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 conservative political … [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 alike, as aberrations and not … [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 conser … [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 as they sometimes … [Read more...]

Postscript to “Christmas, Jesus and Caesar”

I just posted a reply to some comments made in response to one of Peter Enns’ recent blogs on Patheos’s evangelical faith channel ( I believe it was called "Forgotten Jesus" - but I have not checked). For those of you who don’t know his blog, I commend it highly.Because my reply is also relevant to the discussion of Jesus and Caesar that is happening on my blog-site, I post it here as well:A brief response to those who have raised the question whether Jesus was "really divine," "actually … [Read more...]

Christmas: Jesus, Caesar and Us

The conflict between “Jesus and Caesar” is a major even if most often overlooked theme of the Christmas stories in the Bible. In Matthew, King Herod the Rome-appointed ruler of the Jewish homeland seeks to kill the new-born Jesus. Luke emphasizes – especially but not only in Mary’s “Magnificat” – that what is happening in the advent of Jesus is the bringing down of the powerful from their thrones and the wealthy from their place of privilege.Both stories announce the conflict that contin … [Read more...]

Two Christmas Pageants

Most – perhaps all - Christmas pageants combine the stories of Jesus’s birth in the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke. From Luke: the announcement to Mary that she will conceive a son through the Holy Spirit, the journey to Bethlehem where there is no room in the inn so that Jesus is born in a stable, the angelic message to shepherds who then visit the new-born Jesus. From Matthew, wise men (typically portrayed as kings) following the star and bringing gifts to the infant Jesus. So also C … [Read more...]


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