They’re nothing more exciting than a box. Cats love them - usually empty. Kids use them as fuel for endless expressions of imagination. We get gifts in them. Send gifts in them. We get practical things out of boxes and extravagant things. Boxes are great. And so, it’s no wonder that we talk about the way we see the world as putting things in boxes or insisting that we are box breakers.From early in life we learn to categorize and order the world around us. Mom usually gets her own box. Then c … [Read more...]

All Lives Matter vs Black Lives Matter: The Already and the Not Yet

Ahnnalise Stevens-Jennings

There has been a lot of debate over the phrases “Black Lives Matter,” and “All Lives Matter” over the past year. I would like to frame this conversation in religious terms. Christians have a unique vision of the eschaton, or in non-theological terms, the end of human history. We believe that in some ways, the end, that is the full reign of the Kingdom of God and the restoration of all creation back to its creator, is here now already.If we look around us, it is clear that the world is not hea … [Read more...]

Calling God “She” — It’s Just Another Pronoun!

"She" - Digital Image by Marg Herder

Many people believe (even at a subconscious level) that to refer to God using female pronouns is just plain wrong, if not heresy.I am constantly amazed at the linguistic contortions people will go through to make the point that, while God is not male or female, we still must use male pronouns to refer to “Him.” Other writers assert that God is spirit, not gendered in any sense of the term, but they still use “He” and “His” exclusively throughout their argument.  (Google “Is God male?” to see … [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...]

Us or Them versus Us for Them

Jesus who Forgave the Oppressor. Jesus who sets free the Oppressed. Jesus who sets things right.

Us or Them versus Us for Them Ahh. The Bible. Romans 14. Read this for a second.14 Welcome those who are weak in faith,[a] but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that … [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...]

The Hiddenness of God, How Resurrection Can Be Disappointing, and the Future of the Church

Kelley Hudlow is an attorney and Episcopal Deacon who lives in Alabama. She recently invited me onto her podcast  for a conversation about Resurrection and the story of the two disciples walking with Christ on the road to Emmaus. As we spoke, I was greatly encouraged by the idea that God's resurrection life may be all around us in our sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly, ordinary lives. The conversation explored different topics: the hiddenness of God, how resurrection can be disappointing, a … [Read more...]

Why Busy Christians Need to Learn from Thomas Merton

Merton books

The Catholic mystic Thomas Merton’s witness and wisdom can help those of us seeking to integrate contemplation and action today. Who would have thought that a cloistered monk, writing from behind the gated boundaries of the austere Cistercian order, would become a counter-culture hero, the “conscience of the peace movement,” as Daniel Berrigan called him, and a spiritual teacher to millions?Merton first published a spiritual autobiography narrating his conversion to Catholicism and the monas … [Read more...]