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...]

The Real War on Christmas

There is a lot of silliness in the contemporary (and now perennial) and largely conservative complaint that there is a “war on Christmas.” Often cited as evidence is the common replacement of “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” and the use of “Xmas” instead of “Christmas.”The former is a recognition that Christmas has become more than a Christian holiday in increasingly pluralistic and secular Western societies. The latter should not bother Christians: “X” has been a Christian abbreviatio … [Read more...]

Thinking about Advent

I begin with the obvious: Advent is a season of preparing for the coming of Jesus. For many centuries in Western liturgical churches, it has (like Lent) been a penitential season. Though it is about remembering his first coming 2000 years ago, it has also been about his second coming at the last judgment and the need for us to be prepared through earnest repentance.Thus, like Lent, the liturgical colors for Advent have been (and for the most part still are) violet or purple, the color of … [Read more...]


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