Religion and Culture: Interfaith Effort Encourages Religious Tolerance

Laurie Goodstein, religion reporter for the New York Times, has written a fascinating piece on a relatively new effort to increase religious tolerance in the United States. In “An Effort to Foster Tolerance in Religion,” Goodstein tells the story of Eboo Patel, a Rhodes scholar with a doctorate in sociology from Oxford, a Muslim man [Read More...]

What Was the Message of Jesus? Summary

Throughout this series on the message of Jesus I’ve attempted to answer the most common and central questions people have about his message. In this final post I want to review what we have learned by summarizing my answers succinctly. I have gathered all of the individual posts on this topic into a series I’ve [Read More...]

Something to Think About: Justices Using Dictionaries

Adam Liptak explores the growing use of dictionaries by U.S. Supreme Court Justices in “Justices Turning More Frequently to Dictionary, and Not Just for Big Words.” Increasingly, justices are turning to dictionaries for definitions that help them decide legal cases: A new study in The Marquette Law Review found that the justices had used dictionaries [Read More...]

How Does the Message of Jesus Lead to His Crucifixion?

Model of the temple in Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. From the Israel Museum.

Part 19 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? In my last post, I wrapped up an extended answer to the question: How is the kingdom of God coming? I showed that Jesus, contrary to the expectations of his disciples and, indeed, all other first-century Jews, believed that the kingdom of God would come [Read More...]

How is the Kingdom of God Coming? Part 6


Part 18 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? In my last post, I discussed Jesus’ rather elliptical response to James and John when they ask to sit alongside him in his glory. “You do not know what you are asking,” he says. “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” (Mark [Read More...]

Sunday Inspiration from The High Calling: The Divine Complaint Department

The Divine Complaint Department Psalm 64:1-10 O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats. Psalm 64:1 Perhaps one of my least favorite parts of being a pastor is hearing people’s complaints. During my sixteen-year tenure as Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, I was blessed with a congregation that had [Read More...]

What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter?

Today is Pentecost Sunday, a day of celebration for Christians around the world. In the last three days I have been blogging on the meaning and spiritual significance of Pentecost. I have gathered these three posts into a series which I have called: What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? In this series I discuss [Read More...]

What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? What is the Spiritual Significance of Pentecost?

“Pentecost” by Giotto di Bondone, 1320-25, National Gallery, London.

Part 3 of series: What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? My last post in this series began to answer the question: So, then, what difference does it make for us today that the first Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit almost two millennia ago on the Jewish festival of Pentecost? I suggested two [Read More...]

Pentecost FAQ, Part 2: What is the Spiritual Significance of Pentecost?

A stained glass window from the Meaux Cathedral in Meaux, France. Public domain.

Part 2 of series: What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? In yesterday’s post I gave a brief overview of some basic facts about Pentecost: What is Pentecost? What does the word “Pentecost” mean? What actually happened on the day of Pentecost? Should we believe that all of this actually happened? How is Pentecost related [Read More...]

Something to Think About: On Lying Politicians


As more and more national leaders from both political parties are calling for the resignation of Congressman Anthony Weiner because he sent lewd, unwanted messages to women over the Internet and then lied about it repeatedly in public, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is confused. According to ABC News: [Read More...]

Pentecost FAQ: What is the Christian Celebration of Pentecost All About?


Part 1 of series: What is Pentecost? Why Does It Matter? This coming Sunday, Christians across the world will celebrate Pentecost. In fact, not all Christians recognize this holiday (holy day). But it is generally honored in liturgical churches (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, etc.), in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, and in many other [Read More...]

A Whole New Word: “Dispositive”


I’ve spent a fair amount of my life reading. Along the way, I’ve been exposed to a wide array of words. Yet, there are plenty of words I have never read before or, at least, never paid really noticed. I love coming upon new words, making sense of them and perhaps even integrating them into [Read More...]

How is the Kingdom of God Coming? Part 5


Part 17 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? In my last post I began to comment on the passage in Mark 10 where James and John ask Jesus: “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory” (10:37). Of course the fact that Jesus has [Read More...]

Understanding Anthony Weiner and the Seductive Power of the Internet

Anthony Weiner with a megaphone. Perhaps he should have stuck to simpler technologies.

Yesterday at a news conference, Congressman Anthony Weiner admitted sending inappropriate photos of himself via the Internet. Specifically, he “confessed to sending a photo of himself in his underwear to a woman over Twitter, then lying about it.” He added that “the indiscretion was part of a pattern of sending inappropriate photos and messages to [Read More...]

Tech Trends: Should Teachers Be Free to Say Negative Things About Their Students on Facebook?


A recent op-ed in the New York Times raises the issue of teachers being disciplined for saying negative things about their students on Facebook. “When Teachers Talk Out of School” by Jonathan Zimmerman of NYU presents the following examples: Christine Rubino, a New York City math teacher, posted on Facebook things like: “After today, I’m [Read More...]

How is the Kingdom of God Coming? Part 4

GIOTTO di Bondone, The Stefaneschi Triptych: Christ Enthroned, c. 1330, Tempera on panel, Pinacoteca, Vatican

Part 16 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? In my last post in this series, I examined the passage in Mark 8 where Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 8:27-30). But, when Jesus starting talking about the Son of Man suffering and dying, Peter rebuked Jesus, who in turn rebuked Peter for [Read More...]