Women in the Church – Snapshot of censorship and call for repentance

Eldon Epp is the author of a little book entitled Junia:  The First Woman Apostle.  It's a book about a single verse in the bible, Romans 16:7 which reads wildly differently, depending on your translation, because it's fraught (unnecessarily) with controversy.  Since this is a blog post and not a book, I'll summarize Epps conclusions, also offered in Scott McKnights marvelous e-book, Junia is not Alone (about the censure of females voices in Christendom).First the verse, translated without eq … [Read more...]

Branding & PR vs. The Way of Jesus

As I prepare for Lent, I'm struck this morning by Jesus' admonition in Luke 8:56.  Having entered a house of mourners, and raised a little girl from the dead, he orders everyone not to tell anyone what happened.  This is one of those little bits of the Bible that is either overlooked or explained away.  When I read it though, I wonder if Jesus is trying to warn me, and others who do things in his name, of the dangers inherent when good things start happening in ministry.  Rather than blow our hor … [Read more...]

All Poverty is Relational: What does that mean?

I'm riding my bike to work on a frosty morning this winter when I encounter a couple, dressed in poverty, arguing intensely on a street corner.  Their words do violence to each other until he finally storms away, hurt and raging, while she's left crying, waiting for the light to the change.  Both of them are dressed poorly; tattered sweatshirts (hood up on this cold morning), inadequate shoes, denim.  They have bags, small backpacks.As we go our different ways, I ponder the reality that my ch … [Read more...]

The Challenges of Wealth and the Call of Christ

David Brooks recent NY Times article entitled "The Great Divorce" speaks of what is becoming on of the largest issues of our day, not just because it's an election year, but because it's a real issue.  Brooks reveals the dramatic shifts in American culture between 1963 and the present, noting that, while there's always been a gap between wealth and poverty, in previous eras that gap wasn't accompanied by a behavior gap.  Brooks writes, "income gaps did not lead to big behavior gaps. Roughly 98 p … [Read more...]

Co-illumination: Preaching from the text of life

This Sunday, I'll be starting a new series at our church entitled, "Every Square Inch:  Blessing the World through Culture Reading and Vocation".  In this series I'll be preaching from the book of life, a book that's declaring eternal truth, every day, all around us.  In spite of this constant revelation, the reality is that our hearts and minds are so fragmented that we usually don't hear what God is saying to us through culture.  We're grown up believing that God's truth is found in the Bible, … [Read more...]

Hope for the New Year: Let’s get beyond “NO”

If history tells us one thing, it's that humans are good at saying NO to systems that don't work.  If our species were a single body, we'd have an excellent immune system.  When oppressive regimes arise, it's only a matter of time until they collapse.  The weight of their own corruption weakens them until an uprising from the masses leads to regime change.  The toppling of empires is nearly always welcomed with fanfare.  We like burning flags, and effigies, and toppling statues.  There's usually … [Read more...]

Spiritual Fashionistas: It’s not about the clothes – it’s about the body in the clothes

I just returned from a worship service here in Austria on this 2nd Sunday in Advent.  Though I understood only a few dozen words, I wanted to be there both to worship, and because of my friendship with the pastor (we had a discussion about Austrian church history, and you can view it here).  It was beautiful and by beautiful I mean many things, not the least of which is that it was utterly appropriate for the Austrian culture.  The church choir sang two numbers, and Austrian singing is di … [Read more...]

The whales and Isaiah: finding God’s vision for living (Part I)

Back in the '80s, I moved from Los Angeles to a small island, a jewel of green set amidst the glorious beauty of Puget Sound.  I moved there to lead a small congregation of evangelical Christians as we, together, tried to learn what it meant to be the presence of Jesus in that place.  At the time, Christian's ire was directed against a vague emerging spirituality that was labelled "the new age movement." Those railing against the movement taught that you could recognize this dark spiritual by c … [Read more...]