Easter Again

I sympathize with clergy who preach about Easter to the same congregation for several years. Of course, you say what you think is most important the first time. So what do you say the second time and the third time and more? Do you avoid saying what you said the first time so that you don’t repeat yourself? But wouldn’t that mean leaving out what you think is most important because you’ve already said it? Or do you proclaim it… Read more

“Holy Monday”: Public Protest in the Temple

On Monday in Holy Week, Jesus performed the second of two provocative public protests in Jerusalem. The first, as described in my previous blog, occurred on what has come to be called “Palm Sunday.” Two processions entered Jerusalem for the Festival of Passover that year. One happened every year while Judea was ruled by Roman governors, the most famous of whom was Pontius Pilate. Imperial cavalry and troops, displaying the pomp and power of empire, entered the city to reinforce… Read more

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

I wish that all Christians knew the story of Holy Week. Indeed, I wish everybody, Christian or not, did. But Christians especially. It is the story that should shape our understanding of Jesus and thus our understanding of what it means to be Christian – of what it means to follow him, to follow “the way” that he revealed and embodied. What most Christians know about Holy Week centers on Good Friday and Easter, Jesus’s death and resurrection. The former… Read more

Lent and the Cross

A few blogs ago, I wrote about a persistent theme of my thinking in my middle and late adult life: memories, conversions, and convictions. Memories of what I absorbed as I grew up Christian more than half a century ago; major changes in my understanding since then; and the convictions that have emerged from those changes. And as I wrote many blogs ago, those changes include a different understanding of Lent with its climax in Holy Week, Good Friday and… Read more

Ash Wednesday: Death and Repentance

Ash Wednesday (this year, March 5th) is the first day of the season of Lent. In liturgical churches, it begins with a vivid reminder of death. As the words “Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return” are said, Christians are marked on their foreheads with ashes in the shape of the cross. The words echo language from the funeral liturgy, “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” Death is one of the primary themes of Lent. Each of… Read more

Amos Continued

This blog supplements my previous “Amos and American Christianity.” If you read that first, this blog will make more sense to you. Amos’s radical criticism of the way the powerful and wealthy of his time and place had structured their social world in their own self-interest got him in trouble with the powers that ruled his world. Amos 7.10-17 contains one of the Bible’s most vivid encounters between the ruling elites of the ancient world and “the Word of the… Read more

Amos and American Christianity

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I wish every Christian knew. On my list: I wish all Christians, especially American Christians, knew the book of Amos. My reasons are both personal and more than personal. Amos was responsible for one of the three major conversions in my life. Two were intellectual and religious: a conversion to the study of religion and an experiential conversion to the conviction that God is real. The third was political: from the… Read more

The Bible and Mysticism

I am very much enjoying and valuing the conversation about my recent blog about the Bible and what it is and is not. I am especially interested in the comments about mystical experiences and how they (or the lack of them) affect understandings of the Bible. Mysticism and mystical experiences can be defined in a very narrow or broader sense of the word. In the narrow sense, they are relatively few and might be dismissed, by religious and non-religious people… Read more

What the Bible Is

An alert to readers of the “Progressive Christian” Faith Stream who do not often read the “Evangelical” Faith Stream: if you are interested in Christian conflict about the Bible (what it is, and whether it is inerrant and to be interpreted literally), you should regularly visit Peter Enns’ blog. From within the evangelical stream of Christianity, he often challenges both inerrancy and literalism. His blogs consistently draw a large number of responses that provide a window into how many conservative… Read more

Memories, Conversions, and Convictions

The triad named in the title of this blog has been illuminating as I have reflected about the stages of my life as a Christian. The meaning of memories is obvious, especially our memories of growing up, going back to childhood and continuing into young adulthood and beyond. Conversions are about major changes in our orientation toward life. Not just changes like a new job or geographical move or marriage or divorce or retirement. Those can leave us unchanged, even… Read more


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