November 27, 2019

The Gospel of John doesn’t really deal in miracles, per se, but rather signs. The miraculous things that Jesus does–healings, raising of the dead, turning water into wine, feeding the hungry–come to his people as messages from the Father. Look! See! Understand! As signs, they can be received with gratitude for what they are–good wine, new sight, copious amounts of bread–but they’re meant to lead to more. They’re meant to lead to vision. Thanksgiving is just the beginning, the gateway.... Read more

November 15, 2019

Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, c. 200-400 Today I listened to Rev. John MacArthur double down on his comments about Beth Moore and women in the church. I listened to nearly 75 minutes of doubling down. He discussed all the big “women’s roles” texts: 1 Corinthians 14, 1 Corinthians 11, Genesis 3, Titus 2, 1 Timothy 2. His remarks covered everything from women preaching and teaching to the named women in the Old Testament (Miriam’s prophetic role was, after all, really... Read more

November 12, 2019

It seems to me at this stage of my life that one of the harder parts of maturing in faith is coming to grips with the fact that all of scripture, all of our experience in Christ, all the core beliefs and convictions of the Christian gospel, all the ancient writings and great teachings and profound ideas of all the saints—all of this put together is still not enough to answer some of the profoundly difficult questions we face. I... Read more

October 13, 2019

“Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.” This line from Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous Serenity Prayer keeps goading me. It compels me to face with honesty, and challenges my smugness in, my refusal to accept this world as it is, my absolute rejection of “as it is” and my insistence on “as I would have it.” Sometimes my refusals and rejections are quite righteous, honestly. A couple at our church loses a... Read more

October 6, 2019

Today I offer you this guest entry, with thanks for permission to post. I have added an image that seems appropriate.   To the reader who is suffering, I have become increasingly aware of you. Some years ago I lost a beloved, and I was told how the experience would make me more compassionate. It did not. I cared nothing for the pain of others—only for my own. I’m older now, and more experienced in the ways of suffering. I... Read more

September 17, 2019

As I work my way through Exodus again, I come to this verse: “Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked” (23.7). It’s only a small example of what runs rampant through the Torah–commandments and consequences. God warns his people about serious offenses, and spells out the inevitable results of bad choices. And I think to myself, well, this is the problem right here. Fair warning from God, but... Read more

June 24, 2019

In last Sunday’s gospel (Lk 8.26-39), Jesus tells the man delivered from demons to “return to your home and declare how much God has done for you.” Here’s the heart of personal testimony, that ancient and yet superlatively evangelical practice. There’s nothing like the power of the personal story testifying to an encounter with Jesus to persuade and enlighten another. In some ways, testimony is the key to community in the evangelical world. In my childhood church, giving your testimony... Read more

June 19, 2019

On Trinity Sunday, many preachers across the country gently and respectfully work their way around actual teaching about the Trinity—as though it were some kind of large embarrassing object in the road—and move on to a topic more user-friendly.   This may seem to be the better part of wisdom, since we can’t “figure it out”; we believe in one God, yet we talk about Three—Father, Son, Spirit—and 1+1+1=1 just doesn’t compute; it’s hard to talk about; so… let’s just... Read more

May 21, 2019

Okay, apparently my last post was not tongueish-in-cheekish enough, and some of my readers considered it a cry for attention, which is pure irony, when I think about it. Not that I don’t welcome the plaudits, because most people to be noticed. We all want the big ratings, the responses: The question is, how big is the abyss? How much is enough to fill it? Perhaps it depends on what we’re shoveling in. For example, one of my dear friends... Read more

May 14, 2019

  I’m reading a book I would never have personally picked up, in a thousand years, apart from my son asking me to “read it first and see if it’s any good”; the odds of me finishing it run low. I’ve relegated it to a treadmill book, picked up only to distract me from the dutiful minutes of exercise. It’s (imho) tedious, narcissistic, and profane, bridging that modern limbo between autobiography and fiction. It’s endless narrative without plot or purpose.... Read more

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