Recapitulation: Jesus Is No Bobble-Headed Doll or Dashboard Crucifix

Jesus, Adam and Eve

Jesus is no bobble-headed doll or dashboard crucifix. He sums up all things in himself, as Irenaeus emphasized in his doctrine of recapitulation, and which the Bible makes exceptionally clear (Ephesians 1:10; ESV). Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15) and the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead. God's aim is that in everything Jesus might be preeminent (Colossians 1:18).  All the fullness of God dwells in him (Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:9) and we have been g … [Read more...]

How Seriously Do We Take Jesus’ Words on the Need for Christian Unity?


How seriously do we who are Christians take Jesus’ words recorded in John 17:23? Here we find Jesus praying to the Father on the eve of his crucifixion: “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23; ESV) Given the suffering that awaits him in John’s account, we should realize just how important unity among his followers is to Jesus; it occupies his thoughts and prayers during his most tr … [Read more...]

What Is Enlightenment? Dare to Think!

P Food for Thought

Immanuel Kant’s famous exhortation “Have courage to use your own reason!” (“Sapere aude!”) stands out as a defining statement of the Enlightenment. For Kant, daring to thinking for oneself is enlightenment. In his catalytic essay “What Is Enlightenment?” he calls on his readers to free themselves from “self-incurred…tutelage,” where they take their direction from others. (See Immanuel Kant, “What Is Enlightenment?” in Kant Selections, ed. Lewis White Beck, The Great Philosophers series {New York: … [Read more...]

Unfinished Business

130829 I Have a Dream Today

I originally delivered this as a keynote address for The Albina Ministerial Alliance’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service at Allen Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Portland, Oregon on January 15, 2012. As we reflect on Dr. King's legacy together today, I wanted to share these words again.This evening, we have gathered together to remember, celebrate and act upon the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We have unfinished business to which we must attend. God is not fi … [Read more...]

Boast In Christ, Not Name Brands

cross of christ built into a brick wall

What would the Apostle Paul write to the American church today? Among other things, I believe he would write: Boast in Christ, not name brands. He wrote on this theme of boasting in God in Christ to the Corinthian church in the 1st century (See 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, 2 Corinthians 10:17-18; see also his discussion of boasting in 2 Corinthians 11; cf. Jeremiah 9:23-24).The Corinthian Christians clothed themselves in autonomy from Christ. Like Adam and Eve, they were being led astray by the … [Read more...]

Bring It Home with John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”


In East of Eden, John Steinbeck brought home the biblical story of Cain and Abel to Salinas, California, where he grew up. Do you bring home this cosmic story to your life by recounting and overcoming it? Whether or not you and I tell the story, we live it every day. Jealousy, rejection, abandonment, revenge, forgiveness, and hope.Cain felt that God had rejected him and his offering for his brother and his gift. In a fit of jealousy and rage, Cain killed Abel. He left the presence of the … [Read more...]

“I Love Jesus, But Not My Mother.”

Beautiful pregnant woman in the park

I originally posted this piece on March 6, 2012. As I prepared once again to teach ecclesiology this semester,  I reflected upon these themes and thought them pertinent in the present context.Much has been made of the video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” by Jeff Bethke . Even Time has entered the conversation. The video has been watched countless times since it appeared in early January. Regardless of what one makes of Bethke’s words, one cannot question his ability to connect with you … [Read more...]