“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… 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… 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 point of… 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… Read more

Road Rage and the Crowded Highways of Our Hearts

Perhaps you have seen reports of the recent road rage incident in Florida, where one driver followed another to his home. The presumed aim was to get the other man’s address so as to report his unsafe behavior behind the wheel. Actually, both parties called 911 to complain of the other’s crazy driving. The driver in the front car warned CNN that his gun was “cocked and locked.” Once home, he took his gun and shot dead the driver who followed him. The wife,… Read more

I Wish Fox News Could Have Been at the Muslim Wedding Celebration We Attended Friday.

I wish Fox News could have been at the Muslim wedding celebration we attended Friday. There would have been nothing sensational to report, only something very normal and wholesome. That’s what made it newsworthy. Many Westerners view Muslims as terrorists. While there are some who claim to commit gross, violent acts as adherents of Islam, that is not true of the Muslims I know (and countless other Muslims I do not know). And while I don’t wish to excuse those… Read more

Why I’m Still an Evangelical Christian: Beyond Babylonian Captivities to the Captured Heart

One of the most moving experiences I have had as a Christian was hearing Dr. John M. Perkins share his testimony of faith during his address at Reed College in 2001. If he had given an altar call that evening, this seminary professor would have gone forward. Like John Wesley before me, my heart was strangely warmed. I was a guest in the auditorium that night; I also felt like a strange guest to the kind of Christianity Perkins embodied. In… Read more

Genuine Christianity

It is not often that people sit down at dinner parties to share their concerns over the state of the church. After some small talk, the conversation quickly went there the other night. He was an older, thoughtful, kind-hearted man, who had been around the Christian block. There was no edge to his remarks, just a dull pain and longing in his heart. Now retired, he had been in the corporate world as an administrator. Among other things, he grieved… Read more

On Same-Sex Marriage: Beyond the Courtroom and Closet to the Table

A gay friend shared with me today how delighted he is in the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage; he spoke of how the ruling brought validation to same-sex couples he knows who have waited for years for equal rights. Yesterday a friend on the other side of the issue shared her consternation. Many people with social conservative convictions fear that they and their views will be consigned to the closet, just like gays and lesbians in the past… Read more

Overcome White Supremacy with Solidarity

The racist massacre in Charleston, South Carolina this past week highlights our need as a nation to overcome white supremacy with solidarity. African American Pastor David Greenidge of Tigard Covenant Church in Tigard, Oregon shared with me Saturday that the media has drawn significant attention to the horror of white supremacy and its victims in this tragedy, but more needs to be said about the need for solidarity in our communities across the nation. We will only be able to… Read more

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