Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are rites of passage from “Egypt” to the “Promised Land,” not symbols of a Babylonian Captivity. Rites of passage are ceremonies or celebrations that occur when people leave one group to join another. So, which group is it that we leave and what group are we entering when celebrating Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Ultimately, baptism signifies death to our old humanity and new life in Jesus, the truly human and the personal ground of our… Read more

I had the opportunity to see a screening of the soon-to-be-released TV series on Albert Einstein titled Genius. The first episode did not go into great detail about Einstein’s scientific discoveries (I have read that the series as a whole is not a science documentary). However, the episode did seek to shed light on Einstein’s personal and family life, and the cultural and political context in which Einstein lived and engaged in scientific inquiry. One of the questions that I… Read more

All too often, we take the mythical to be devoid of real historical concern, even if there are some historical elements. Read more

Painkiller addictions have sounded the national alarm (Refer here, here, and here). In our painkiller age, it is worth noting that according to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus did not use painkillers or anesthesia at the cross, though they offered him wine mixed with gall (which dulled pain; Matthew 27:33-34). Nor did Jesus faint at the sight of blood or from the pain, only to awaken later in the grave (Refer here for a discussion of the swoon theory hypothesis of Jesus… Read more

Jesus’ crucifixion is the greatest compliment, though not everyone thinks so… One of the things I most appreciate about my Muslim friends is the high regard they have for Jesus: they honor him as a great prophet. This is one reason why many Muslims (though not all) claim that Jesus was delivered from being crucified. How could a true prophet of God die such a shameful death? Surely God would have delivered him from the cross. As much as I… Read more

God’s church is more than a collection of giving units. As the bride, she is united to Jesus Christ. Sometimes Christian leaders refer to their congregants as “giving units,” that is, as those who contribute financially to the church institution. It is so easy in our free market society to measure God’s people primarily by what they contribute to the church collection plate. After all, our society often places supreme value on the effective exchanges of goods and services; such… Read more

Today, on Palm Sunday, Christians around the world wave palm branches in remembrance of people greeting Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9; ESV) People around the world also join palms in prayer in remembrance of Coptic Christians killed today by deadly blasts in two churches in Egypt. Regardless of our ecclesial affiliation, we who are Christians must not only join palms… Read more

Whenever one considers natural and/or moral disasters, one can easily come away overwhelmed and despondent. What moves us to action to aid those who suffer in the wake? Hope certainly has something to do with moving beyond the threat of paralysis or inactivity in many if not all situations. Public opinion across the world will continue to weigh in on whether President Trump should have ordered the destruction of the airfield in Syria that reportedly housed the planes used in… Read more

“Mom was right: You are what you eat.” Could it also be true that we become what we view? Here I’m reminded of the short story, The Great Stone Face, published by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850. The story is based on an old legend claiming that someone would arise in their midst that would look like the Great Stone Face—a rock formation on a nearby mountainside that had the air of a living human countenance from the right distance and… Read more

The prayer often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi referred to as the “Peace Prayer” includes the words, “Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” Even though it is often claimed that St. Francis did not pen the prayer, it still resonates and penetrates our hearts as if he or someone like him did. And yet, we need to ask what is meant by love. We all have notions of love, but what kind of love does the prayer envision?… Read more

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