout connection to the Resurrection. So I'll share it with you.Last night my friend, and pastor, Doug Pagitt, hosted a book release party for his fantastic new book, Flipped:The provocative truth that changes … [Read more...]

Let’s Talk About Race


This week at my church, Solomon's Porch, while our usual master of ceremonies, Doug Pagitt, is out of town for the Christianity 21 Conference, I will be hosting the sermon time conversation. Actually I will be co-hosting the conversation with my friend Victor, who is one of the only black men in our community. And we're going to talk about race.Church continues to be one of the most segregated spaces in our culture. And my church is no exception. How does a predominantly white church go about … [Read more...]

This Advent, Think Different. What Is GOD Waiting For?

be the change

It’s Advent again. This is the time, leading up to Christmas, when we reflect upon the thousand storylines of prophecy through the centuries that moved in solemn procession toward that One climactic event; the incarnation, the birth of Jesus. We reflect upon the convergence of those storylines culminating in this one Messianic babe. Every sacrifice, from Abel’s altar to the last Passover lamb before the Passion, paved the Messiah’s path. Often, during Advent we use this time to refle … [Read more...]