June 21, 2018

Does the Bible Require the Christian Always to Obey Laws? Recently two U.S. government officials appealed to Romans 13 (read it for yourself) to argue that the law must be obeyed. Clearly they were aiming their argument at Christians; who else could they have in mind—given that they were referring to the New Testament? So that raises the old question whether Romans 13 and similar passages of the Bible require Bible-believing people to obey all laws. *Sidebar: The opinions expressed… Read more

June 17, 2018

Is Cruelty to Children Ever Justifiable? Just asking or hearing such a question should bring an answer immediately to mind—No. On the other hand, we have to ask what constitutes “cruelty.” Here, in this blog post, by “cruelty” I mean inflicting suffering—physical, mental or emotional—on children unnecessarily. I am not talking about subjectively perceived cruelty—the feeling of being treated cruelly. One can feel treated cruelly when that is not really the case. For example, when I was a child and… Read more

June 14, 2018

Is Suicide Sin? According to news reports suicide has increased in the United States by about thirty percent in the past two to three decades. It seems that is the case in some states more than others, so it might not be correct to project the statistic onto the whole country. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that suicide is increasing in America. In recent years many celebrities have committed suicide and, in most cases, people who knew them said… Read more

June 11, 2018

Is It Okay to Hate Men? Recently the Washington Post (online edition if not print edition) published an opinion column by a feminist asking “Why can’t we hate men?” She rightly pointed out the painful history of men abusing women and especially the recent seeming avalanche of celebrity examples of such. That history of male mistreatment of women (and I will add other men) is sordid and calls out for angry responses and penalties. I am not even going to… Read more

June 8, 2018

Is the Evangelical Christianity of My Youth Gone? I know I’m not the first person to ask such a question. I well remember hearing older folks ask almost the same question when I was a kid and wondering what they were talking about. Now that I’m one of those “older folks” I understand what they were talking about. Change is inevitable but uncomfortable—especially as we age. But my question is whether the amount of change is not only of degree… Read more

June 5, 2018

Did God the Father Really “Turn His Face Away” from Jesus? A relatively new (“newish”) hymn sung in many evangelical churches says that as Jesus was dying on the cross “the Father turns his face away.” (The hymn’s title is “How Great the Father’s Love for Us.) I do not know whether the hymn’s authors were influenced by German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, but in the latter’s classic book The Crucified God he argues that this was the essential moment of… Read more

June 1, 2018

About the Handbook of Denominations in the United States (14th Edition) (Note: This book, of which I am one of the authors, is now available for purchase. The publisher is Abingdon Press and following essay (which I wrote) about the volume is being published in the United Methodist publication “Ministry Matters.” I use it here with permission by the United Methodist Publishing House.) I have always been intensely interested in denominations. I grew up in one that claimed it was… Read more

May 29, 2018

Shopping for a Church (An Oldie but a Goodie) One question I’ve been asked several times here (and elsewhere) is how to find a good church. Whenever someone asks me that I know one two things are not the case. The person asking is not absolutely loyal to any denomination or there are too many or too few churches of his or her denomination in the locale. I once moved to a large city that had only one church of… Read more

May 26, 2018

My Feeble Attempts at Satire Miss the Mark Occasionally I use my blog to make a stab at making a point about religion using satire. My most recent post/essay (“Totally Tongue-in-Cheek…”) was satire. Hardly anyone seems to have gotten the point. It was not about restaurants. The point was: What if restaurants did this? They don’t…and for very good reasons. Why do churches do this? They do…and possibly for reasons that are very good for them. But is the trend… Read more

May 25, 2018

Totally Tongue-in-Cheek but Hopefully Enlightening A new trend is developing in the American restaurant business. I have seen it growing everywhere I go. Recently I was in a large American city looking for a Mexican restaurant and couldn’t find one. That seemed odd as Mexican (or “Tex-Mex”) food has traditionally been popular there. I drove all over the city and looked on the web and examined the “Yellow Pages” under “Restaurants.” All I could find were restaurants with names like… Read more

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