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...]

Imagine: The Importance of Envisioning a Different World….

The authors of "Colossians Remixed" write:  If with Christ you died in your baptism to the principles of autonomous consumerism that still hold the world captive, then why do you live in a way that suggests that you are still in the iron grip of its ideological vision?  Why do you submit yourself to its regulations to consume as if there were no tomorrow, to live as if community were an impediment to personal fulfillment, to live as if everything were disposable, including relationships, the … [Read more...]

Colossians: An antidote to cynicism and despair

I've been living in the book of Colossians a fair bit recently, diving in some mornings after coffee with God, and at other odd times during the week.  Over and over again, I've found myself saying, 'this is the truth that we need right now - at this anxious, polarized time in history, when it appears that so much all around us is either collapsing (think Egypt, Syria, Greece, the Eurozone), or built on untruths (think every campaign ad about to baptize your sensibilities).  From the moment we … [Read more...]

The empire has no clothes. The King has colors of hope

In my last post I wrote: Until I’m willing to see both the idolatry and insufficiency of the present “McWorld” system, I’ll also fail to see the radically hopeful nature of the gospel, which provides an exit strategy from these false hopes as it invites us into so much more than a ticket to heaven. Assuming that I do see the insufficiency of the present worldview (no matter who's in power), only clears the deck of false hopes.  It deconstructs.  It exposes.  And, if left alone, … [Read more...]

The Empire Has No Clothes – raw truth precedes real hope – Part One

The losses and damages characteristic of our present economy cannot be stopped, let alone restored, by “liberal” or “conservative” tweakings of corporate industrialism, against which the ancient imperatives of good care, homemaking, and frugality can have no standing. - Wendell Berry Now that Mitt Romney has effectively vanquished all other contenders, the real election posturing can begin, and we all know it won't be pretty.  More importantly though, we also know it won't be … [Read more...]

T.G.I.F. – the new “F” in town

Yes, it's Good Friday. Yes, I pondered as a child, how going to church on a Friday night, listening to depressing music, and hearing the familiar story of Jesus' death, told with excessive attention to each gory detail was, in any way, "good". Yes, I'm now the guy up front talking on Friday night, as other little kids are forced to go sit with their parents to once again live the ritual of remembering Christ's death. But, No!  I'm not going to be recalling, in gory detail, the bloody … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]


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