It Makes Plain Sense! Or So I was Taught…

It makes plain sense… or so I was taught.  When I was a youth and even in my undergrad program I was taught a phrase to guide solid biblical interpretation: “If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.”  What this advocates is to take the bible at the surface level of its meaning.  [Read More...]

All Out War: Investigating Spiritual Warfare, Part 4 (How Does God Deal W/ the Powers?)

How does God deal with evil powers? Let’s look at 2 biblical Images, connected to our passage in Ephesians 6, that I think will give us some insight into our questions. 1. Yahweh (God’s proper name) as the Divine Warrior In Ephesians 6 we read about “the armor of God.”  Paul seems to have drawn [Read More...]

All Out War: Investigating Spiritual Warfare, part 3 (your reactions to this topic and the powers)

Over the past week it has been interesting to see the kind of reactions folks have to discussing “spiritual warfare.”  There are three broad responses besides the “right ons!” and the “way to be academic and true to the spiritual realm!” type. 1) Abused post-Pentecostals who hear spiritual warfare and think “demon-under-every-bush.” I want to [Read More...]

Questioning the "Two Bucket" Approach to Scripture (Guest Post: Dr. Ron Martoia)

Today, I am honored to have a bit of a ‘hero’ on the blog.  Dr. Ron Martoia has made a lasting impact on my spiritual journey.  The same comment has been said by pastors throughout the world who appreciate his work in calling the church to her mission (ultimately, God’s mission) in the 21st century.  [Read More...]

All Out War: Investigating Spiritual Warfare, part 2 (a motivational speech)

The President's Speech Independence Day — MOVIECLIPS.com   Independence Day is one of my favorite movies in spite of its themes of war and nation :-).  In this clip, we find the moment where it’s time to take action against the alien invaders.  So the president, after having lost his wife, gets up in the [Read More...]

All Out War: Investigating Spiritual Warfare, part 1

Our culture is obsessed with two realities.  Hollywood is intrigued by the idea of invisible spiritual powers.  Many examples could be brought to the surface, but my favorite would be “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.”  A second cultural observation is that we also have a deep concern about systemic evil and global poverty.  Bono of [Read More...]

Jesus said: “Take up your SWORD and follow me?” (Army Chaplain Propaganda)

  Do you remember that wonderful verse in the Gospel of 2nd Hesitations? You know the one in chapter 9 verse 23 — “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their SWORD daily and follow me.”[1] Here is a way to literally apply that verse… U.S. Army Chaplains serve both [Read More...]

Dear Reader… First Post At a New Site!

Dear reader… If you are reading this, you are part of a wonderful group of folks who are journeying with me towards “new heavens and new earth” in the blogsophere for some time now. We have been together on the “Groans” site for quite some time, but today marks a new phase in my blogging [Read More...]

Evolving In Monkey Town (Rachel Held Evans) – A Wonderful Picture of Evolutionary Discipleship

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to read Rachel Held Evans’ first book – Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions.  It was truly a delightful and refreshingly honest book that had many resonances with my own spiritual journey.  Some of the main [Read More...]

Can Evolution be Christian? An Introduction…

As many of you know, I am of the conviction that evolution and a high view of Scripture are compatible.  There are actually many credible voices in the evangelical community that agree with this.  Tim Keller, CS Lewis, Billy Graham, John Stott, NT Wright, Greg Boyd, Allister McGrath, John Polkinghorne, Scot Mcknight, and many more. [Read More...]

Video to Ponder: "God is Love" Song

This is a video that I came across on my friend Nate McCorkindale’s blog.  It is about God being in essence: Love.  Now, it does not do justice to this topic theologically, but it sure is a fun expression of the transforming power of the love of Christ.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on [Read More...]

What Do I have To Believe to Be a Christian? (Guest Post: Chad Holtz)

“What do I have to believe to be a Christian?” If you have been part of a church for any amount of time or spent even a few minutes surfing Christian blogs or church websites, this is a question you will encounter ad nauseam.  The question itself is loaded, since it assumes one has to [Read More...]

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

This is a statement that my lead pastor began a series through Galatians with.  It hits to the deepest part of my relationship with Jesus and my understanding of the Gospel.  Many of us try to make faith in Christ a Jesus ‘plus’ Gospel and create boundaries for entrance into the covenant community of faith.  [Read More...]

Views of the Cross and Asian American Mission

I want to invite you to read a quick pdf file that is titled: Why Penal Substitution Doesn’t Work with Asian-Americans, by Mako Nagasawa.  This will take you maybe five minutes but is completely worth it.  If you don’t, the rest of this post may not make complete sense. A disclaimer I should start with [Read More...]

When Fish With Legs Are Eaten By Jesus (or) Are Culture Wars Good, Bad, or Both?

I remember the first time I saw a Jesus fish.  It really didn’t make sense to me.  Why is Jesus represented by a fish?  The only fish I know about was from the flannel-graph story of Jonah and the whale. But then someone told me the story about how in the early church the fish [Read More...]

The Idol of Politics (Guest Contribution, Robert Anthony Martin)

Here is a guest contribution from a good friend in the blogosphere, Robert Anthony Martin. He is from the Mennonite tradition and brings some much needed perspective in this article. We do not always disagree about American politics (and in fact there are some big gaps between us in this regard), but we are both [Read More...]

An Anthem for Nonviolence: "White Flag Warrior" by Flobots

One of my favorite bands is the Flobots.  They speak from a progressive Christian perspective on issues of politics and justice.  While I do not agree with them all of the time, the overall theme of their music is one I resonate deeply with.  The following song, which features Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), is called [Read More...]

Fired for Attending a Rob Bell Conference, but then…

Yesterday I listened to Rob Bell’s sermon from two weeks ago called: “The Village Elder.”  He takes almost an hour to expound a robust theology of aging while remaining fresh and innovative for the kingdom.  I cannot recommend this particular sermon enough! In this talk, Rob tells of a story from a year ago July [Read More...]

Islamic Cultural Center and Fundamentalists Christian Exegetes of the Koran

In the past weeks, we have heard everything from: pastors having Koran burning ceremonies (source: James-Michael Smith), to Christians being up in arms about an Islamic Cultural Center being built near “Ground Zero” (source: Chad Holtz). I can understand why fear has gripped many within the American church and why some concerns about ‘radical Islam’ [Read More...]


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