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 … [Read more...]

Taking Light Seriously… Living Light Loudly

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We took an evening church history tour in Edinburgh Scotland this week.  It reminded me of the deplorable reputation the church has earned by its wars, lust for power, territorialism, and torture.  You don’t need to know all the details of the history to understand why one friend said, “All the ‘isms’ of our world have, on the whole, done more harm than good - and that’s why I’m not interested in Christianity”  Indeed, one can see a proportional relationship between the rise of … [Read more...]

Hubris and the Importance of “Memorial”

Remembering has never been more important, and yet forgetting has never been easier, especially for those distanced from the violence of war by time or geography.  Here's why remembering matters: In Judges chapter two we read about who came after Joshua and his troops fought:  "...there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.  Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of Lord"  (Judges 2:10,11)  This is why, before … [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...]

Marathon Bombs and Baseball’s Best – Lessons on life vs. death from April 15th

Yesterday, as often happens, sport became the backdrop for something larger.  It also happened to be something horrific as Boston blew.  But sport and life were celebrated yesterday too, because April 15th is Jackie Robinson day in Major League Baseball every year.  We do well to ponder, celebrate, and learn, especially this year, when fear is crouching at the door, inviting violence. His story can teach us a few things about the only good way forward.  Here's why: April 15th, 1947, in a … [Read more...]

Redeem Everything: Learning from St. Patrick

As the weekend of green beer and cabbage approaches, it's appropriate to consider the rich heritage most of enjoy without even knowing it, passed down from the Celtic Christian communities of Ireland and Scotland during the dark ages.  You can learn about through a favorite book of mine, "How the Irish Saved Civilization", whose thesis is that when the Roman empire collapsed and the west was plunged into centuries of barbarism and fear, the bastions of sanity were the Celtic monasteries.  This … [Read more...]

Keeping on…because life is like snow; and rain

it was there, but I haven't seen it since November

You're in a relationship with a particularly annoying family member or coworker.  You're doing your job at work, but nobody seems to appreciate or notice, even when you go the extra mile.  You're trying to feast on Christ (like I speak of here), as you seeking to develop some habits of Bible reading or prayer, but most of these meetings your mind is elsewhere, because the Bible is, let's face it, hard to understand.   You're exercising and eating right, and have been at it now for, let's say, … [Read more...]

Words for Advent: Anticipation

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It's Wednesday night.  I'll be teaching this evening, and then again tomorrow for several sessions.  Then there's graduation on Friday night, where I'll be privileged to share for a few minutes before the students celebrate the completion of their time here at Tauernhoff. It's always around this point in my "two weeks and change" trip to Europe that I begin to long for home.  This trip will be extended for a few wonderful days of fun with my daughter who teaches in Germany, as she visits … [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 … [Read more...]

Camp China – reminders of what really matters…

It had been years since I'd thought about Tienanmen Square until last night.  Like the rest of the world, I thought about it when it happened, and then I thought about again a few years later when I was speaking at a retreat of international students.  I was sitting with some of the students and each of them were sharing in turn why they did or didn't believe in God.  I remember this man from China, then studying Physics at University of Washington.  He said, "I was in Tienanmen Square … [Read more...]