Was Jesus a Hobbit? Food and Drink Feature Prominently in His Story and Kingdom Vision

There is a lot of debate as to whether or not Jesus was fully divine and fully human. Add this to the debate: perhaps he was a hobbit. After all, food and drink were such vital features of his life and work, as with Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, and the other halflings. As one spans Jesus’ life, it almost reads as if he enjoyed hobbit-like first and second breakfasts, afternoon tea, dinner, and related forms of culinary merriment (See this video clip). Jesus turned water into wine ( … [Read more...]

Multi-Faith Matters: Evangelicals in a Multi-Faith World

I am a member of a group titled “Multi-Faith Matters.” We are a team of Evangelical pastors and academics telling the stories and discovering the best practices for living in a multi-faith world with love, and without compromise. Our group believes that Evangelical Christians in North America need to come to terms with the fact that our Christian privileges are shrinking, that other traditions are increasing in presence, and that we cannot operate as if we are living in a mono-faith world. This p … [Read more...]

Blessed Are the Happy in Jesus, not Tortured, Cheated or Diseased Souls

The crowds, including the disciples, were looking for happiness. However, things hadn't turned out well for many of them. Many were living a country western song— looking for happiness in all the wrong places. They were downtrodden, bewildered, and oppressed. However, they sensed with Jesus that perhaps their fortunes were about to change. Just maybe he was the long-expected Messiah, who would liberate them from their enemies and free them from their fears. And so, they followed him, hanging on h … [Read more...]

Die to a Martyr’s Complex—We Cannot Out-Give God

Lent is a forty day period in the church calendar, which begins with Ash Wednesday, and ends the day before Easter. It involves fasting, prayer and repentance, and emphasizes identification with Jesus. Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days and nights in the wilderness. Many observers of Lent also believe Jesus was in the tomb forty hours.Christians who observe Lent give up various comforts and habits, such as chocolate or coffee or cigarettes. Recently, Pope Francis called on the faithful … [Read more...]

Palm Sunday: Do We Approach Jesus with an Open Hand or a Closed Fist?

Today is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. On this day, we celebrate Jesus in his humble glory riding a donkey and its colt into the city of Jerusalem, as the crowds and children cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, 15) The crowds threw palm branches on the path before Jesus to celebrate him as their approaching King (Matthew 21:8; John 12:13), who came to bring peace and justice. Many … [Read more...]

Displaced Christians Place Emphasis on Forgiveness and Love

What good is religion, anyway? Religion is extremely good, when it promotes radical love in the face of extreme hate. I was deeply moved by the video of Christian girls in Erbil, Iraq, who were interviewed after they and their families were displaced from their homes by ISIS. My friend Adam Estle at Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding made available this video link in his recent EMEU Weekly Communiqué, which you can find here.How would we respond if we were displaced from our homes … [Read more...]

Millennial-Minded Churches: Not So Fast—Know Why We’re Fasting at Lent

Millennials are often viewed as that generation that came into adulthood around the turn of the twenty-first century (See this description of Millennials). They are also into previous millenniums, when it comes to an affirmation (albeit eclectic) of tradition (Refer to this article in U.S. News & World Report on Millennials and religious tradition) and embodied, tactile spirituality involving the various senses. In particular, I have in mind Evangelical Protestant Millennials. As a recent … [Read more...]