An Unguarded Strength Is a Glaring Weakness

“An unguarded strength is a glaring weakness.” A wise sage, Dr. Calvin Blom, shared these words with me several years ago.* Even our strengths can become weaknesses if we do not put a guard on them.Charismatic, creative and energetic leaders can run over people if they are not careful; they must submit their gifts, passions and drives to the Lord. Only then can they move others as catalysts for God’s kingdom work. Those who have the gift of compassion must be sure not to bleed mercy in such … [Read more...]

“What is man that you are mindful of him…?” How the Copernican Revolution Promoted Human Value

It has often been claimed that the Copernican Revolution demoted the cosmos and humanity’s value in the universe at large.[1] The scientific move from a geocentric to heliocentric universe may have dethroned Aristotle’s particular view of the earth’s centrality, but not humanity’s importance in the overarching scheme of things. Paradoxically to how the modern mind often conceives the matter, Aristotle and others following him did not see centrality in the universe as necessarily a positive qualit … [Read more...]

Don’t Be Confused: Immediacy Is Not Intimacy

I was speaking with a Native Hawaiian the other day, who remarked that all too often visitors reduce Hawaii to Waikiki. The touristy thinking at times is: if you’ve been to Waikiki, you’ve experienced Hawaii. Not really. Even if you or I visit one of the islands, that does not mean we have really experienced the richness of Hawaiian life and culture. There is such diversity.No doubt, the same could be said of various places around the world, as well as the people who inhabit those places. Eve … [Read more...]

“Jesus Loves Me, This I Know …”—Orienting Our Studies at the Beginning of a New Academic Year*

The story goes that the Swiss theologian Karl Barth was asked during his one visit to the States in 1962 to summarize his theology. This would be no small request. Barth’s thought had developed in a variety of ways over decades. Moreover, it spanned scores of books made up of seemingly countless millions of words. According to the account, Barth replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Not bad as a story. Not bad as an answer for a theologian often hailed as the great … [Read more...]

Cows, Photobombs and Wedding Celebrations

Have you ever been to a wedding celebration where a herd of cows photobombed the bride and groom? I have. What a hoot! I just returned from the Connecticut countryside, where one of my nieces got married Saturday. It was a beautiful occasion in so many ways; the cows in the background only added to the pageantry.The cow photobomb aside, I cherish how everything revolved around the bride and groom. It was not only appropriate because every wedding celebration should be about the couple … [Read more...]

Good Old Religions Are Not All Saying the Same Thing: Beyond Syncretism and Dogmatism

Two statements that frustrate me to no end on interfaith matters are, first that “We are all basically saying the same thing” and, second, that “There is nothing good in other religions.” From my personal Christian vantage point, the first discounts the particularity of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, and for that matter, the distinctive, fundamental features of the various other faith traditions. The second discounts the universality of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, and from the vantage po … [Read more...]

Monet and the Marriage of East and West

Someone asked me this morning how long my wife Mariko and I have been married. I responded, “Feels like yesterday to me, feels like 100 to Mariko, but it’s more like 25.” Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. I am thankful to my wife for her faithful love over all the years. One of the most precious qualities of our marriage is the shared value we cherish for a global theology of culture that reflects the multifaceted, diverse beauty and glory of Christ and his kingdom around the world.This … [Read more...]