Saints and Celebrities Illumine Our Path and Offer Us Mile Markers through the Seasons of Life

What is it about celebrities? Like saints, they transcend their lives, even if in the case of some celebrities, their lives lack saintliness. The week following Christmas, as part of Christmastide, many of us celebrate and remember saints of old, like St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, St. John the Apostle, and on January 1st, Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This week, we also come to terms with the passing of celebrities, whose lives remain with us in our passing of time. Like celebrities,… Read more

“Silence” and the Lambs of Sacrifice: Unprecedented Suffering at Christmastide

The limited run of Martin Scorsese’s Silence that opened two days before Christmas was intended to position it for awards season. A wider launch will occur in January. A limited run at Christmas is not an unprecedented move. Something similar happened with The Revenant last year. Other than that, it might seem unprecedented to launch Silence right around Christmas. After all, the movie is based on Shusaku Endo’s classic 1966 novel about Christian witness in Eido era Japan in the face… Read more

Christmas Day Is Over, But Jesus’ Life at Christmastide Has Only Just Begun!

If we operate by way of the secular calendar, Christmas is over—except for “after Christmas” sales and returns, as well as Christmas dinner leftovers. But for the Christian calendar, Jesus’ life at Christmastide is far from over; it has only just begun! Far from being an afterglow or an afterthought, the New Testament and liturgical accounts of Jesus’ early days of life give us reasons for hope in the midst of post-Christmas blues. Christmastide, as the Christmas season is called,… Read more

Which Glory, Which Peace Will We Celebrate This Christmas?

Glory and peace go together in Luke’s Gospel. Luke 2:14 states, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14; ESV) Paul Minear sees a direct connection between the glory and peace here: “The more glory the more peace, and the more peace the more glory.”[1] It’s not any kind of glory and any kind of peace, though. So, how do we discern the signs of God’s glory and peace? For starters,… Read more

How Social Is Your Trinity? How Our Theologies May Say More About Us Than God

A great deal of talk has centered of late on social trinitarianism, which focuses on relational and social metaphors for understanding the Trinitarian life of God. Whether we are talking about psychological constructs like thought and memory, or these social notions, such images are intended to express what is meant by God being one and three at the same time. No matter the preference, it is important that we do not place God in the predicate position, and mental or… Read more

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

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