The crowds, including the disciples, were looking for happiness. However, things hadn’t turned out well for many of them. Many were living a country western song— looking for happiness in all the wrong places. They were downtrodden, bewildered, and oppressed. However, they sensed with Jesus that perhaps their fortunes were about to change. Just maybe he was the long-expected Messiah, who would liberate them from their enemies and free them from their fears. And so, they followed him, hanging on his every word,… Read more

Lent is a forty day period in the church calendar, which begins with Ash Wednesday, and ends the day before Easter. It involves fasting, prayer and repentance, and emphasizes identification with Jesus. Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days and nights in the wilderness. Many observers of Lent also believe Jesus was in the tomb forty hours. Christians who observe Lent give up various comforts and habits, such as chocolate or coffee or cigarettes. Recently, Pope Francis called on the… Read more

Today is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. On this day, we celebrate Jesus in his humble glory riding a donkey and its colt into the city of Jerusalem, as the crowds and children cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, 15) The crowds threw palm branches on the path before Jesus to celebrate him as their approaching King… Read more

What good is religion, anyway? Religion is extremely good, when it promotes radical love in the face of extreme hate. I was deeply moved by the video of Christian girls in Erbil, Iraq, who were interviewed after they and their families were displaced from their homes by ISIS. My friend Adam Estle at Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding made available this video link in his recent EMEU Weekly Communiqué, which you can find here. How would we respond if we… Read more

Millennials are often viewed as that generation that came into adulthood around the turn of the twenty-first century (See this description of Millennials). They are also into previous millenniums, when it comes to an affirmation (albeit eclectic) of tradition (Refer to this article in U.S. News & World Report on Millennials and religious tradition) and embodied, tactile spirituality involving the various senses. In particular, I have in mind Evangelical Protestant Millennials. As a recent Oregonian article notes, interest in such… Read more

What did God give up for Lent? It wasn’t chocolate, coffee, cigarettes—or even broccoli! Read more

No doubt, the Apostle Peter had Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew in mind when he encourages and exhorts Christians to suffer for righteousness’ sake, not murder, thievery, evil, meddling—and no doubt deception like tax evasion: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is… Read more

Matthew 5:9 reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (ESV). This verse is one of the most quoted lines of the Beatitudes, but that does not mean it is the best understood. In fact, it has been misprinted, as in the second edition of the Geneva Bible. There it reads, “Blessed are the placemakers.” Monty Python took the liberty of people in the crowd mishearing Jesus’ words for a few good laughs in Life… Read more

In January, I asked my boss who is a few months older than I what it was like to reach the 51 year mark and experience midlife crisis. His response: he’s not experiencing midlife crisis, but end of life crisis. Today, I turned 51. As I rub cerebral Bengay into my out-of-whack cognitive joints, let the sympathy cards flow in. Some men resort to mistresses, while others resort to sports cars in coping with such crises. Regardless that some might… Read more

I have received a great deal of criticism (and lost a lot of credibility) since I first acknowledged Tuesday that I have never watched Princess Bride. It was during a break in a discussion on Hegel. I tried to explain that I prefer wholesome family comedies like The Godfather trilogy. Even so, since my acknowledgment, all kinds of people have been alluding to the movie. Perhaps they have always been alluding to it, but I was just not aware. A… Read more

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