Clinton, Trump, and the Kings of Israel

A friend originally from the UK wondered out loud this week (and I'm paraphrasing): "Watching American political campaigns, what has made a great nation afraid of its own shadow?"The question troubles me. It angers me -- not toward him, but toward the politicians and pundits who have created that impression.It is laughable that either one of the candidates for President is capable of making this country great again or capable of uniting it.With all its flaws (flaws that bedevil all … [Read more...]

Mark Burns illustrates how not to pray

Some years ago I was invited to a Congressman’s office along with leaders to discuss legislative issues that impinged on religious communities. Having concluded our conversation, the Congressman finished by observing, “If you ever want to pray in Congress, let my office know, and remember, don’t be afraid to pray in the name of Jesus.”I’m not afraid to pray in the name of Jesus – or the Trinity – and I do all the time. But I was embarrassed by the Congressman’s remark, and I wondered why his … [Read more...]

Public Discourse and The Language of Derision

The language of derision has become increasingly commonplace in public discourse. The labels, “stupid,” “elitist,” “racist,” and their synonyms have become increasingly commonplace in public discourse.Our political leaders use the language of derision to describe the people they lead when they fail to respond positively to their appeals. Political operatives use the language of derision in ads and promotions that provide cover for candidates who hope to benefit from that kind of language, but … [Read more...]

Four Reasons for Abandoning the Term, Post-Christian

The potted definition of Post-Christianity that Wikipedia offers, summarizes as well as any, a term that is frequently used to describe the challenge that the contemporary church faces: “the loss of the primacy of the Christian worldview in political affairs, especially in the Global North where Christianity had previously flourished, in favor of alternative worldviews such as secular nationalism.[2] It includes personal world views, ideologies, religious movements or societies that are no longe … [Read more...]

5 Priorities as We Vote

A number of years ago, I invited a New Testament scholar to speak at the Cathedral in Washington. I picked him up at Reagan – National – Airport - in Washington – by God – DC. We drove up the tidal basin past the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, west of the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol, and then traveled up Rock Creek Parkway, past the Kennedy Center.“You, know,” he said, “I began my work as an archaeologist and I’ve often tho … [Read more...]

7 Ways to Prepare Spiritually to Vote

The election of a new President comes into sharper focus next week with the primaries.We’ve been polled, encouraged, recruited, and berated.   We have been told that we are better than we are and we’ve been told that we worse than we are.Now it’s time to begin weighing the real-world consequences of our vote.It is also time to consider our spiritual obligations.So, how do we make a decision about voting marked by thoughtful, deliberative, and spiritual preparation?Here are som … [Read more...]

5 Spiritual Truths that Won’t Change with the Election of a New President

Some time ago, Ben Myers, a systematics professor at United Theological College in Sydney, Australia, summarized the Bible, book by book, using Twitter.  He did an admirable job of capturing the themes of First and Second Kings: 1 Kings: So, you really want a monarchy huh? Don't say I didn't warn you.2 Kings: I told you so. Read together, the message of those two books could be understood as an endorsement of theocracy (i.e., the direct rule of God).  But they are much better read – as the … [Read more...]


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