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

January 4, 2022

There are times when we look for the presence of God without finding it. Tragedy strikes; prayers go seemingly unanswered. If you’ve ever had a crisis of faith, you know what it’s like to be in the midst of suffering while feeling like God simply isn’t there. Doubt is a fact of human existence that we all experience. And we’re in good company when we doubt. Job lamented the heavy losses he suffered despite his righteousness. Psalm 74 expresses the… Read more

December 30, 2021

“Lord of all pots and pans and things… Make me a saint by getting meals And washing up the plates!” – Brother Lawrence   Do you ever find your thoughts drifting during church? Sometimes my attention is drawn away from the service and toward my to-do list for the rest of the day or week. I’m not proud of it, but I don’t think I’m alone in that. If the anxiety of everyday life can intrude upon even this time… Read more

December 26, 2021

The days after Christmas occupy a strange place on the calendar – not quite a let-down but certainly a blank space. Even if you don’t go to church often or follow the liturgical calendar, our culture is so saturated with Christmas that December 26th brings a certain nervous, empty energy. What does it mean now that it’s behind us? What does the birth of Jesus show us after the observation has passed? The four weeks of Advent emphasize hope, peace,… Read more

December 23, 2021

Most of us reading this hold our faith because we were raised in it. We may ask questions and challenge some assumptions, but ultimately those of us raised to be Christian tend to remain Christian (or Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist etc.) I was one of those who left only to come back later – but why? I had an experience of God calling me to return to faith, but why this faith? What makes Christianity unique – not superior, just different… Read more

December 19, 2021

When I was little, my mom gave me one of those WWJD bracelets – you know the ones, ‘90s Christian kitsch, little wooden cubes beaded together. WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? It was more an identity statement than a serious ethical challenge. But the idea that I could actually choose to be Christlike (or not) in my engagements with the world rocked my eight year old brain. It was a disquieting pause before trading a Pokemon card I knew deep… Read more

Browse Our Archives