Why Advent Is More Jewish Than You Think

ne memorable Advent, I wondered if I was going to set our kitchen table on fire when I started lighting all the candles amassed on its surface. There were four thick pastel candles on our Advent wreath and six slender primary ones in our nearly-full Chanukah menorah, properly known as a chanukiah. My husband and I are both Jewish followers of Jesus and wanted our children to connect with the hope and history embedded in both observances. It seemed like a good idea until I realized that our … [Read more...]

“Chrismukkah”: 1 thing to learn, 1 thing to taste

So many people are interested in being more intentional about learning about the Jewish and Christian calendars, but don’t quite know where to start. I’m very happy I can commend a resource that offers a thoughtful historical and devotional overview of each calendar, but also know that many people feel as through attempting to participate will be a pile-on of extra stuff to do (and extra guilt to feel if they can’t do it).Well, every once in a while, the lunar-based Jewish calendar and the so … [Read more...]

“Thank you for your service” at Church

Popular speaker and author Jen Hatmaker’s recent interview with Jonathan Merrittaffirming same-sex relationships led Lifeway to stop carrying her books. The uproar surrounding both this interview and Lifeway’s decision kicked off a helpful conversation in the blogosphere about, among other things, the way in which conference events have served to outsource women’s ministry from the local church.Jesus Creed-reading women, I’d love to hear from you. Have your congregational leaders recognized a … [Read more...]

The Uncomfortable Circumstance That God Uses To Form A People

One distinctive of the missional movement is the emphasis on fully inhabiting the community in which we’re planted, and to shift from viewing our neighbors in terms of us (saved) and them (unsaved) toward a “we” orientation. This emphasis can be seen in books like Smith and Pattison’s Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus, The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community by Sparks, Soerens, and Friesen, and Staying Is The New … [Read more...]

Advent: 1 thing to try, 1 thing to taste

So many people are interested in being more intentional about learning about the Jewish and Christian calendars, but don’t quite know where to start. I’m very happy I can commend a resource that offers a thoughtful historical and devotional overview of each calendar, but also know that many people feel as through attempting to participate will be a pile-on of extra stuff to do (and extra guilt to feel if they can’t do it).And there is no time of year when the pile-on of "to do's" hits like an … [Read more...]

Lullaby Playlist

For the last few years, my husband and I have watched our grandsons Gabriel and Lio most Saturday evenings. Until recently, I was their Wednesday evening sitter, too. When our own three children were young, we had a dedicated bedtime routine that included prayer and a reading from a children's devotional book. The 5-year age difference between Gabriel and Lio called for a slightly different approach to goodnight prayers.I began searching out classic, peaceful worship songs and hymns to play … [Read more...]

The Gift of Context In Worship

One of many gifts my Jewish identity offered to me was the deep conviction that the Old Testament and New Testament were a single, seamless narrative revealing God’s perfect nature and redemptive work among his created, beloved image-bearers. Though few Gentile Christians would disagree with that sentiment, I’ve learned many have a conflicted relationship with the first 75% or so of the pages in their Bibles.While this statement reflects the continuing trend toward Bible illiteracy in our chu … [Read more...]