Grace and the blame game

There’s a view of God’s sovereignty that can leave us with nothing to do. Since God provides for all our needs, it seems as if there is little to do but wait for him to act and accept everything that comes. But such a view smacks more of fatalism than providence.We've all encountered this view, and probably have believed it in one way or another ourselves. … [Read more...]

Jesus: The sweetest name

Jesus, the door Jesus, the road Jesus, the guide Jesus, the goal Jesus, the beginning Jesus, the endJesus, maker of all worlds Jesus, babe in Mary's womb Jesus, physician of my soul Jesus, healer of my bodyJesus, the word of God Jesus, the wisdom of God Jesus, the face of God Jesus, the son of God Jesus, the son of manJesus, waves beneath his feet Jesus, winds at his command Jesus, angels arrayed in fear Jesus, children running nearJesus, the savior Jesus, the … [Read more...]

Stepping upon Christ’s back

Getting your theology from pop lyrics is usually a poor idea, but there are wonderful exceptions. Take Terry Taylor's 1998 solo album, John Wayne. Known better for raucous numbers like "Hide the Beer, the Pastor's Here" and "Darn Floor, Big Bite," Taylor has also written many quiet and meditative songs over the years. … [Read more...]

Christians making a difference

Whether it's the political activism of the eighties and nineties or the social activism of today, Christians want to make a difference in the world. But are we starting in the right place?Often we see a crisis or a need and jump to fix it. We raise funds, join a movement, buy a T-shirt, send our tithe, blog, campaign, distribute voters guides, do all kinds of things -- many of them good. But they're not enough. All those things are externally focused, which is only half the picture."The … [Read more...]

The sanctifying power of marriage

When I think of marriage I think of grace, particularly the phrase “grace for the moment.” Marriage requires grace every moment if it’s going to be what God desires it to be. Thankfully, God extends his grace to us through marriage.Historically speaking, the church has always recognized marriage as a sacrament. This is important to understand when speaking of the mystery of marriage, as Paul does in Ephesians. The words “mystery” and “sacrament” are synonymous. The first is Greek and the seco … [Read more...]

Fear and the stories we tell ourselves

We live in a bramble of innumerable fears. We have anxiety about our families, worry about our jobs, concern about our futures. More the fruit of imagination than actuality, these fears can bud and grow in our minds until we are entangled and entrapped.Our creatureliness explains why we find ourselves enmeshed in this thicket. As creatures, we are self-protective. Vulnerable to life’s vicissitudes, we face a future with a million possibilities, some of them dangerous and threatening. Natural r … [Read more...]

Miles from the truth

In 1995 author Jack Miles touched off a theological tempest in a teapot with his publication of God: A Biography, in which he attempts to tell the story of God by reading the Hebrew Scriptures as "imaginative literature." With the 2001 publication of Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God, Miles uses the same approach to explore the life and significance of Jesus, and the tempest is again brewing.The result of the Pulitzer-winning God was a radical revisionist take on its subject, imaging God … [Read more...]