Marital Union with Jesus: the Ultimate White Elephant Gift Exchange?

Have you ever participated in a “White Elephant” gift exchange at Christmas? Here’s how Secret Santa defines the game: The game derives its name from the term white elephant as defined by something of dubious or limited value or an object no longer of value to its owner but of value to others. Thus, in its basic form the game calls for people to bring “gag” gifts or gifts they received that they have no use for. Whenever I participate in this festive game, I bring a ‘gift’ of no lasting value t … [Read more...]

Justice for All = Health Care for All?

How just and how advanced is a society that does not provide affordable, quality health care for all its members? Our answer may depend on whether you and I consider human health a fundamental human need and right.Is the solution to allow market forces to dictate what is right and just? If so, Wall Street and Washington, D. C. have become one. In that event, there would be no recourse to regulating market forces when such forces can’t keep health care costs down (one should ask here: when h … [Read more...]

Was the Apostle Paul the Biblical Equivalent of the Most Loyal Trump Supporter?

What would it take for the most loyal Trump supporter to give up faith in the President? As shown in this news video, supporters waiting in line for yesterday’s rally in Kentucky appeared undaunted by reports that the President’s team may have had wrongful connections to Russia during the election season and that there was no evidence to support his wire-tapping charges.I wonder if the faith of those interviewed while the FBI Director was testifying on Capitol Hill, and those like them acro … [Read more...]

Only a God Who Suffers, Dies and Rises Can Help

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his prison cell, Here is the decisive difference between Christianity and all religions. Man’s religiosity makes him look in his distress to the power of God in the world: God is the deus ex machina. The Bible directs man to God’s powerlessness and suffering; only the suffering God can help.[1] While it might appear counterintuitive to some, this conviction about God’s suffering was a sustaining power for Bonhoeffer in his imprisonment at the end of his life. God … [Read more...]

Jesus Heals Trauma Victims through Suffering. Will We Share in His Struggle?

We all experience trauma in one way or another in life, even Jesus. But he did not ever play the victim card. He was victorious over the trauma of his passion and crucifixion in his resurrection and ascension from the dead. As victorious, he is able to heal us of our own trauma.I don’t believe in a moralistic therapeutic deistic God, but I do believe in the triune God—Father, Son and Spirit—who is morally good and who enters into our struggles and heals us of trauma. In fact, the God revea … [Read more...]

On the Front Lines: Trauma and Resilience in Global Missions

It is very easy for us in the United States to become insular, as we focus on coping with trauma here at home. The church in America is no exception. As a result, we may not be attentive and sensitive to the trauma Christians face across the globe, including missionaries. I reached out to a veteran missionary with Wycliffe who will be presenting at an interdisciplinary and multidimensional conference for New Wine, New Wineskins at Multnomah University and Biblical Seminary on Saturday, March … [Read more...]

How Do You Break Free From Trauma? Part 1

How do you break free from trauma? That’s not an easy question to answer, nor an easy thing to do. It’s like trying to break free from a prison cell.Before trying to offer an answer to the question, it would be good to define “trauma.” The American Psychological Association defines “trauma” in this way: Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpred … [Read more...]