Centers for Disease Control: Be Prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse


The New York Times heading certainly got my attention: “Zombies Upstage a Routine Public Health Bulletin.”  This is the Times, for goodness’ sakes, not the Onion. Here’s how the story begins: Pity poor Tom Skinner, a top spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has been valiantly trying to interest reporters in [Read More...]

Is the End Near? Is Tomorrow Judgment Day? When is the Kingdom of God Coming?

   A screenshot from the Family Radio website.

Is the End near? Is Judgment Day approaching? Will it come tomorrow? Harold Camping of Family Radio answers with an enthusiastic “Yes!” In fact, he is sure that tomorrow, May 21, 2011, will be the Day of Judgment, the day when the kingdom of God begins to come in all fulness. According to Camping, we’ll [Read More...]

Reading the Times: What’s Beyond Happiness?

John Tierney reports on a change of mind from the founder of the positive psychology movement. Here’s how his story begins: Is happiness overrated? Martin Seligman now thinks so, which may seem like an odd position for the founder of the positive psychology movement. As president of the American Pyschological Association in the late 1990s, [Read More...]

Where is the Kingdom of God? Is It In Your Heart?

Part 9 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? On Monday, I began to consider the “location” of the kingdom of God. My first point was: 1. The kingdom of God is not what we call heaven. God’s reign surely encompasses what we call heaven. But when Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God, [Read More...]

Reading the Times: Poor Quality College Education; Internet Censored in Turkey

Your So-Called Education Sociologists Richard Arum (NYU) and Josipa Roksa (UVa) report on the discouraging findings from their study of undergraduate education. Parents, brace yourselves: We would be happy to join in the celebrations if it weren’t for our recent research, which raises doubts about the quality of undergraduate learning in the United States. Over [Read More...]

“There Is No Heaven” – What the Faith of Stephen Hawking Misses


In yesterday’s post, I began to consider the “faith” of Stephen Hawking. He expressed this faith in a recent interview with the Guardian: “I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I [Read More...]

Reading the Times: Religion and Financial Destiny; Hats off to Yale!

Yale University

Is Religion Your Financial Destiny? David Leonhardt reviews the recent findings of Pew survey. It finds a high correlation between certain relgious traditions and our financial status. Do you want to be well off? Better become a Reform Jew. Here’s a paragraph worthy of further consideration: Many factors are behind the discrepancies among religions, but [Read More...]

“There Is No Heaven” – The Faith of Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which leaves him almost paralyzed and in a wheel chair.

I am taking a slight detour from my series on the message of Jesus because of a fortuitous (providential?) coincidence. Yesterday, I asked: “Is the kingdom of God the same thing as heaven?” The answer, according to Jesus in the New Testament Gospels, is “No.”  Heaven is encompassed within God’s reign, but the kingdom of [Read More...]

Reading the Times: Facebook and Google with Egg On Their Faces

    Mark Zuckerberg

According to recent articles in the New York Times, Facebook and Google have egg-covered faces. Both digital giants, it seems, have been acting in ways that contradict their own pledges and policies. Facebook, Foe of Anonymity, is Forced to Explain a Secret According to Miguel Helft, Facebook, which prides itself on openness, has been engaged [Read More...]

Where is the Kingdom of God? Is It Heaven?

Heaven? No, this is just an In-N-Out restaurant in LAX in Los Angeles. But, when In-N-Out opened its first Texas restaurants last week, patrons had to wait in lines for hours. Did they think it was heaven? Or just that In-N-Out has heavenly food?

Part 8 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? This post could have been entitled “Where the Kingdom of God is Not.” It deals with the first of two common misunderstandings of the kingdom of God as proclaimed by Jesus. I’ll address each of these, one today and one tomorrow, by stating something that [Read More...]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: God is On Your Side

God Is On Your Side! Psalm 56:1-13 My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! Psalm 56:9 In Psalm 56, David cries out to God for mercy because “people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long” (56:1). In particular, David’s enemies [Read More...]

Reading the Times: Social Media in Class; Persecution of Christians in China

Students enjoy using cell phones in class

Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media Trip Gabriel, writing for the New York Times, examines the growing use of social median in classrooms. Here’s an excerpt: With Twitter and other microblogging platforms, teachers from elementary schools to universities are setting up what is known as a “backchannel” in their classes. The real-time digital [Read More...]

A Bit of Fun

Every spring, a couple of barn swallows return to my back porch. Soon we have the high-pitched tweets (real tweets!) of several baby barn swallows. The proof is in this video: [Read more...]

How Does Jesus Proclaim the Kingdom of God? Part 2

Rembrandt van Rijn, "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee," 1633.

Part 7 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? Oops. Yesterday’s post “Where is the Kingdom of God?” came a day too soon. I want to say a little more about how Jesus proclaims the kingdom of God before I move. So please pardon a day of backtracking. In Tuesday’s post, I showed some [Read More...]

Where is the Kingdom of God?

Ruins of the synagogue in Capernaum. Photo used by permission from

Part 6 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? Where is the Kingdom of God? So far in this series we’ve seen that Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God using a variety of words and works. The essence of his message is summarized in Mark 1:15: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of [Read More...]

Presbyterians Will Revise Ordination Standards: A Brief Response to This Change in the PC(USA)


In a few days, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will officially revise its ordination standards. Voting in PC(USA) regional bodies (presbyteries) now makes this change inevitable. Newspaper headlines will say things like: “PC(USA) Endorses Gay Ordination.” This is true in a way, but not entirely true either, because no church in the PC(USA) will be compelled [Read More...]