Fire Fighting and Religious Conflicts

Sometimes you need to put out a fire. Sometimes you need to start one.I am overseeing a doctor of ministry track that engages conflict and resolution. All too often, people think the key to conflict is to avoid it. While there are some conflict situations that one should avoid, like a charging bull or out-of-control car, many other conflicts require that we address them head-on. In fact, there are times when we should start the conflict.Take forest fires, for example. Sometimes fire … [Read more...]

“Blessed are the pure in heart”—not the double-minded and those with cloudy vision

I still remember a friend of my Mother asking her, “What has happened to Paul?” I was a high school student at the time; she said that my eyes had become dark. I had cloudy vision. My eyes were a reflection of the conflicted state of my soul during that troubling season in my life. Perhaps you have heard the expression, “The eye is the window to the soul.” Jesus said as much, as have some scientists.In Matthew 6, Jesus declares, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, yo … [Read more...]

Don’t Be Indifferent to Religious Persecution. Make a Multi-Faith Difference at Lent.

By Paul Louis Metzger and John W. MoreheadScores of people “celebrated” the beginning of Lent yesterday with an observance of Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time when many Christians give up consumer comforts like chocolate or coffee. Pope Francis encouraged Christians to go beyond renouncing such comforts to fast from indifference toward others. The Pope spoke of indifference as a global problem: “As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, t … [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day and Fifty Shades of Love

Author's note: The movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" has been strongly critiqued for its portrayal of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. This should be duly noted. See for example the review in Relevant Magazine. In no way do I wish to endorse such abuse, but am referencing the movie as an illustration of our culture's obsession with various novel notions of love and romance.Movie theaters and retailers of various kinds are cashing in on people’s fascination with the film Fifty Sh … [Read more...]

Lincoln’s Birthday, Black History and Church Growth

Today is President Lincoln’s 206th birthday. One of Lincoln’s greatest achievements was the Emancipation Proclamation. Although Lincoln is hailed as one of the United States’ greatest Presidents, there were (are) many who viewed Lincoln as an enemy of state rights, especially in the South. The debate continues in certain circles on the real reason for the Civil War: slavery, state rights…? The purpose of this post is not to engage this debate, but to extend the discussion analogically to church g … [Read more...]

Interstellar, Space-Time and Jesus

Beware of spoilers and black holes!Space and time are not absolute, as Galileo and Newton claimed. They are “personal” and intimately connected, as Einstein argued, according to Kip Thorne, the astrophysicist behind the movie Interstellar. Our time flows at different rates, according to Thorne (See his interview titled “What Is Space-Time?”).The movie Interstellar draws on Einstein’s insight that time passes more slowly when the gravitational pull is stronger. See the following article: “ … [Read more...]

“Blessed are the merciful”—not those who look out for number 1

The Beatitudes are filled with paradoxes. For example, the kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit, not those with spiritual bravado. The meek will inherit the earth, not those who are easily provoked. Following these and other beatitudes, Jesus goes on to say, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7; ESV). John Calvin writes of this beatitude: Happy are the merciful[:] This paradox, too, contradicts the judgment of men. [367] The world reckons those men to be happy, … [Read more...]