David Brooks on the Pitfalls of College Graduation and the Origin of Calling


David Brooks’ recent op-ed in the New York Times is a provocative piece called: “It’s Not About You.” He writes about the perils of graduating from college and entering as world that is “wide open and unstructured.” Today’s grads are sent into the world with the platitudes of graduation speeches. But these, according to Brooks, [Read More...]

Tech Trends: What If Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

Could a cancer risk end our cultural love affair with the cell phone?

An article in today’s New York Times caught my eye: “Cellphone Radiation May Cause Cancer, Advisory Panel Says.” Now that’s not what I needed to start my day, but it certainly did get my interest. According to this story by Tara Parker-Pope and Felicity Barringer, several things seems to be true: 1. The Advisory Panel [Read More...]

How is the Kingdom of God Coming? Part 2

This is the kind of coin that Jesus used to make his point about giving to Caesar what is owed to Caesar, and to God what is owed to God. Curiously, the Latin around the head of Tiberius Caesar reads TI CAESAR DIVI AUG F AUGUSTUS, or Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti Filius Augustus, in English, Augustus Tiberius Caesar the Son of the Divine Augustus. Photo from http://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=179249.

Part 14 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? In my last post, I outlined some of the ways Jews in the time of Jesus answered the question: How is the kingdom of God coming? Though there were a variety of answers to that question, almost all Jews in the first century agreed that [Read More...]

Tech Trends: Groupon Uses Poetry and Humor to Grow Its Business


A couple of months ago I signed up with Groupon. Now I get an email “coupon” each day, offering me some deal within a reasonable drive from my house. None of this is especially interesting. But what I have found interesting is the written copy that entices me to use my daily coupon. For example, [Read More...]

Tech Trends: Is Technology a Threat to Love?


Digital technology helps us stay in touch with our loved ones. It gives us new ways to communicate with our family members and closest friends. So it supports and expands our ways of loving, right? Jonathan Franzen, an award-winning author, says “No.” A couple of weeks ago he delivered the commencement address at Kenyon College [Read More...]

A Prayer for Memorial Day


Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day when we remember with gratitude those who have died in military service. It has been my tradition for many years to offer a prayer on the occasion of Memorial Day. ——————————- Gracious, Sovereign God, Lord of all nations, On this Memorial Day, we pause to [Read More...]

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling: The Help We Really Need

Psalm 60:1-12 Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless. Psalm 60:11 American culture prizes self-reliance. We admire those people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and forge ahead with determination. We want to control our lives and our destinies. When we get in trouble, we expect to help [Read More...]

A Miraculous Cure for Bug Bite Itching? This Remedy Really Works!


For the past several years, I have put up a version of this post. The response from people has been quite enthusiastic. So, given that we’re entering the buggy summer months, I thought it would be good to redo and repost this information. First of all, though, let me be clear that I am not [Read More...]

How is the Kingdom of God Coming?

Cave 4 at Qumran, the source of many of the Dead Sea scrolls. This picture used by permission of HolyLandPhotos.org, an outstanding website of photos of biblical sites.

Part 13 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? So far in this series, What Was the Message of Jesus?, we’ve seen that the core of Jesus’ proclamation was “the kingdom of God has come near” (Mark 1:15). In my most recent posts in this series, I focused on the question of when the [Read More...]

Living Well: A Memory Tonic for the Aging Brain


Do you find yourself forgetting things that you should remember? Are you wishing that you could somehow improve your memory? Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times has a suggestion. In “A Memory Tonic for the Aging Brain,” she reports that physical exercise has a positive effect on memory. The article begins by chronicling what [Read More...]

When is the Kingdom of God Coming? Some “Already and Not Yet” Analogies

At last!

Part 13 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? In recent posts I have shown that Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God as something both present and future. Like the mustard seed, the kingdom is small in the moment, yet will be great in the future. The more we study Jesus’ ministry without chopping [Read More...]

Tech Trends: The Twitter Trap

A twitter trap?

Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, questions the impact of Twitter and other social media on our minds. Here are a few salient excerpts: I don’t mean to be a spoilsport, and I don’t think I’m a Luddite. I edit a newspaper that has embraced new media with creative, prizewinning gusto. I [Read More...]

When is the Kingdom of God Coming? Then? Now? Neither? Both?


Part 12 of series: What Was the Message of Jesus? I ended my last post with an apparent riddle. Throughout the Gospels Jesus proclaims the kingdom of God, sometimes as coming in the future, and sometimes as a present reality. So which is it? How can we understand the apparently divergent themes in Jesus’ preaching [Read More...]

Tech Trends: Female Magazine Fans Flock to Nook Color


Jeremy W. Peters of the New York Times reports that Barnes & Noble, purveyors of the Nook Color, have been pleasantly surprised by the popularity of this device among women, especially for magazine reading. Here are some excerpts from the article: Even as the iPad remains the favorite son of the magazine business, publishers are [Read More...]

When is the Kingdom Coming? In the Present?


In yesterday’s post, I examined several sayings of Jesus that suggest the kingdom of God is coming in the future. Today, I want to consider sayings that emphasize the presence of the kingdom now. The Present Kingdom If Jesus had only spoken of the reign of God in a future tense, our task would be [Read More...]

My Newest Preachers Portal Column: Preaching Living Water When Your Well Has Run Dry


How can you preach when you’re exhausted? I respond to this question in the latest edition of my column in the Patheos Preachers Portal. Here’s how it begins: How can you offer living water through your preaching when your well is bone dry? Have you ever asked yourself this? I have, many times. During my [Read More...]