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...]

The Election and the Pentecostal/Charismatics

According to a 2011 Pew Forum survey, there are twice as many Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians in the world as there are Evangelicals. An earlier Barna survey notes that in the U.S., as many as a quarter of U.S. Christians identify as Pentecostal or Charismatic.There is a wide range of practice among these brothers and sister. Some attend Assemblies of God congregations or unaffiliated independent Charismatic churches; others belong to Evangelical, mainline Protestant or Catholic … [Read more...]

You’re just in time…

From my most recent newsletter: I watched this week's election returns with one eye on the TV, the other on my Twitter feed. By 1:30 a.m., I was seeing both screens via double vision. My brain had eclipsed its saturation point.Across the political spectrum, every commentator had one sentiment in common: "This is unprecedented! History is being written tonight."No matter how we voted, I sense most of us agree we have opened the page to a disorienting – unprecedented! – new chapter in our … [Read more...]

Follow The Leader

I am of Paul. I am of Apollos. I am of John Piper or Jim Wallis or Jen Hatmaker or Nancy Leigh DeMoss.It was a first century problem, and it is a twenty-first century problem. It is perhaps most pronounced in the Protestant world. Our very spiritual DNA contains a desire to divide. As we lack a single hierarchical authority structure on which we can all agree, we are tempted to form our own tribes.Today, our Bible teachers and Christian communicators are brands™, driven as much by p … [Read more...]

All The Saints

What's a nice Jewish grandmother like me doing writing about All Saints Day?Obviously, this day isn't in my own background, nor is it a day I covered in my book. Ever since I read Jon Sweeney's excellent The Lure of Saints: A Protestant Experience of Catholic Tradition ten years ago, I've had an appreciation for the power of their testimonies in my own life and the awareness that the great cloud of witnesses cheering the Bride onward is made up of people like these; named and nameless, they … [Read more...]