Green Christmas: Richard Dawkins, Meet John of Damascus

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I doubt there was snow on the ground that first Christmas, so I don’t think Christ’s advent in the cavernous mangers of our hearts this Christmas is dependent on snowfall either. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, Christmas will likely be very green, as it often is. Whether it is green where you live or not, my Christian faith entails that greenery and all things natural are dependent on that first Christmas.Recently, I told my theology class students that the incarnation is the ultimate … [Read more...]

Nelson Mandela: Troublemaker for Peace

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A troublemaker for peace died yesterday. The man born with the name "Rolihlahla"—which literally means "pulling the branch of a tree" and which is colloquially rendered "troublemaker"—died in peace.Nelson Mandela brought peace to South Africa by making trouble. One cannot always make peace without conflict. Those who would shy away from conflict involving injustices are not about peace, but the status quo, for peace always entails advancing justice. Having been an advocate in his early years … [Read more...]

What Can Dave Ramsey’s Evangelicals Learn from Ebenezer Scrooge?

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In a recent article on Dave Ramsey on the subject of poverty, Rachel Held Evans quotes Ramsey as saying, “There is a direct correlation…between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth.” She then goes on to claim that this teaching flirts with the prosperity gospel, which can be construed as God blesses those with wealth who bless God. Among other things, Evans also writes of how Ramsey’s view does not account for the structures that make and keep people po … [Read more...]

Ayn Rand, Christians and Altruism

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What is the standard of value in this or that ethical system? Is it some transcendent immaterial ideal? A personal God? The community at large? One’s self? According to Ayn Rand, “The objectivist ethics” which she promotes “holds man’s life as the standard of value—and his own life as the ethical purpose of every individual man” (The Virtue of Selfishness, Signet, 1964, p. 27).  Rand goes on to unpack what she means by standard and purpose and value. For our purposes, it is sufficient to focus co … [Read more...]

Why Do We Call Today “Black Friday”?

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I have come across a few answers as to why people call the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday.” One answer is that “Black Friday” was coined by the Philadelphia Police Department based on the overwhelming and chaotic influx of traffic and pedestrian activity associated with Christmas shopping on the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving. "Black Friday" is also associated with the economic upturn involving the shopping cycle leading to Christmas where retailers turn from being in the red to … [Read more...]

A Thanksgiving Reflection: God’s Gracious Love Fosters an Ethic of Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is upon us. This year, I find myself reflecting upon God’s generosity in Christ for which I am most thankful. I wish to take this opportunity to reflect upon how God’s generosity in Christ shapes the Christian life.A theology of God’s gracious love fosters an ethic of gratitude. I preached on Philemon this past Sunday at Ascension Presbyterian Church and believe this passage in Scripture reveals this orientation. Now some may see in Paul’s letter to Philemon a subtle form of mani … [Read more...]

Why the Trinitarian God Matters in Multi-Faith Discourse

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In a recent blog post discussion, I spoke of the need to humanize religion.  On Facebook on 11/20, I wrote: “If we don't humanize religion, we may very well end up demonizing adherents of other paths. We need to put faces to the various faith traditions.” My particular emphasis on humanization does not discount orthodox Christian faith with its claim that Christ is fully God as well as fully human. To the contrary, it is because God is personal and has three “faces” as the persons of the Father, … [Read more...]


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