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 good news of Jesus Christ: to … [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 greet him after his birth … [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 treatise on the religious affections, Sibbes … [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 with her on the subject of Advent and American culture).And what if Chr … [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 18th is titled "Trauma and … [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 … [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 … [Read more...]