How to Be Perfect (Matthew 5:38-48)

By Eric D. BarretoThere's more to this year's Olympics than sports.“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Seriously, Jesus? Have you even met some of us? Have you seen the depths of our jealousies, the breadth of our greed? Have you noticed how insatiable our egos are? How deeply insecure we all are?Perfect?You cannot mean what you seem to mean.What then do we do with this seemingly impossible call? For many of us, this is one of those … [Read more...]

Good Samaritans All Around

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By Eric D. BarretoThe story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is so familiar that to some it probably starts to verge on a cliché. Even people who have never read the Bible, let alone the Gospel of Luke, know the image of compassion embodied by the Samaritan who takes the risk to help a stranger in the midst of great trouble. In fact, the notion of a “Good Samaritan” has a cultural cache almost entirely separate from the term’s biblical origins.However, despite many repetitions and r … [Read more...]

When People You Don’t Much Like Receive God’s Love

By Eric D. BarretoOur distaste for people who cut in line remains unchanged as we grow up. Whether someone gets to the front of the lunch line or the airport security check before us in an unfair way, our annoyance is raised. People who steal our parking spots during the Christmas season are the recipients of our worst thoughts. We might--just might--yell a string of expletives and death threats at anyone who has wronged us on the road or in a parking lot.It’s not just about being o … [Read more...]

Giving Up Guns for Lent (Luke 4:1-13)

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ByEric D. BarretoObviously, Jesus didn’t own a gun, never said anything directly about firearms. He couldn’t have.Of course, that won’t solve the debates now broiling this nation about violence and the people and tools that perpetuate it. Nonetheless, the fact that Jesus has nothing to say about guns has not stopped a number of pundits from extrapolating Jesus’ ethics on gun violence. In recent days, some Christians have tried to construct a case that Jesus himself would support self-de … [Read more...]

How to Vote like a Christian: Mark 12:28-34

By Eric D. BarretoIt seems so easy, doesn’t it? Love God. Love your neighbor. The two greatest commandments encapsulate the core of faith and could--if we really were to trust God--transform the world.Similarly then and with election day looming, voting should be an easy affair: people of faith should vote for the candidates whose policies would most embody a love of God and neighbor.It seems so easy, but it isn’t if we are honest with ourselves and gracious towards those who dis … [Read more...]

Perilous Power: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a

By Rev. Dr. Eric D. BarretoEvery Bible ought to have a warning on its cover.Watch the Video: ON Scripture: Nathan Rebukes DavidEric Barreto, an assistant professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, expands on the story of King David, Bathsheba, and a man called Nathan who rebukes the king. … [Read more...]


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