HIV/AIDS and the Health of Our Souls


People have diseases, but they are not diseases. How we respond to those with diseases like HIV/AIDS might reveal to us the diseased state or health of our own souls.Years ago friends of mine adopted a small child from another country who was later discovered to be HIV positive. The authorities said that the child could be returned, which the parents declined to do. He may be carrying a disease bearing a global stigma, but he is not the disease; he is a person who bears God's image and their … [Read more...]

Did Lincoln Die in Vain?

Lincoln--My Picture from My Office

A 2011 TIME Magazine article, “The Civil War, 150 Years Later,” claims that we’re still fighting the Civil War. The sub-heading of the article includes these lines, “North and South shared the burden of slavery, and after the war, they shared in forgetting about it.” The front cover bears a picture of Lincoln shedding a tear and includes the words: “The endless battle over the war’s true cause would make Lincoln weep.” Did Lincoln die in vain?While the causes of the Civil War were complex, sl … [Read more...]

“Good Will Hunting” & Hunting for Fathers

On the seashore

A friend once said to me that he was drawn to Jesus, but did not know what to make of Jesus' Father. I can appreciate his sentiment in view of how many people today struggle with the painful memories of difficult and traumatic childhood experiences. Many individuals have found their own fathers abusive and/or absent. So often, we spend our lives running from painful memories involving fathers or hunting for father figures who will care for us.If the Gospel of John had been written in our d … [Read more...]

Whose Side Is God On?


All too often, religious folk like me tend to think God is on our side. The question is not, “Is God on our side?” The question is, “Are we on God’s side?” Even that question is difficult to answer. How do we know if we are on God’s side? Presumption and hubris so often set in, as we maintain we can do no wrong because God has blessed our plans. A great deal of wrong is often done based upon such over-confidence.People in the North and South during the Civil War claimed that God was with thei … [Read more...]

Religious Freedoms and the Golden Rule


By Paul Louis Metzger and John W. Morehead*    Introduction Over the course of recent weeks three high profile events have taken place with serious ramifications for freedoms of speech and religion. They provide Evangelicals and other Christian groups with opportunities for reflection on citizenship and discipleship in a multi-faith world. We will summarize each of the events and then proceed to reflect on what Evangelicals can take away from them.   Three Events Municipal Prayers in New Yo … [Read more...]

How Can the Church Guard against a Fortress Mentality?


How can the church guard against a fortress mentality that closes the door to the surrounding community? It’s not so easy to be missional. It’s much easier to close ourselves off from the world, where the church ends up looking like Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of the Church at Auvers.Why do I refer to Van Gogh’s art piece in this context? If you take a look at the painting of the church, you’ll find that there’s no door showing. The peasant woman walking toward the church is straddling the f … [Read more...]

The Crucified God Confronts Gendercide

cross of christ built into a brick wall

In The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence Against Women and Girls (IVP Academic, 2014), Elizabeth Gerhardt offers probing theological reflections that flow from Luther’s theology of the cross and that aptly address the growing, global evil of gendercide. The crucified God confronts gendercide.Two themes that stand out to me from this important work are Luther’s emphasis on the ascent of faith coupled with the descent of love (which Luther refers to as Jacob's lad … [Read more...]