Prayer for our Nation

O Father, We pray that You will grant to the people of this nation the will to do good, To flee from evil, and To practice all righteousness, asking us to be respectful of life and sharers of Your blessings, Caring for one another in mercy and truth. And we pray that You will banish all evil from our hearts and wickedness from our laws, enabling us to be servants of Your holy will and performers of Your love. Through Christ our Lord, Amen. From Orthodox Church in America … [Read More...]

The First Thanksgiving

Fellow Pilgrims (RJS)

 The next section of Philip Yancey's new book Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? looks at three kinds of Christians having an impact in our world: pilgrims, activists, and artists. Yancey devotes a chapter to each, and each deserves some consideration here over the next several posts. Pilgrims. This is a particularly apropos this week - at least for those of us in the US. The painting of the first Thanksgiving shown to the right is not historically accurate (wrong clothing … [Read More...]

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 7.01.39 PM

How to Listen to a Sermon

In a class this semester, after seeking to explain what James meant in his context -- and that means learning to read James in light of themes in James, a student was both in agreement (so it seemed to me) and frustrated, and said, "How in the world can you listen to sermons?" Careful study of James leads the specialist to see things others probably wouldn't see, so the student wondered how I could put up with what some see in the Bible.What is your wisdom on how to listen to a sermon?My … [Read More...]

The Grinch @nseminary

Michelle Van Loon's charming post about being caught by surprise in Cherith Fee Nordling's class: This quarter at Northern Seminary, I took a class for which I had low enthusiasm before I walked in the door back in September. In fact, the words “low enthusiasm” might be overstating it a bit. If it h … [Read More...]

Jesus and Niceness (by Allan Bevere)

By Allan Bevere.I like nice... nice is...well... nice. To Quote Major Frank Burns inM*A*S*H, "It's nice to be nice to the nice."But nice is really boring.Jesus wasn't boring. The crowds didn't follow him all over Judea and Galilee hanging on every word he spoke because we was just nice. Nice … [Read More...]

The Parable of Bette Midler (by Jason Micheli)

The Parable of Bette Midler and the SI Swimsuit EditionI didn’t always know Him. Thought I did.And before that, for a long time, I didn’t know him at all.God, that is.I mean, I wasn’t always a disciple, a ‘servant of the Lord.’I didn’t even attend a regular worship service- ever- unti … [Read More...]

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is…

Almighty and everlasting God,Whose will it is to restore all things in your well¯beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords:Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth,divided and enslaved by sin,may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule;Who … [Read More...]

Luggage in the Sanctuary

Michelle Van Loon, and follow the link to read the rest:Are you aware of the luggage others are carrying? If you attended a church service this weekend, you may have been sitting in a roomful of suitcases. There’s no way to tell what percentage of people in a given congregation are sc … [Read More...]

Weekly Meanderings, 22 November 2014

Welcome from San Diego -- Kris and I are at our annual attendance at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and enjoying a brief respite from the cold weather in Chicagoland. (By the way, I checked the Dashboard and this is the 473d Weekly Meanderings... wow, that's almost 9 full years of our … [Read More...]

Singleness and Suffering

Michael Gehrling's honest reflections on singleness:I’ve learned a lot about singleness. I’ve even come to appreciate it, and can agree with the Apostle Paul that singleness is a gift as valuable as marriage. I can see that the gift of singleness is more than having extra time to devote to "mi … [Read More...]

Magical Realism in Ministry

By John Frye:Self-Talk and StorytellingPastors, let’s discipline our inner conversations. In Psalm 42, the song-writer talks to himself, to his soul. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God…” What we have here is an example of self talk. I googled ‘s … [Read More...]

The Biggest Mistake in Kingdom Talk

The most common mistake I hear when people are talking about kingdom is comparison talk. It goes like this or this or this or this:"So you think kingdom and church are the same (but not identical), then you need to come to my church because that will show you the difference." "Kingdom is the … [Read More...]

The Exchange Dance of Catholics and Protestants in Latin America

Adam Taylor reports about the Pew study of Catholic decrease and Protestant increase in Latin America. This chart tells it all: … [Read More...]

5 Questions … and Some Answers (RJS)

I picked up an interesting and somewhat unusual new book recently, Science and Religion: 5 Questions. The editor, Gregg D. Caruso, posed five questions on science and religion to thirty three different authors and scholars covering a broad range of viewpoints. Respondents include Daniel C. Dennett, … [Read More...]

Ordinary (Christian) is OK

From the days of Plutarch all the way to our modern world we tell stories about people who have the most extraordinary accomplishments. And once anyone's story is told they move from wherever they were on the scale of accomplishments to the upper echelon. We don't talk about the fella's book that … [Read More...]

The Winners Are…

Here are the winners to the Baylor University Press giveaway of Richard Hays, Reading Backwards:Over 700 entries!Baylor will be contacting each person.We randomly generated 5 winners from the giveaway this morning, and they are:Ryan Kelley  Sara Evans Brett Sanner Matt M … [Read More...]

Good Jobs, Bad Jobs

[Read More...]