Shrewd Serpents, Innocent Doves and Voice-Activated Copy Machines

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Jesus exhorted his followers sent out on mission to be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves in their missional activity. It was important that they combine the traits of both creatures in their witness given that they were being sent out as sheep among wolves. They would face severe danger and persecution for their witness to Christ: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16; ESV).What do the images of shre … [Read more...]

Drive-By Evangelism & the Incarnation

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If you drive quickly through Luke 3, you might miss the significance of Jesus’ baptism (Luke 3:21) and genealogy (Luke 3:23-38) for his identity and mission. Jesus undergoes John’s baptism of repentance (See Mark 1:4) and Luke’s gospel makes a point of tracing Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Adam (whereas Matthew, given the author’s Jewish emphasis, traces it back to Abraham; see Matthew 1:1-17).The long and the short of it is that Jesus does not drop down to earth and do drive-by evangeli … [Read more...]

A Mother’s Day Tribute–Disarming Nuclear Families and Warheads of Hate with the Arrows of God’s Love

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I don't envy mothers, but I sure do respect them. They carry their children for months as they cope with nausea and kicks and then give birth to them, often in great pain.The pain does not end there for mothers, as they bear with the kicks and punches life brings their way through their children's decisions, sorrows, and losses. Of course, there are also the joys of holding their children close and watching them succeed in small and great ways as they grow up and develop. As with most other … [Read more...]

God Is Missional

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Mission is not extraneous to the triune God’s being and activity. It is central. God is missional, for it is bound up with God's communal being. Take for example the word "love." 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. Love is an active word. Love requires an object. I cannot be loving, if I have never loved another. It is not enough to love myself. The love of myself in isolation from another is not love, but a form of narcissism. Love of another requires that I go beyond myself. God always goes b … [Read more...]

Happy Fifth Anniversary, Patheos! From Uncommon God, Common Good

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Happy Fifth Anniversary, Patheos! I have decided to honor your fifth year anniversary by highlighting five key themes that I address at my blog, “Uncommon God, Common Good”. 1.     Trinitarian Thought:The title of my blog “Uncommon God, Common Good” and the picture that accompanies it (based upon Andrei Rublev’s icon of the Holy Trinity) seeks to capture my conviction that the Trinity is not the greatest problem or puzzle to solve, but that the Trinity is the very means t … [Read more...]

What Is the Church—A Faith-Based Emporium or Christ’s Kingdom Community?

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Perhaps you have seen the Simpsons episode titled “She of Little Faith.” Homer is responsible for accidentally burning down the church that he and his family attend. The church community sells their collective soul to the nuclear power plant owner (who is the devil in disguise) to refinance and rebuild the sanctuary. The result is a “faith-based emporium” with comfortable theater seating for religious consumers, a pulpit bearing a screen for advertisements, and a money-changing booth.The sati … [Read more...]

If the World Were to End Tomorrow, What Would You Do Today?

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If the world were to end tomorrow, what would you do today?The last time our society pondered seriously questions like this was in late 2012.  You might recall the discussions, fears and anxieties leading up to December 21st of that year. People were speculating and debating at length about a Nostradamus prediction and how the Mayan calendar ends that day.My theology class started considering the question yesterday in view of the upcoming final exam slated for next week: So, if you knew … [Read more...]


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