After the Shooting at SPU: Consolation, Desolation–and Hope

spu webpage

On the day of the shooting at SPU, the religion editor at Huffington Post asked me to write. I didn't think I could, but I woke up early on Friday to see if the young woman in surgery had survived. I started to write. I kept writing. This is what I wrote:____________________________I expected the shock of an earthquake--not a shooting. In fact, they're retrofitting our oldest building, Alexander Hall, to prevent earthquake damage. How do we retrofit Otto Miller Hall lobby, where y … [Read more...]

The Church is Dead, but Don’t Tell the Pentecostals!


Huge Gap Threatens the Church, the headline should read.Or Earthquake at the Foundation of the Church, as the Global South, rife with Pentecostals, separates from the mainline churches of Europe and North America.Or how about The Church is Dead, but Don’t Tell the Pentecostals!These headlines probably won’t cause you to rush out to the grocery store to hoard the last few gallons of milk or hurry to Home Depot to grab propane generators, but the growing gap between North and South, Pen … [Read more...]

Garage Sale Antics and the Church in Antioch: Reflections on Generosity

mercedes benz

Last Saturday, my wife and daughter held a garage sale. I wasn’t there because I went with my son to his college orientation. When I arrived home, Priscilla couldn’t wait to tell me this story.Mid-morning a woman drove up in a late model black Mercedes Benz. She nosed around then offered Priscilla and Chloe a quarter—that’s twenty-five cents—for a brand new bulletin board they had priced at a buck. In the spirit of garage sales, Priscilla countered, “50 cents!” The woman hesitated then packed … [Read more...]

The Book to Begin on Holocaust Remembrance Day


A review in the Wall Street Journal will tell you what I know: David Laskin’s The Family is a brilliant epic.  It is a book that should be bought and begun this Monday, April 28th—Holocaust Remembrance Day.The Family tells the true story of how Laskin's family of Torah scribes and humble shopkeepers split into three branches at the turn of the last century. One branch of Laskin's family came to the US and founded the fabulous Maidenform Bra Company. This branch embodied the American Drea … [Read more...]

Doves and Kisses–A Reading on Betrayal

Judas betrayal

I sat down this morning to read Psalm 55: "Oh, that I had wings like a dove. I'd fly away and be at rest." But it's holy week, with Maundy Thursday tomorrow--Judas Iscariot's big day--so I couldn't read Psalm 55 without one eye trained on Jesus' betrayal.As I read Psalm 55, I couldn't shake the rhythm of betrayal in the gospel of Mark.So I turned from Psalm 55 to the gospel of Mark. As I followed the story of Jesus and Judas, I couldn't help but trace the movement of Psalm 55.Rather t … [Read more...]

Intimacy with God and a Blindfolded Boy


After the evening’s lecture, I trundled off to the men’s room. When I returned, not five minutes later, nearly everyone had gathered at the front of the room. People were praying for each other, laying hands on each other, talking quietly with each other, while a pianist played riffs lightly in the background.This is the quintessence of the Vineyard movement, which began under the leadership of John Wimber in the 1970s. It’s a strange—and inviting—mixture of Pentecostal and Quaker elements. T … [Read more...]