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...]
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...]
I don't want to spoil the show Breaking Bad for those who have not seen it, so I won't go into details. However, I don't think I need to worry about spoiling the show of our own lives to say that in more subtle and hopefully less heinous ways we all do what Walter White does in Breaking Bad.We all do it—do what? Produce the purest form of crystal meth like Walter White does? No, I mean that, like Walter, we all engage at times in rationalization for the sake of self-preservation through the u … [Read more...]
A friend of mine recently spoke of a meeting he was at where every Christian leader in the room was trying to convey how he or she was more unique than everyone else. Upon hearing this, my wife remarked how interesting it is that the more we compete with one another to promote our own uniqueness the more we look just like one another. How true. Indeed, the common fixation with promoting how unique we are clothes us in various shades of dull gray.This reminded me of a story surrounding B … [Read more...]
Evangelicals, Same-Sex Marriage & Wedding Cakes: Are Evangelicals Trying to Have Their Cake and Eat It, Too?
Evangelicalism is a very diverse movement, contrary to how the media often portrays us. The same-sex marriage debate nationally reflects such diversity. Questions for many Evangelicals revolve around three things: what is constitutional, what is biblical, and what is relational.Many Evangelicals oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. I believe most would oppose church-officiated same-sex wedding ceremonies based on their biblical perspectives. Still, concerns around how to engage … [Read more...]
What do you make of the following point about “brilliant personalities” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together? “The church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote these words in the section “The Ministry of Authority” in Life Together. Based on this brief section, I am not sure what Bonhoeffer would have made of personality tests. I certainly think they have a place in discerning who we are and how we operate. Moreover … [Read more...]
One of the striking features of Karl Barth’s theology is his emphasis on God’s freedom. For Barth, God always remains Lord in revelation. We never master God. Barth’s adherence to this emphasis helped to safeguard against presumption. While God tabernacles in the flesh, he never resides in my back pocket as a good luck charm; nor is he a genie in a bottle—my wish is not his command.Barth’s emphasis on God’s freedom bears significance for such subjects as individual and ecclesial parochialism … [Read more...]