Beyond Fashion and Fanfare: Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus’ Unassuming Love. A Tribute to Clark Blakeman

He has been called Portland’s original hipster. At least, a friend called him that the other day. He was that before the term was in vogue. His legacy of Christian community development in the city and beyond preceded and will outlast its fashion. Never one for fanfare, Clark Blakeman epitomizes what authentic Christian witness looks and feels like: care for others no matter if others like them or “like it” on Facebook. Here Clark has kept in step with the… Read more

Jesus Is God’s Solidarity Pin

I don’t recall images of Baby Jesus in swaddling clothes with a safety pin from my childhood. However, he is God’s solidarity pin. As Matthew writes, he is “God with us, Immanuel” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew’s Gospel takes his line back to Abraham (Matthew 1:1-17), and Luke’s genealogy takes him back to Adam (Luke 3:23-38). Though descendants of King David, his parents were humble people. He was born in a humble state (Luke 2:7). Humble shepherds came to… Read more

“I Don’t Drink from Puritan Theology Often, but When I Do, I Drink from the Theology of the Affections.”

“I don’t drink from Puritan theology often, but when I do, I drink from the theology of the affections.” It might sound like a Dos Equis beer commercial, but the theology tastes quite a bit different, I believe. Like the equivalent of a conversation with a good Christmas port in hand, I ruminated recently on my colleague Dr. Ron Frost’s musings on the theology of the “heavenly” Richard Sibbes. Viewed by some as a precursor to Jonathan Edwards with his… Read more

How to Put Christ Back in Christmas

Nostalgia can be a good thing. But should we live in it? Take Christmas for example. We might long for a white Christmas, but how white? We might even long for the day when nativity sets would go back up in public with signs that read “Put Christ back in Christmas.” But what if that never happens? Will that ruin Christmas for us? It appears that such would be the case for Sarah Palin (Refer here to a video interview… Read more

Trauma: The New Normal? It’s No Fiction.

The room was full of thought, but there were not enough chairs to contain it all. Rarely do New Wine, New Wineskins’ lunchtime forums pack out from wall to wall. No doubt, the beloved professor Dr. Domani Pothen of Multnomah University was a key reason for the level of interest. I also think the subject matter of trauma and its placement in fiction was a factor. The Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins’ spring 2017 conference Saturday, March… Read more

“Risk Floating in the Ether”—A Conversation on Faith and Health

An Interview with Robert Lyman Potter, M.D., Ph.D., by Paul Louis Metzger, Ph.D. Dr. Robert Potter’s professional life has combined medical practice, teaching, and bioethics consultation. He practiced internal medicine and geriatrics for 30 years while teaching in a community hospital affiliated with the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics, and has been elected as Fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Potter also holds a Ph.D. in religion, psychology,… Read more

What Does Thanksgiving Mean for the Indigenous People of the Land?

I remember making crafts for Thanksgiving in grade school accompanied by recounting tales of the Pilgrim settlers and their first encounters with the indigenous people on “American” shores. Those were happy times, at least for me. This week, countless Americans acknowledged one another with greetings like “Happy Thanksgiving!” For many of us, there is much to be thankful for at Thanksgiving, but not for all of us. I don’t recall having studied during grade school the following account of Thanksgiving offered… Read more

Make the American Christian Great Again: Boast in Your Weaknesses This Thanksgiving

When people, Christians included, speak of making America great again, what do they have in mind? The New Testament defines greatness very differently than the world does. Take note of the following: A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.  And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest… Read more

How Do You Get the U.S. Off Life-Support?

The citizens of the United States have gotten into far too many car wrecks on the highways of social media and public forums during the lead-up to the November elections. As a result, we are on life-support when it comes to the subject of incivility. How might our country get off life support? Who better to ask than a medical doctor who has served as a leading voice nationally on palliative care. Dr. Robert Potter practiced internal medicine and geriatrics… Read more

What Is the Cure to Partisan Disgust in America? Take An Empathy Pill?

Repulsive. Reprehensible. Disgusting. These are words that convey an omnipresent emotion or sentiment in America today. One of the problems with this sentiment besides it being so, well, repugnant, is that we are generally torn along partisan political lines. In the run-up to the recent U. S. Presidential election, the term “disgusting” or its equivalent was tossed back and forth like a hand grenade with explosive, dehumanizing intent. The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt weighed in on the topic in a… Read more

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