January 23, 2019

I write informally about history all the time. I am not, however, a trained historian. As a result, I try to base what I write on historians and ask questions of my historian friends with different perspectives. Training matters and while a good, sound, general education can make you fit to follow the arguments experts make, this does not make you an expert! Modesty about what one knows well is a must. Even in a field where I have advanced formal… Read more

January 22, 2019

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is greater than “I Have a Dream,” he is more than any single image, he is greater than his monument—yet he is not perfect. His every word is not sacred, but his each word is serious. We must pause over him, because he is great. He got one big thing right, though you cannot pretend he got everything right. No American should criticize his views of the race struggle in America: he was right, deeply… Read more

January 20, 2019

Langston Hughes is a favorite poet. Whenever I say this, people get upset with me in different ways for different reasons. My favorite football team is the Green Bay Packers. Now that I’ve said that people will get upset, left and right, that I follow football at all. Chicago Bears fans are just upsetting. When poetry and sports are angry-making, we are running out of common topics. As a person who likes people, and is all too aware of his… Read more

January 19, 2019

The most important thing I’d like to get across to you is this: It is possible to be calm amidst the storms of life. Do not believe the lie from the evil one that “things are hopeless!” He slyly suggests your sighing and sacrifice, your labor and love, your prayers and ministry are in vain. “Flip through the TV channels”, he prompts. “Check email”, he tempts. “Have another snack.” “Have another drink” because “it doesn’t matter”. NO!!! God is with… Read more

January 18, 2019

Some people wanted Trump, some people accepted Trump won, and some people never let Trump be thrust upon them. That’s a nation in turmoil. The 2020 race will be all about the President, even if almost half the nation refuses to admit he is the President. In 2012 I suggested that the “rise of brands” meant that Donald Trump had to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. I was right. In 2016, I took him seriously but still did… Read more

January 17, 2019

  Oedipus knew the truth and gouged out his eyes. I understand this tendency. “Know the truth,” the Greek prophet might have said, “and risk being driven to despair. Are you sure you wish to know?” Our “should have” is not the same as our “did” and the difference can be devastating. Jesus offered us something better than a command to know the truth. Instead of truth’s brutal revelation, which must come but is fraught with peril, Jesus asked us… Read more

January 16, 2019

Did you know that there are Aramaic translations of the New Testament from the fifth century? This is important because Jesus Himself almost surely spoke in Aramaic. A minority of scholars have argued that some of the New Testament was translated from Aramaic to Greek, but that seems unlikely. Greek was the common language of the place where Christianity was born. The disciples and apostles would have hired scribes who tended to write in Greek. The importance of early translations of New… Read more

January 15, 2019

Knowing how to read old books is hard work. Harder still is the work scholars do to make old works in other languages ready for us to read. Scholars translated the books of the Bible for us from such ancient manuscripts and I am in awe at the work they do. I am happy I get to see some of that work every time I read the English Bible (or even the Greek text).* A great thing about almost every English… Read more

January 14, 2019

“You can’t go home again.” This is wrong. Great literature, whether picturing the hero Odysseus finding home, or Dorothy discovering that what she wanted was in her own backyard, recognizes that we can always go home again. Our true home, the City of God, waits for all of us. We never outgrow our home: we grow into her. We are made ready for life in our eternal home through our pilgrimage here. Here we live in temporary images of home, models… Read more

January 14, 2019

“Nothing, nothing, could be worse than this” is a prelude to something worse being put in place by the insightful people who saw the problem. Louis XVI is replaced by Napoleon. Nicholas II is replaced by Stalin. Tyranny can get worse. Christians should beware. We rightly critiqued the ugliness of 1980’s secular relationships, but too often the solution was as bad or worse than the “problem.” Beware the solution. Look at any organization, system, or “thing” and almost anyone can see… Read more

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