Divorcing Jesus from religion

Like all divorces this one is going to be messy.You're the judge, so try sorting this out: The complainant files papers saying she's trapped in a loveless marriage. There's neglect and even some abuse. The complainant wants full custody of the kid and certain rights and privileges to the house and the bank accounts -- none of which would exist if the plaintiff hadn't built them in the first place. This is roughly where we sit as people try to divorce Jesus from religion.The complainant … [Read more...]

The consolation of the cross

Orthodox Christians this week mark the Sunday of the Holy Cross.At the midpoint of Lent, the church makes a special point of placing the cross before us to console and embolden believers en route to Pascha, or Easter. Through its veneration and contemplation we gain strength for the journey, its upthrust beam like a staff of support. And yet, the cross is a tool of death. Why turn our minds and hearts toward such a dread instrument?C. S. Lewis once observed that "crucifixion" and … [Read more...]

The changeless love of God

Our experience of God often changes, doesn’t it? Sometimes he seems angry, other times loving; sometimes comforting, other times convicting; sometimes close, other times aloof. It varies, which is tricky because Scripture tells us that God doesn't change. So maybe -- if you'll forgive me for speaking for the entire human race -- the problem is us.Scripture frequently associates God with fire. He appears in the flames of a burning-yet-unburned bush. He leads by a blazing pillar. Flame streams … [Read more...]

We’ll take anything but the truth

Whether you're talking politics, health, business, entertainment, or religion, it's funny that a culture as skeptical as ours can be so fundamentally gullible. We can fall for nearly anything -- anything but the truth."In a materialist age like ours," writes Malcolm Muggeridge, "nothing is real except what is false. … [Read more...]

Angels in the architecture

Paul Simon's song "You Can Call Me Al" speaks of a man who sees "angels in the architecture." The man's vision is notable and different. He's "a foreign man," as the lyric goes, meaning that normal folk like you and me don't see anything in the architecture but building supplies. So who has the better vision?The word supernatural is a new one, at least relatively so. It started circulating around the middle of the sixteenth century, before scientific skepticism blew into vogue. It was an … [Read more...]

Trusting God in trying times

The Apostles Peter and Paul both spent time in the hoosegow. While both were jailed for the sake of the Gospel, I find it interesting that they passed their time in different ways. Peter slept. Paul sang.In the first instance, as Luke records in Acts 12, Herod "laid violent hands" upon the Christians. He killed James, the brother of John, and then jailed Peter. … [Read more...]

What child is this?

“What child is this?” asks the famous nineteenth century Christmas carol. It’s a question posed since Christ first entered human history two thousand years ago and a question that sometimes provokes vitriolic and sometimes violent answers. We’ve seen it in recent public tiffs about Nativity displays and, far more seriously, in threats against Christians in the Middle East.A glance to the distant past provides useful and sobering perspective. Few people exemplify and clarify the fight for the … [Read more...]