Stop giving! We have more than enough!

offering hands

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...]

The Spirit & the Dreamer

dream

On Wednesday night, my Hebrew class translated Genesis 41—the dead center of the story of Joseph. The word plays in Hebrew are hilarious and skilled, the storyline suspenseful yet playful. In one verse, the seven scrawny cows of Pharaoh’s dream devour seven pleasantly plump cows, but you can’t tell because the skinny cows come to "the innards” (kidneys, livers, tripe—food thought to be delicacies by everyone but me during my Cambridge days), gobble them up, and stay scrawny. As one student puzzle … [Read more...]

Animals & Ambiguity: The Spirit & the Flood

Noahs-Ark-by-Edward-Hicks-001

About a month ago, I paused with you to ponder humanity’s first breath, when God stooped and shadowed the face of adam, with knees planted in the mud, hands sinking in the soft, damp earth, lips to lips, mouth to mouth—and blew into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life. On the outskirts of Eden we glimpsed the ambiguity of creation, adam created as dust from the earth (adamah in Hebrew). We came to grips with the unfortunate clash between energy and emptiness, life and death, breath and dust ... w … [Read more...]

Thinking About Sex Lately

Sex head

I’ve been thinking about sex lately. No, that’s not right.I’ve had sex on my mind a lot lately. No, that won’t do, either.I’m preoccupied with sex lately. Goodness, that’s even worse.So let me put it this way. A friend who’s in-the-know told me that 60% of all high school graduates have had sex, while 30% of all ninth-graders have had sex. That’s a lot of sex, and it got me thinking.I’m old enough to know these kids aren’t mature enough to make love even when they have sex. Their … [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...]

Keep a Quarter in Your Pocket

CaineReidge

Deeply felt spirituality. Who wouldn’t want that? Reckless abandon. Religious ecstasy, even.This sensibility lies at the heart of the American religious experience. During the most famous American camp meeting, the Cane Ridge Revival of 1801, one observer looked on in amazement:To see those proud young gentlemen and young ladies, dressed in their silks, jewelry, and prunella, from top to toe, take the jerks, would often excite my risibilities. The first jerk or so, you would see their f … [Read more...]