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...]

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...]

When Will the Untold Stories End? Another Entry for Black History Month


Guest essay by Priscilla Pope-Levison Around the turn of the nineteenth century, Emma Ray and her husband L.P. experienced conversion to the Christian faith at an African Methodist Episcopal church in Seattle, Washington.Not long after, they experienced that distinctive, instantaneous experience of the holiness movement called sanctification. In her autobiography, Twice Sold, Twice Ransomed,  Emma describes a jolt like a lightning bolt that struck her head and coursed through her body "from … [Read more...]

The Holy Spirit: so much left to learn!

40 scripture texts.40 thoughtful meditations.40 spaces to write your own reflections.40 original prayers to the Holy Spirit.That's my newest book, Forty Days with the Holy Spirit, hot off the press. So hot, in fact, it's just out at Amazon, or you can get your copy on sale straight from Paraclete Press. It's the perfect book to deepen your discipleship and refresh your faith during Lent, which begins in a couple of weeks.I'll post the first day's meditation and prayer later on … [Read more...]