Discovering the Joy of Being Generative

It’s a game we often play. We jockey for position based on what we’ve accomplished – and not just for the social prestige, but also for our self-esteem.Some of us have come to believe what American society has told us – those who really matter have titles that impress, degrees from prestigious institutions, careers as high-level corporate leaders (or, in the current trend, as entrepreneurs), or thousands of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.Christians are not immune. … [Read more...]

Are There Two Kinds of Grace?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. As God created everything in the cosmos in an orderly way, we read in Genesis 1 that "God saw that it was good."  After God made it all, we read, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31) Think about it. It was very good! How dare we think that our sin can nullify that which God has made!But that is exactly the implication we get from many of our churches - that the creation is so evil that there is nothing … [Read more...]

Why So Stressed Out?

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days, When our momma sang us to sleep, but now we're stressed out. — Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out”There was a time when pop musicians simply went by their given name, like Frank Sinatra or Duke Ellington. But then came the Beatles and the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Iron Butterfly. There are exceptions along the way, but now we expect musicians to name themselves U2, the Smashing Pumpkins, or maybe even Twenty One Pilots, who just w … [Read more...]

Shalom is Broken (The Fall)

The four-part story of the Gospel isCREATION FALL REDEMPTION RESTORATIONSadly, in this post, I am still covering the tragedy of the Fall.No longer does everyone work together for the attainment of shalom. Cornelius Plantinga Jr. defines shalom as “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight.” According to Plantinga, shalom is the way things are supposed to be. This is the premise of his excellent book, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin.Mike Wittmer, in hi … [Read more...]

Abundance in a World of Choices

I was sent out on a short-term mission trip to the grocery store. “It won’t take long,” she promised. Her head tilted just so and her eyes firing rapid blinks. “Pick up some apples and I’ll make a pie.” How could I resist?The male double-helix shopping code is to “get in and get out without any complication.” So I thought this was going to be an easy assignment. Like the last time I brought home eggs. A couple were broken. You have to check? And they were brown. Who knew? Or when I bravely fo … [Read more...]

Shalom is the Way it is Meant to Be

PEACE. It has the connotation in English of quiet tranquility and calm restfulness.But in my studies in the original languages of the Bible, I have discovered that the word "Peace" means a whole lot more than that. Isaiah foretold of the coming of the PRINCE of PEACE.Jesus Christ is ushering in a peace that is more than what the English word conveys. And he is using redeemed people to do it!God's purpose for every person, every society, everything in this world, is peace. The Hebrew … [Read more...]

2015 top 10 posts to (re)integrate faith, life, and vocations

It’s been a busy year for me writing about how to reintegrate faith, life, and vocations.God has blessed me to be able to write about the subject in a dissertation for my doctoral program at Covenant Theological Seminary.It has been a fun and fruitful year writing here at the (re)integrate blog, which was originally a part of and was migrated over to in September as part of the Patheos Faith and Work Channel.And for the first half of 2015, I was a writer a … [Read more...]

I Don’t Believe in Being Platonic

The Greek philosopher Plato can be blamed for a lot of our misperceptions about the Christian life. It seems that, from very early on, Christians couldn't take the teachings of Jesus, Paul, the other apostles, or even the Hebrew Torah, poets and prophets at face-value. They had to add the pagan teachings of Plato on top of it all. Brian Walsh and J. Richard Middleton write, "Foundational to all Platonic thought is its dualism, the distinction…between unchanging ideals (‘forms’) and the world of … [Read more...]

What is the “CREATION?” What is God Redeeming?

The mission of God in Christ is to reconcile all things back to himself. According to Colossians 1:15-20, Jesus Christ is the creator (v. 16) and sustainer (v. 17), of “all things” (τὰ πάντα), and God’s purpose is to “reconcile all things”(ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα) to himself by making peace through the atoning work of Christ on the cross.God’s desire to reconcile to himself “all things” is larger in scope than simply individual salvation for human beings. The scope of Creation was … [Read more...]

Oregon and the Casualties of Culture War Rhetoric

The killings at the Oregon college made me very angry.When I read about this mass-murder, I was seething in my fury. The killer had young men and women stand who said they were Christians, said to them, “Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second” and killed them, I thought to myself, This is war!This is where we are going in this culture. With a more and more stark divide between Christians and the rest of culture (especially on hot-button issues … [Read more...]