Jackie Robinson’s 42: More Than a Number


Listen to this piece.I took my kids to see the movie 42 today. The movie is based on the real life story of baseball great Jackie Robinson, the first African American baseball player in the major leagues. Robinson wore the number 42 for the Dodgers. As I understand, the number 42 is the only number that has been retired for all major league baseball teams; it was retired in honor of Robinson and the values for which he stood. That doesn’t mean that racism has retired. Ongoing vigilance is ke … [Read more...]

Idol Makers

Golden Calf

Listen to this piece.We Christians need to be on guard in our understanding of such movements as contemporary Paganism. We tend to lump all of modern Paganism into one general and distorted category. We often fail to account for the vast complexity within the movement and articulate Paganism accurately. For all our concern about pagan idolatry, we may be guilty at times of making their idols for them. We need to develop the practice of respect for understanding their practices, rituals, and … [Read more...]

WANTED: World Christians on Mars Hill


Listen to this piece. Paul was a world Christian. He not only traveled the known world of his day to places such as Corinth, Athens, and Rome, but also lived in the world, even though he was not of it. As a world Christian Paul did not go around his Christian convictions to engage those outside the church. Nor did he stop short at his convictions. Rather, he went through his convictions to engage those outside the faith. In contrast to world Christians like Paul, worldly Christians are in the … [Read more...]

“Please Don’t Squeeze the Charmin!”: On Comparing Religions

Toilet paper

Have you ever seen those old Charmin bathroom tissue commercials, where shoppers get addicted to squeezing the Charmin because it’s irresistibly soft? The shopkeeper tells them: “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin!”  The point of the commercials is to get people to buy Charmin because it’s softer than any other bathroom tissue brand.Whether or not you have seen those commercials, you may be wondering what all this has to do with comparing religions. We tend to compare religions as if they are d … [Read more...]

The Holy Mother’s Day All Year Long

121219 Silent Night

Now that the venerable holiday—Mother’s Day—has passed, I would like to reflect upon what I will call the Holy Mother’s Day. Typically, Mary, the mother of the Lord, is honored at Annunciation, which occurred this year on Monday,  April 8, 2013. There is a sense in which every day should be this holy mother’s day, since she manifested the kind of radical obedience to God in honoring Christ that should be true of every Christian every day of the year.Scripture records that when the angel Gabri … [Read more...]

The Radical Middle & Fundamentalist Extremes: Crossing the Divide


Fundamentalism comes in all shapes and sizes. Liberals can be fundamentalists, too. I am not talking about doctrine, but an inflexible posture that makes dialogue impossible.Tom Krattenmaker’s Huffington Post piece titled, “A Progressive's Confessional Journey to Focus on the Family,” is a shining example of a secular progressive who is progressive on dialogue. I wish I could say the same for some of the respondents at the close of the article.Of course, we Evangelicals are well-known for … [Read more...]

Charles Ramsey: Kidnapped Heroism Unleashed

USA Superman postage stamp

Listen to this piece.What is it about Charles Ramsey, the hero in the Cleveland kidnapping saga, that takes America’s imagination captive? Whether or not his appeal lasts a short or long period of time, his words and deeds have gone viral.There are no doubt numerous reasons for Ramsey as a web phenomenon. One is how unbelievable the story is of his (and quite possibly others) freeing three women and a child brutally imprisoned for ten years in Ramsey’s neighbor’s house. It has all the mak … [Read more...]