My Dad’s Old Purple Dinosaur Tie and the Creation-evolution Debate

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My wardrobe (if you could call it that) is, well, outdated, so Priscilla and I took the plunge and went to Nordstrom, where a guy named Nick helped me figure out what to do. I brought old slacks, old sports jackets, and about a dozen old ties. Natty Nick went nuts. He loved the old ties—silk ones that belonged to my dad, a gray knit one, paisleys in purple and light blue.Natty Nordstrom Nick even liked my purple dinosaur tie. No, not Barney, but a purple tie with brontosauruses—or is it bro … [Read more...]

An Ambiguous Little Trickle of the Holy Spirit

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A snippet of my latest book, Inspired: the Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith, to whet your appetite for more. Priscilla and I bought our first house in a sketchy corner of Kansas City, about a mile or two from the seminary where I taught at the time. It was a big old house with a grandiose stone front porch, rich wooden beams, and small crystal chandeliers. We had failed to notice that the electricity was outmoded, the basement walls porous, the roof leaking, a ceiling sagging, and the ne … [Read more...]

Simeon’s Song and the Clarity of Christmas

Simeon Rembrandt

We are obsessed with power, but the story of Jesus begins in the corridors of powerlessness—in the Jewish temple, though not among the hustle of priests and the din of the Pharisees’ discussion of Torah, but at the seemingly insignificant fringes of Jewish life, in the world of widows and old men. The scene is prompted by the appearance of peasant parents from Galilee who are so poor they can't afford the offering of sheep for purification after the mother gives birth; this peasant couple brings … [Read more...]

Thankful Thanksgiving, Black and Blue Saints

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The Greek word, eucharistia, from which we get the English word, eucharist—the breaking of bread and drinking of wine—means, at its core, thanksgiving. Today, as you eat and drink, remember that you are participating in a sacred feast. Every meal is a eucharist—a cause to give thanks—today, especially.The lines between sacred and secular, between mere food and sacred feast, are blurred in our earliest Christian records. Shortly after Pentecost, the birth of the church, the earliest followers … [Read more...]

Stop giving! We have more than enough!

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Ever heard a sermon titled, “Stop giving! We have more than enough!”No?Me neither.That’s why the story of the tabernacle in the book of Exodus is entrancing. (No, I’m not kidding. Entrancing.) The tabernacle was a portable tent the Israelites could put up and take down, like an old-fashioned circus tent, a Bedouin bed-and-breakfast, of sorts, for God.You may not see how entrancing this story is on a first read-through. The instructions on how the tabernacle should be prepared are … [Read more...]

Take a P This Week

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I was sitting with my teaching assistant yesterday at a local coffee haunt near our campus. As we chatted amiably, I mentioned that her workload would be a heck of a lot more next term. “When I’m teaching,” I said. She cocked her head, looked puzzled, and said, “Aren’t you teaching now?” I hesitated and half-laughed, “Oh yeah, but my classes are Hebrew and contemplation, so it doesn’t feel like teaching.” I feel more like a student, translating a language I love and learning to slow down, listen, … [Read more...]