Phyllis Tickle Behind the Scenes

"Phyllis Tickle" by Courtney Perry - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Monday through Wednesday find me buried in classes and teaching, so I didn’t receive word of Phyllis Tickle’s death until this afternoon. I did not know Phyllis personally—face to face—but, as many no doubt will tell you, I felt like I knew her personally. So I do what many of the authors Phyllis Tickle championed behind the scenes do: I write. I write to honor her.I called Phyllis one Friday evening a few years back to talk about some meditations I had written on the Holy Spirit. I expected … [Read more...]

Does It Matter If You’re Right?

boxing gloves

Does it matter who’s right?I’m not so sure anymore.Right or wrong: we all seem to lose something in this equation.I’ve come to this temporary conclusion because I’ve reflected on Paul’s letters to the Corinthians recently. At the heart of his first letter, Paul answers a question about whether believers should eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols. He begins the section in this way: “Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge pu … [Read more...]

Sanity About the Spirit: Not in 1 Corinthians!

Fire flames on white

Confusion. That's what we get in the contemporary church when it comes to the Holy Spirit. You've got the Pentecostals, of course, who make great hay of the Spirit. But they differ dramatically from one another. The Assembly of God, for instance, sees speaking in tongues as clear evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Not all Pentecostal churches are so strident, and some are even more strident. The Vineyard, a movement I deeply appreciate, is more lax about speaking in tongues because it sees … [Read more...]

5 Reasons Why We Need More Guns on Campus

1 Dead, 3 Injured After Shooting At Seattle Pacific University

The Texas legislature has passed Senate Bill 11, which allows college students to carry a concealed, holstered gun into college campus buildings. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law.I'm a professor. I've taught at Ohio Northern University, Duke University, Seattle Pacific University, and now Southern Methodist University. I've been around. Let me tell you why I think this is a great bill.Campus Carry Is Great Exposure for Higher Education. College reputations … [Read more...]

Pope Francis on How to Prepare a Sermon


The pope and I agree. He's in very good company! (Okay, I'll admit, it goes the other way, too.)What do we agree about? How to prepare a sermon.Here's the backstory to how I know Pope Francis and I agree.I wrote this week to Susan Stabile, a law professor and Faculty Fellow of Spiritual Life at the University of St. Thomas. Susan had written an endorsement for Forty Days with the Holy Spirit followed by a fine blog post. I wrote to her about my first term at Perkins School of Th … [Read more...]

The Promise of Pentecost You May Not Know

In the days prior to that first Pentecost, Jesus’ followers were huddled together, gathered around a single command, a solitary promise. Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem for the “promise of the father” (Luke 24;49). So they did.What would that promise have looked like to them? What exactly were they waiting for? A clue to the answer lies in Peter’s sermon, which he delivers after the upper-room faithful are filled with the holy spirit and speak in other dialects, which scattered Jewis … [Read more...]