Lex Rex vs. Rex Lex: Trayvon Martin and the Idol of “Justice”

(Note to Theologians... you need to disassociate my definitions of rex lex and lex rex from Samuel Rutherford's work, because my premise of King is Law is based on the notion that there's only one King whose law we must work towards and uphold, that of King Jesus)"Lex Rex" simply means "Law is King".  If you believe that the law of the land, instituted and enforced by fallen people, is the end of the story, then the weight of evidence would declare  justice was served in the Trayvon Martin c … [Read more...]

Old Testament God: Angry fundamentalist, or loving friend? And why it matters!

In my Bible reading this morning, I came across the phrase "put away the foreign gods" and realized that it comes up over and over again the Old Testament.  Instead of creating and arrogant and judgmental provincialism, pondering what it means for us today could lead to a whole new way of living:Thoughtful people sometimes have a hard time reading the Old Testament because the Old Testament God as mean, judgmental, violent, utterly other than the God of the New Testament, where Christ is … [Read more...]

Holy Week – and the mysterious glory of our guide

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It happens every time I'm in mountains with people in better shape than me.  We start skiing or hiking or climbing and once we're in a rhythm on some steep uphill slope, they start asking me questions:  about family, faith, sport, politics.  They want conversation; I want to breathe!  They're faster than me, and I know that my presence is holding them back because when they say things like, "Yeah, when I was on Mt. McKinley for the fourth time last spring..."  I'm trying to ski up 800 vertical fe … [Read more...]

If you fail at falling, you’ll fail at everything.

Eric Fromm, in his classic "The Art of Loving", writes that a healthy environment for growing up would include parents who, between them, would receive both an unconditional love and a very conditional and demanding love.  That sounds controversial of course, and probably is.  But I wonder if there isn't some merit in thinking about it a bit before dismissing it outright.  After all, Jesus, we're told, was full of grace and truth.  He told his followers that they needed to be perfect, and the roa … [Read more...]

The Abortion Debate – learning from 40 years of non-dialogue.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision enacted by the supreme court.  Since that time, the rhetoric, misinformation, strategic "messaging", and political posturing surrounding this issue has continued by both sides.  These 40 years reveal that Americans are good at talking within self-referential communities, but not good at talking to people whose view is different than their own. As a result, Roe v Wade became a catalytic force for the religious right to e … [Read more...]

Words for Advent: Life

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I come down off the slopes, having spent a day skiing in Austria with some friends after a very full week of teaching students, meeting staff here, and doing church work at home.  The day couldn't have been better, and the upcoming night was perhaps, for me, the highest privilege of all.  I was the speaker for graduation this evening.  I love young adults, and at the end of spending a week with them, to be granted the privilege of offering final words before they sail from the shelter of these mo … [Read more...]

Words for Advent: Suffering and Shalom

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There are moments of perfection in life, moments you wish could be frozen forever.  Such was the hour this past Sunday as I walked with my daughter and her boyfriend on a now familiar path through the countryside on the southern border of Germany.  Everything about the walk was perfect.  It had been snowing all morning, but stopped just prior to our walk leaving the landscape and architecture blanketed in snow white.  The light was sensual, the conversation perfectly appropriate. The land its … [Read more...]

Are we there yet? How to live outside of sexual (or any other) Nirvana

Because I'm going to be preaching and teaching on the subject of sexual ethics and relationships this winter, I'm reading and talking about sex a lot these days.  I've recently read this, received this in the mail from someone, and just finished this on a recent flight.  This last book was terribly powerful; well written, transparent, as he shared his joy in what I call "shalom moments" while swimming in a sea of unfulfilled desires. His struggle is profound and near the surface because Wesley s … [Read more...]


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