October 8, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on October 8, 2012. Conversion is a dirty word in many circles today, including among Christians: “Don’t try to convert me…” “Don’t try and convert people…” “Keep your beliefs to yourself…” However, depending on the context, conversion can be a very beautiful and purifying word. I remember when God lifted me out of the dirt and mire of my prior way of life. Christ gave me a new and profound sense… Read more

October 4, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on October 4, 2012. Many of you may already know of Pastor Rick Warren being charged with promoting ‘Chrislam’ based on his relationships and work with Muslims. Pastor Warren and close associates have vehemently denied the claim. The critics maintain through their use of the term ‘Chrislam’ that Pastor Warren’s bridge building efforts with Muslims involve blending the teachings of Christianity with Islam. It goes beyond the scope of this article to analyze the difference… Read more

October 2, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on October 2, 2012. You may have seen episodes of Portlandia. The show is Portland culture on steroids. It speaks to how many Portlanders love to make and keep their city weird. Portland is weird: Racers and hipsters, head to foot tattoos, experimental art and alternative everything. Yes, Portland is weird, but Portland is also quite beautiful: organic food, green technology and the great outdoors. But what I don’t like about Portland… Read more

September 27, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on September 27, 2012. We all need NFL replacement refs to serve as scapegoats. Blame the sluggish economy, ongoing tensions in Afghanistan, and one’s own personal conflicts on the poor judgments of these refs. A recent humorous article that blames various crises and problems on the NFL replacement refs reminded me of how much we need to point the finger at others to maintain our own innocence. When I commented on this article… Read more

September 24, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on September 24, 2012. I have heard quite a bit of talk in the church over the recent years of people’s brokenness. I am encouraged by brothers and sisters sharing openly about their struggles. I seek to be open as well about my shortcomings and areas of spiritual and personal need. It’s as if we’ve come to terms with the lie we often live when we claim to have our acts… Read more

September 17, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on September 17, 2012. Much of my work revolves around the themes of diplomacy and advocacy. I sum these up with the term “ambassadorship.” In this series of posts titled “WANTED: Christian Ambassadors, not Tourists,” I am unpacking what it means to be an ambassador for Christ. If you’re just jumping in, begin by reading part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5. Tourists often have a country to which they can return…. Read more

September 11, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on September 11, 2012. My father who was born on September 11, 1927 died last spring. He lamented the fact that as of 2001 he celebrated his birthday on 9/11. It is now a day of infamy, while for him it had always been a day for family. My dad was a simple, religious man, not the fanatical kind that leads Christian extremists to burn mosques or Muslim extremists to crash… Read more

September 10, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on September 10, 2012. What did Jesus look like? What was his personality type and personal style? How many ‘likes’ did he have on his Facebook page? The Bible does not offer us a biography of Jesus. While there are biographical elements, the Bible focuses on Jesus’ character and what he accomplished on our behalf. Here is what Isaiah 53 has to say about the Suffering Servant, whom hosts of Christians… Read more

September 3, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on September 3, 2012. The “Gospel” is often understood by Christians to mean “good news”. Now if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is taken to mean good news (See Mark 1:1), what’s so good about it? While one could offer many responses to this question, I will focus in this entry on just one. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news because it is his good news. It is bound up with… Read more

August 26, 2012

This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on August 26, 2012. What is the relation of the church and individual believers to Christ, and how does this relation bear upon ministry? Many Christians speak of this relation in incarnational terms. Professor J. Todd Billings has provided an important critique of problematic uses of the phraseology ‘incarnational ministry’ titled “The Problem with ‘Incarnational Ministry'”. While he acknowledges that not all approaches to incarnational ministry are problematic (“But there are… Read more

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