A Church as a Body, Part 1

The ruins of ancient Corinth. Photo from HolyLandPhotos.com.

Recap: In this series, What is a Church?, I’m trying to discover what the Bible says about the local church. What is, or better yet, what should this odd collection of people we call a church be like? What is the nature of a Christian community, according to Scripture? So far I’ve examined in detail [Read More...]

Church Beyond the Local Gathering

Sunday-school-tune-book-5

Part 12 of series: What is a Church? Church Beyond the Local Gathering Before I finish my discussion of the meaning of the word ekklesia – usually translated as “church” – in the New Testament, I need to say something about the use of ekklesia in Paul’s letters to the Colossians and the Ephesians. Curiously, [Read More...]

You Don’t See These Everyday in Your Police Blotter!

An Iraqi dinar from 1991

For fun, yes, fun, I sometime read the police blotter in my local newspaper, the Boerne Star. Here are some items from the most recent edition (Nov 4). Boerne Police Department October 30, 1:59 a.m. – An officer found nothing suspicious where a woman reported hearing someone walking about outside, followed by a thud, but [Read More...]

The Church as an Alternative Community, Part 2

The logo of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Part 11 of series: What is a Church? The Church as an Alternative Community, Part 2 In yesterday’s post, I explained how the early Christian use of the work ekklesia for their gathering suggested that the church was an alternative, even a subversive community. By subversive, I do not mean that Christians were plotting to [Read More...]

Why Is Work Important?

Barr-Work-Important-7

The High Calling features a 60-second video on the question: Why is work important? Check out this short clip on the transformative power of work. Do you think Doug Barr is right? Is this why work matters? [Read more...]

What is a Church? A Church as an Alternative Community, Part 1

Westport Community Church, Swanzey, New Hampshire

Part 10 of series: What is a Church? The Church as an Alternative Community, Part 1 Let me begin with a brief review. In my last few posts in this series I’ve been exploring the meaning of the Greek word ekklesia, which is ordinarily translated as “church.” This translation, however, is not necessarily the best [Read More...]

How Can I Be Joyful When God Disciplines Me? Inspiration from The High Calling

How Can I Be Joyful When God Disciplines Me? Psalm 94:1-23 Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions. Psalm 94:12 When I hear the word “discipline,” a part of me winces. I don’t have a problem with the sound of the word, but rather its connotation. “Discipline” reminds me of [Read More...]

Nine Stereotypes for Pastors – My Latest Addition to The Pastors Workshop

TV evangelist Benny Hinn preaching in San Antonio. Image from WikiCommons.

My latest contribution to The Pastors Workshop is up. In this column, I consider different stereotypes for pastors. What I’m wondering about is this: What roles and positions in our cultural setting might be projected onto pastors? If people learn that you’re a clergyperson, what assumptions might they have about you and your ministry? What [Read More...]

I Am Such a Trend-Setter!! :) LOL OMG

emoticons-silly-5

A couple of months ago, a business associate of mine ended a text message to me with a funny emoticon (AKA smiley). As it turns out, he had intended to send it to his daughter, but sent it to me accidentally. Well, that inspired me, so, with considerable help from Google, I discovered how to [Read More...]

What is a Church? Biblical Basics for Christian Community

what-is-church-mem-6

For the last three weeks, I’ve been working away at a series I’ve called What is a Church? Biblical Basis for Christian Community. So far, I’ve focused on questions like: Where do people get their ideas of church? When is a church not a church? As you know, in most blogs, if you want to [Read More...]

God, No! Thoughts About Magic and Christianity

Benozzo Gozzoli, "The Fall of Simon Magus," 1461-1462

A recent article in Religion News Service got me thinking about magic and Christianity. “Magicians say their craft makes them see faith as just hocus-pocus” begins by noting the recently published book by famed magician, Penn Jillette. In God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, Jillette uses his platform [Read More...]

A Presbyterian Church Makes the New York Times and There’s No Scandal!

From the Resurrection Presbyterian Church website.

I was surprised and pleased to see that a Presbyterian Church made it into the New York Times today. No, there is no scandal. Nothing about declining membership or divisive church politics. None of that. The headline I read in the morning was “Millenials in Church – Up Close.” The online edition is called “A [Read More...]

What Makes a Great Place to Work?

Microsoft ranks #1 on the list of great places to work.

A recent article in USA Today asks and then answers the question: What makes a place to work a great place to work? The answer to this question comes from aptly named institute, The Great Place to Work Institute.This institute has identified three crucial factors that make a workplace great: Firms that rank high on [Read More...]

I Used to Own One of Chevrolet’s Biggest Flops!

A Chevrolet Citation, care of WikiCommons

A recent article in USA Today celebrates the 100-year birthday of Chevrolet. It contains a few surprises. For example, did you know that the first Chevy Suburban was sold in 1935? That makes Suburban the “longest-lived automotive nameplate in continual use.” What I found most ironic, however, was the list of Chevy’s biggest losers. According [Read More...]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 4

Some of the children of Irvine Presbyterian Church worshiping during Vacation Bible School. Now that's what I call an ekklesia!

Part 9 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 4 In yesterday’s post, I explained that the earliest Christian usage of the word ekklesia, which is normally translated as “church” in English Bibles, referred to an actual gathering of believers in Jesus. The ekklesia in Thessalonica didn’t exist, [Read More...]

When a Church is Not a Church, Part 3

"Freedom of Speech," by Normal Rockwell

Part 8 of series: What is a Church? When a Church is Not a Church, Part 3 In my last two posts, I suggested that the Greek word ekklesia, which is usually translated as “church” in our English New Testaments, did not have the religious overtones we naturally hear when “church” is spoken. Because of [Read More...]


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