Church Toilets and Reading the Bible with Agendas

Did you know that churches haven't always had indoor plumbing? (Yes, of course you knew this.)In fact, it wasn't until the 1880s that church building (and regular buildings and homes) started to get toilets installed on a mass scale.And if you have ever been part of a congregation where the color of the carpet takes 24 monthly committee … [Read More...]

Sometimes Reading the Bible Literally Is Literally Wrong

For most of my life the goal of reading Scripture was information in, transformation out. It was almost as if the Bible was an archive of knowledge that could be mastered by the most devoted disciple.And often I still notice this trend playing itself out in one way or another. In other words, Christian character is often measured by how many … [Read More...]

Jesus Never Said: “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”

Perhaps you've heard the catchphrase: "God helps those who help themselves."It might have come up at a dinner table during the election. In our day, this phrase comes up in political banter more than any other place.One side claims that Jesus gives everyone a fair go at life, so all you have to do is work hard to succeed. At one level I … [Read More...]

The “Christian” Politics of Stone Throwing

One of the challenges in any era is what to do when there is a difference of opinion.Two key areas come to mind: theology and politics. Yep, so-called Christian politics.When I was in my 20s I deconstructed my faith and politics like crazy. I encountered the idea that the good news of Jesus was so much bigger than I had ever known.Not … [Read More...]

Jesus Never Said: “God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle”

We attribute lots of things to Jesus and/or the bible.Lots of things.We go to the bible for our political views. We give Jesus credit for our slogans. We use ideas that have been handed down to us without testing them, and assume they are biblical.We all have likely done this at one time or another.After all, we are human … [Read More...]

I was quoted on TBN, positively, about Revelation

If you follow my social media channels, you likely already saw this. I am honored and perplexed. Here's the video to check out! Thank you World Impact with Billy Wilson!The quote comes from my varied work on Revelation. I have an archive of work on Revelation here at Patheos as well as a great book/commentary list at my resource … [Read More...]

Entering Jesus’ Kingdom of Shalom

Recently, I've spent some time thinking about the kingdom of God.I continue to come back to the availability of God's kingdom--that it is an already and not yet reality.It is a kingdom that can be summarized by the word, shalom.Shalom, in the broad sense is a word meaning "peace." This Hebrew word goes beyond this idea to mean things … [Read More...]

I Wanted War – and I Was Wrong (Zach Hoag)

[Kurt Note: Zach is someone that I respect. A lot. In fact, he and I are kindred spirits in lots of ways. I hope that this excerpt from his brand new book, The Light is Winning, will inspire you today!]In the early days of my Reformed and Calvinist fervor, I made a mistake that has stuck with me. I’m sure I made a bunch of them back then, but t … [Read More...]

The Word “Create” Means “Arrange” – Genesis 1 & Science

Last week I wrote about the problem the church is perpetuating: we create atheists by dealing with the question of evolution poorly. Young adults continue to leave over the perceived posture of broader church culture toward science (this exists in every tradition to a point, but certainly in my home tradition of evangelicalism).One of the … [Read More...]

A Hatred of Science Is Killing the Church: Why Young Adults Leave or Never Show Up

Both on The Paulcast: A Podcast All About the Apostle Paul and at Pangea Church (Seattle), I have been walking through series on science and scripture.How I go about that now is quite different than I imagine my methods if I were 19. Back then, evolution was off the table. In fact, it wasn't even something I gave any thought to until 2008 … [Read More...]

How Jesus Defeats the Monsters of the Deep (and Shows Us How to be Human)

During the Season of Lent at Pangea Church (Seattle), we've been walking through a series called "Encounters by the Sea." The basic idea is that Jesus is the one who defeats evil. Here's a longer summary of the talks: Much of the New Testament narrative of Jesus’ ministry takes place “by the water” – specifically by the Sea of Galilee. In the gos … [Read More...]

My Favorite Academic but Accessible Books on St. Paul

In this post, I continue a bit of a series on books I recommend on the Apostle Paul. This list isn't exhaustive, in any way. In fact, I have several others I like (sometimes more, perhaps). But this is still the list that I'd say would be a 'go to' for where I'd invite people to start in the category of "intermediate" level reading or "academic but … [Read More...]

My Favorite Intro Level Books about St. Paul the Apostle

In this post, I want to point you toward some of my favorite introduction level books on Paul. This isn't an exhaustive list, and I do not have the seminary student in mind. I do have a person in mind that has some background in the study of Paul in a general sense, but even if you don't, these books can catch a person up.I also invite your … [Read More...]

Last Minute Gift Guide for Theology Nerds: Books on Paul the Apostle

If you want to buy a great gift for the armchair theologian in your life, especially if they are interested in Paul (who isn't?! hahah), then this guide will be your friend. I want to save you trouble. You don’t have to guess. If your significant other, friend, or family member loves to read up on theology, these books on Paul will most-likely be a … [Read More...]

A Video Intro to Open Theism (Greg Boyd)

Yesterday I had a fun conversation with someone who is checking out our church. The topic of "why pray" came up and thus we chatted about 'open theism.' This video is a great introduction to the open view of the future. It is about 8 mins long but gives a wonderful introduction to the key issues. A huge thanks to The Work of the People. Our church … [Read More...]

Logos 7 is Here! Time to Nerd Out a Bit!

Every time a new version of Logos comes out, I get giddy. This is by far the coolest sermon resource that I have. And the endless commentaries, dictionaries, translations, Greek/Hebrew tools, helpful preaching illustrations, interactive images, and so many other helpful resources are just amazing. I may sound like I'm talking this thing up, but … [Read More...]

A 3 Minute Intro to the Context of Revelation

This first video is about the gods of the Roman Empire and their influence on the book of Revelation:This second video, is about some important "big ideas" to keep in mind when reading the text of Revelation: … [Read More...]

New Podcast Explores Paul, Gender in the Roman World, and Homophobia

In this special edition of The Paulcast, I explore a topic that is on the hearts and minds of many people in the aftermath of the horrific shooting that took place in Orlando. 50 lives were lost. 49 lives were lost because of one thing: their identity. LGBTQ persons continue to struggle to find equal footing in our society, and this tragedy is … [Read More...]

The Cosmic God and Earthy God: Reading Genesis 1-3 Like a Scholar

A text is never just a story; it is a story that keeps getting told. Stories, although often static in the medium of texts, evolve and expand. The ways in which certain passages are interpreted, not least in religious texts, are in an ongoing hermeneutical conversation. Meaning often evolves as circumstances warrant fresh applications and … [Read More...]