How to Turn a Cheek

On Wednesday Robert Seigel gave a sharp interview with Richard Land, director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.  In the interview where he advocates getting rid of gun free zones because "Law-abiding citizens who are armed are the best last ditch defense against the kind of horror that we've just experienced," Seigel has to press what should be Land's central concern--the Christian response be to such a shooting. SIEGEL: What's the New Testament j … [Read more...]

The Old Story Made Real and New

Bethlehem, we often forget, is a real place where people are still born and grow up and go to work and die.  It is a city in Palestine, and like it was in Jesus' day, it is occupied and controlled in large part by a foreign power.  Last year a group from St. Paul's Church in Auckland, New Zealand created a tremendous video that reminds us of the place--real, physical and historical--where Christ was born.  It is by looking at that place, with its current concerns and problems, that we come to se … [Read more...]

Where Our Treasure Is

Not long ago my wife had a conversation with a financial adviser   She'd worked for many years at a large non-profit and they'd been putting money aside for her in a 401(b) (the non-profit version of a 401(k)).  She hadn't paid much attention--statements came, the account kept growing.  Then she left that work to spend more time with our daughter and she started getting letters that said that it was time for her to find someplace else to put her money--an IRA, etc.The trouble is that we're th … [Read more...]

Training in Christianity

Several years ago I started doing triathlons.  It was a completely new sport, with lots of challenges, but I was ready to get in shape and this seemed like a good way to do it.  I signed up for a sprint triathlon and found a training plan online to get me to the finish line.  Since that time I’ve used many trainging plans and mixed and matched them as I’ve come to understand how the different elements are meant to interact in creating more endurance, more speed, greater aerobic capacity, etc.  Th … [Read more...]

Cell Phone Free

Thursday night my cell phone died.  I'll get it repaired or replaced and be back and connected, but for now I walk around without the buzz of emails or texts or the ring of the occasional call.  Yesterday because of several meetings and travel I went until three o'clock before checking email and I didn't actually miss anything critical or important.  This is the case most days and yet I want to know what's in my inbox every fifteen minutes.  This is a kind of sickness and it permeates our soc … [Read more...]

St. Nicholas and a Season for Sledgehammers

St_Nicholas_Paleh

I'm considering a war on Christmas.  Not because I don't enjoy Christmas trees and gifts and the time spent with family, not because I'm against a religious holiday playing large on a national scale.  I'm increasingly against Christmas because I love it--this is a sort of kill it to save it strategy.In a recent survey 45% of Americans said they would rather skip Christmas.  Why?  Because of the financial and personal stress.  Being overwhelmed with shopping and economies of obligation is no w … [Read more...]

Fast Day

Today try fasting from all food or caloric drinks, but also try to fast from busyness.  A day of fasting is a day for quiet and contemplation--a kind of rest day for the body and mind.  In this time of frantic holiday life it is a good time to move into this kind of rest. … [Read more...]

Sacred Single-tasking

We can't multitask and there's a load of research that shows that when we try to we don't end up with great results.  And yet in our age of distraction, it is hard not to do it.  We sit down to write, our phone buzzes with a new message, we look down, we skip a song on Spotify, we go back to writing--it can get complicated fast.  Our brains are changing because of these habits and somehow I suspect its not for the better.  As Christians, we have a call to contemplation--this may not be a call you … [Read more...]

Banksy, Jesus, and Emergency Preparedness: The First Sunday in Advent

Over at the Ekklesia Project's blog I have a new post reflecting on the gospel reading for this first Sunday in Advent.  Below is the start with the full text after the jump.Preparing for DisasterFirst Sunday of Advent, Year C (RCL) 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 Luke 21:25-36We’ve become all too familiar with disasters and the whole genre of reporting them (is there a disaster TV cable channel yet?).  The reporter, looking like some alien that dropped from the sky, surrounded by a lan … [Read more...]

Prayer Walk

It's that time of year--the busy time and we haven't even begun Advent.  It is important that in these days of holiday rush, we remember to slow down, take stock and call Christ's presence into the places we are.  Today, go on a prayer walk.  Walk through your neighborhood and pray over each house, the people inside, and ask that Christ be present with these people and this place throughout the advent season.  Pray that God's coming into the world would be a coming here. … [Read more...]


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