Intimacy with God and a Blindfolded Boy

Vineyard

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...]

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...]

Take a P This Week

plastic candles

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...]

The Power of Regularity

3 old men 2

Three old men—one 70, one 80, another 90—are sitting on a park bench. The 70 year old says, “Geeze. I don’t know what to do. Every morning I stand there and try to clear my bladder—and nothing. A drop or two. I’m disgusted.”They sit for a while longer, then the 80 year old says, “Yeah. I don’t know what to do either. Every morning I sit there and try to eliminate—and nothing. I grunt. I groan. Nothing. I’m disgusted, too.”They sit even longer, then the 90 year old says, “I’m disgusted wit … [Read more...]

Pentecost for the Rest of Us

He Qi. "The Holy Spirit Coming." He Qi Gallery, http://www.heqigallery.com/. Used with permission.

When I arrived at church on Pentecost Sunday a few years ago, I sat down in the pews and looked up to see red and orange balloons in the rafters, and a small red candle on the altar. The service bulletin explained that these were meant to symbolize the famous "tongues of fire" of the first Pentecost. After the service was over, I asked our pastor about this. "I don't know what to do with Pentecost," she mumbled.Other churches aren't much better. Mainline Christians (I'm a United Methodist) … [Read more...]


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