The hope of Peter and Paul

The news out of Syria worsens by the day. I tweeted a string of stories yesterday morning that tax the soul: priests murdered, one horrifically beheaded on video; a suicide bombing near Maryamiyya Cathedral; Syrian Christians reasonably asking why the U.S. is at war with them.Reading these stories can lead a person down a dark path of human emotions -- hatred and despair being perhaps the most prominent. But today the church celebrates two men who might add a peculiar hope to that mix. … [Read more...]

The secret behind the Bible’s most highlighted verse

The current issue of The American Prospect features a short piece on ebooks and social reading. It mentions in passing that the Bible is the Kindle's most highlighted book and that the most highlighted verse of all is Philippians 4.6:Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.It's no scientific survey, admittedly, but it seems telling that the most underlined passage in the most underlined book … [Read more...]

Run your race with intensity

Run the race with patience

The apostle Paul compares our life in Christ to a footrace. Like any race this is one that only the diligent will win.Go back to your childhood story time. Though he had every advantage, Aesop's hare lost to the tortoise because he dawdled and frittered. We face the same temptations, but Paul exhorts us to run with intensity: Run like you want to win.Says the apostle, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?" This isn't to say that only one will … [Read more...]

The spiritual legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK

In the fall of 1956, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech and asked his audience to imagine that the Apostle Paul had penned an epistle to American Christians just as he had done nineteen hundred years before to believers in Rome, Galatia, and Colossae.What would he say? Since the apostle usually wrote to encourage and convict, what faults might he seek to correct?According to the imaginary letter that King presented, Paul took particular offense at disunity in the church, … [Read more...]

We know God by experiencing him

Weighing the faith

In the endless debates about Christianity it is common to subject the church to a cost-benefit analysis. On one side of the ledger we tally up the positive impacts the faith has had: hospitals, orphanages, universities, etc. On the other side we tote up the wars, the witch-hunts, and other unhappy what-have-yous.From this analysis we expect to decide if Christianity is worth believing. If it tilts positive, then yes. If negative, then no.Since the relative value of the items in each … [Read more...]

Daddy by grace: An adoption insight

Moses and Dad

My Moses can be a fickle child. The other night he said in his singsongy, Luganda-tinged voice, "You are not my daddy." It's a funny thing to hear as an adoptive father.My response was funny too. It was a knee-jerk thing -- accidental, really -- but I dropped some theology on the boy. "You're right," I said, "I'm not your father by nature. I'm you're father by grace."Come again? It was out of my mouth before I really understood what I had said. The words came from something I had been … [Read more...]

April fools for Christ

The Mad Hatter by Charles Robinson, Wikimedia Commons

The Bible presents us two kinds of folly, both very different. We meet the first in Proverbs. It's the folly of the person who denies the existence of God, the person who embraces a materialist worldview.We encounter the second in the writings of the apostle Paul. This folly proclaims a God so real and imminent and palpable that he takes human flesh, walks among us, and expunges our sins upon the cross.These two views are as different as whisky and chicken broth.In a flatly … [Read more...]


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