A Passover meditation

Why is this night different than all other nights?Why is that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzo, but on this night we eat only matzo?Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice? Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position? The … [Read more...]

Lazarus Saturday

In the liturgical year, tomorrow is the day known as "Lazarus Saturday". The story of the resurrection of Lazarus can be found here. Of all the supernatural reports found in the gospels, of water-to-wine and blind eyes seeing, this is the episode that gives me an intimate look at the kind of person Jesus was.Most of the other Biblical accounts of miracles are tantalizing twitter-style headlines: "Bleeding woman healed", "Paralytic runs out of house after meeting Jesus", "Demonized man back in … [Read more...]

Coupla completely unrelated book reviews

From the top of my reading stack:When I saw Chosen: An Autobiography sitting at the top of the "new releases" shelf at the Trinity Bookstore, I grabbed it last week during the store's 40% off clearance sale. (See note about why the store had 40% off new releases, below.) Chosen is the life story of Michele Guinness, a Jewish believer married to an Anglican priest. The book is veddy British, containing lots of references to places (WH Smith's in Newcastle) and things (nappies) that communicate … [Read more...]

Transition questions

This series of posts entitled "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" by one of my favorite internet teachers, Michael Spencer, a.k.a. The Internet Monk, has gotten a LOT of coverage from Christian media as well as being picked up by Drudge and the Christian Science Monitor. (If you haven't read these posts yet, please grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit down and read through all three in the series.)There isn't anything new I can add to the conversation. Suffice it to say that I feel Spencer's … [Read more...]

Steps To Peace With God: The Sequel

"Steps To Peace With God", a variation of the "Four Spiritual Laws" tract so popular in the 1970's, was laying on the dining room table when 18 year-old Bill picked it up and began thumbing through it. His mom had recently started attending a neighborhood Bible study, and she'd occasionally drop a tract or two onto the table, perhaps hoping to spark a conversation with the fam about what she was learning.The little tract's spare message spurred Bill to grab an old Bible off the shelf and begin … [Read more...]

and now…

and now...there is time to sit on a swing next to a little one and listen for the sound of what comes next.I'll let you know what I hear. Transition in progress. More to come.Photo courtesy of my talented son Jacob Van Loon, photographer and illustrator extraordinare. … [Read more...]

Liturgical people: a question for you

Intercessors who attend liturgical churches - this question is for you:As part of our Sunday morning liturgy, we have a time for guided corporate prayer. A person from the congregation leads us in praying for the needs of leaders, the congregation, the nations of the world. The scripted prayers read by the leader are general, focusing us on a particular category. There is time immediately following each general prayer for people in the congregation to pray a brief prayer around that theme.Some … [Read more...]