You Don’t Have to Be in Make-Up to Be a Clown

Trudi Nellie Sang

A professional clown informed a group of amateurs such as myself that "You don't have to be in make-up" to fulfill the calling of a clown. She was talking about our calling as Christians to make ourselves vulnerable. The clown in question, Trudi Sang, is chair of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins' student community. Trudi was giving a talk to us on the New Wine, New Wineskins community formation retreat on how to be Christian leaders. She was drawing … [Read more...]

We Shall Overcome

multi-ethnic church conf. image

The multi-ethnic church race is not a sprint, but a marathon race for life. What will energize us in the midst of the challenges and obstacles that would drain us, exhaust us and lead us to call it quits rather than overcome? Solidarity in community is key. But what kind of community? A community sustained by the reality that the God revealed in Christ by the power of the Spirit has already run and won the race to make one people out of many nations, tribes, peoples, and languages. Ephesians … [Read more...]

The Christian Faith & Many Faiths: On the Great Commandments and the Great Commission, Part II


I remember hearing a lecture from a mainline Protestant liberal scholar who said that his seminary students were hard pressed to engage people of other religions well. It wasn’t because they weren’t deeply interested in other faiths (as is the case with many conservative Christians), but because they didn’t know enough about their own faith tradition, including Christology. While conservative Christians need to be inquisitive rather than inquisitional (further to what was stated in the … [Read more...]

Christ’s Blood—Thicker than Brand

brand word in letterpress type

I am struck by Paul’s appeal to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 1: they are all to agree with one another; there are to be no divisions among them, and they are to be perfectly united in mind and thought (1 Corinthians 1:10-11). Why is Paul making this appeal? It has come to Paul’s attention that there is quarreling among the Corinthians based on growing factions. Some wear Paul’s brand, others Apollos’ brand, others Cephas’ brand, and still others Christ’s supposed brand … [Read more...]

How Credible Are We on Syria?


  President Obama has indicated that the credibility of America’s Congress and the international community is on the line concerning how to respond to the reports of Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its citizens. While that may be true, I wonder if our credibility would increase if the United States and other countries with chemical weapons would dispose of them fully. As President Obama highlighted, the international community has deemed “abhorrent” the use of chemical … [Read more...]

Healthy Questions on Healthcare Reform


Have you seen the movie, John Q, starring Denzel Washington and Robert Duvall? The movie is about a man (Denzel Washington) who is down on his luck, whose little boy needs a heart transplant, and his insurance company won't cover the operation. In his desperate situation, he takes desperate action and takes hostage a hospital emergency room until the doctors perform the operation. While some may find the story far-fetched, John Q does raise far-reaching questions bearing on health care … [Read more...]

Hipsters, Divine Providence and PBR

130902 P Hipsters, Divine Providence and PBR

I was pondering why hipsters in Portland drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, when they live in the microbrew capitol of the world. Some Portland pubs actually make a big thing of promoting PBR. One friend informed me that it is hard to find lagers in Portland, and so some resort to PBR: they like the taste and that it’s cheap. Another friend told me that hipsters drink PBR because it’s ironic. “Ironic?” I asked. The answer I got was that hipsters drink it (at least some of them) because it carries … [Read more...]