February 14, 2022

In the first part of this series I shared some commonly used arguments for the existence of God that I wish Christians would stop making. It was kind of a downer, and at the end I asked how we might still fulfill this instruction from Peter: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with... Read more

February 10, 2022

If you spend enough time online, you’ll find that most arguments about God are a lot of back and forth with very little in the way of changed minds. When I was an atheist, I had many conversations with well-meaning Christians trying to talk their way into a conversion. Believing in God, it seemed, was a matter of deploying the right argument in the right way at the right time. None of this brought me one step closer to Christ... Read more

February 6, 2022

What does it mean to have faith “like a little child”? The idea of coming to the kingdom of God through childlike attributes is a recurring theme in Jesus’s message. In Mark 10, Jesus rebukes his disciples for trying to turn children away from him. People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the... Read more

February 2, 2022

Church attendance is down, and the decline started before the pandemic. Congregations are shrinking. There is an increasingly noticeable lack of young people in the pews. While more than 2/3 of Americans profess some kind of Christianity, this increasingly doesn’t translate into participation in Christian community. About half of U.S. Christians do not attend church services. It’s not difficult to see why many are leaving church behind. Fairly or not, we are often associated with hate, hypocrisy and overall mean-spiritedness.... Read more

January 30, 2022

It is often said that the Bible contains no clear denunciation of slavery as an inherently evil institution. While Biblical inspiration animated the abolitionist movement, it’s also (unfortunately) true that enslavers also used the Bible to justify the sinful practice of owning fellow human beings. That said, we’re not giving our Scripture enough credit when we say it doesn’t speak against slavery at all. Paul’s epistle to Philemon demonstrates Christianity’s emancipatory promise almost 2,000 years before abolition in the U.S.... Read more

January 25, 2022

Life is busy, and getting busier. We’re working longer hours, manage long commutes and increasingly have our work lives follow us home. And the frantic pace of life isn’t limited to work: everything, it seems, is demanding our attention and demanding it now. This has a negative effect on our spiritual lives, because unlike your boss or that barrage of push notifications on your phone, God (usually) doesn’t get up in our faces demanding attention. No, our mad rush to... Read more

January 20, 2022

I’ve always had a difficult time appreciating the Apostle Paul. Reading his epistles is like reading someone’s private mail… from two thousand years ago. Context gets lost, meaning obscured by cultural differences. Some of his writings have been used toward ill ends. But as I read the complete Bible last year, I began to see something familiar in Paul. I began to see him as an organizer, working tirelessly for the cause he believed in. While I’m no Pauline scholar,... Read more

January 15, 2022

Most of us know that “Gospel” means “good news,” from the Greek euangelion (εὐαγγέλιον). Specifically, it’s the Good News of Jesus Christ. But how many of us are familiar with Caesar’s gospel? Old News Caesar Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, proclaimed a gospel of his own in 9BCE in the Greek city of Priene. For Caesar, the ‘Good News’ was that he was now in charge. Submit to him and you will be saved from destruction. Resist and you’ll find... Read more

January 11, 2022

When we think of Old Testament rulers, the powerful kings David and Solomon come to mind. Nearly all ancient states were monarchies of some kind. But how many of us remember that, according to the Bible, God opposed installing a monarchy to begin with? What can the birth of Israel’s monarchy teach us about how our faith should challenge human power structures today? Time of Judges As told in Judges, before the united monarchy Israel’s tribes existed as a loose confederation.... Read more

January 7, 2022

When my anxieties become unmanageable – whether it’s because of personal concerns or the state of the world – I always find relief in the words of Jesus. His extended discourse in Matthew contains guidance on topics ranging from setting priorities to prayer to, yes, living with the anxiety of an uncertain life. Here’s what he has to say: “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” –... Read more

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