Good Friday and the “Man in Black”

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I still remember from my childhood the black shroud draped over the cross on Good Friday in my Lutheran church. On Easter Sunday, the cross was draped in bright colors reflecting the resurrection. The stark contrast was important to the cultivation of my theological imagination and faith. Not only did the contrast highlight all the more the amazing miracle of Easter Sunday, but also I realized that one has to go through Good Friday to get to Easter.Yesterday in my contemporary theology … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Open Posture and “The Open Table”

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One of the many qualities that people admire about Jesus was his open posture toward people who were often excluded from the table. Just think of how he engaged the poor, oppressed and Gentiles (Luke 4:16-30), lepers (Luke 5:12-16), the “sinful woman” washing his feet in Simon the Pharisee’s house (Luke 7:36-50), little children (Luke 18:15-17), and the chief tax collector Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10). As in the case with Zaccheus and the sinful woman (a prostitute), Jesus did not ignore or condone th … [Read more...]

The Lord’s Supper—A Heavenly Happy Meal?

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Is the Lord's Supper a heavenly happy meal? What do you think? Here are my initial thoughts. The Lord's Supper is intended to provide spiritual nutrition so that Jesus' disciples might grow up to maturity in Christ. St. Augustine writes in recalling “as it were” the Lord’s “voice from on high: ‘I am the food of the fully grown; grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change me into you like the food your flesh eats, but you will be changed into me’” [St. Augustine, Confessions, translated … [Read more...]

Racial Fatigue and Energized Suffering

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At my multi-ethnic church this Sunday, a white man shared constructively and critically about how many white people speak of racial fatigue: many white people are tired of hearing about racism. For them, the conversation is running on empty.It is one thing to be tired of hearing about it. It is another thing to be tired of living it. Some of my African American friends talk about the fatigue of having to live in a racialized world where the color of their skin often works against them rather … [Read more...]

Christian Survival Kits in a Post-Christendom Society, Part I

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My theology of culture class at Multnomah Biblical Seminary is addressing the theme of what it means to live as Christian witnesses in a post-Christendom society. For your information, I don’t think America is post-Christian since Christianity is not yet a minority religion, though someday it might be. Having said that, I believe we live in a post-Christendom society, since Christian narratives do not shape the rites of passage culturally for the society at large; in part, the loss of cultural i … [Read more...]

Undying Friendship and a Buddhist Memorial

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On Sunday, February 23rd, I had the privilege of attending my friend Eugene Woodworth’s memorial service at Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland, Oregon.We did not share worldviews or lifestyles, but we did share friendship and a common humanity.Eugene and fellow Buddhist Eric Marcoux (a Buddhist teacher in the Kagyu/Tibetan tradition) were married in Vancouver, WA on December 12th after being together for sixty years. Eugene died days later of cardiac failure on December 21st.The t … [Read more...]

The Cross & the Swoosh

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I wonder at times if we have replaced the cross with the Nike swoosh symbol on our church buildings. Just so you know, this post is not about the church if we mean by church those hypocritical people over there; no, I am talking about the hypocritical people who dwell in you and me—or at least me. After all, I am called to take the redwood forest out of my own eye before I take the toothpick out of yours. So, I admit that ingrained on my heart is a scarlet swoosh.When I think of the cross, I … [Read more...]


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