Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet […]
Farewell to President Ford. I am a big fan of Clarence Jordan — not just for his stuff on the Sermon on the Mount, but also for his clever translations. Thanks to iMonk. Here’s a blog series — I’m linking […]
There are two uses of memory according to the 5th chp of Miroslav Volf’s The End of Memory. There is literal memory and exemplary memory. What we do with our memories is what matters most — do we “do” literal […]
Where do we get our morals? Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, chps. 6-7, dedicates much ink to spilling out his theory of morals. He is bound to do two things: demonstrate that morals are an evolutionary deposit in humans (through […]
“It was good for me that I was humbled, so that I might learn Your laws” (119:71). Abraham learned this in Egypt; Moses learned this in the wilderness; neither Saul nor Solomon evidently did; David sure did. Josiah learned it […]
In chps 3 and 4 of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Love Alone is Credible, Balthasar speaks of an aesthetic that speaks to us from outside ourselves. Such an aesthetic perception of beauty cannot be reduced to my imagination. Love, Balthasar, […]
Lukas and Annika arrived today — along with Meriam (the black “golden”doodle) and Slater (Cairn). Here they staged a family reunion. This evening we will have yet another Christmas celebration, this time with Laura, Mark, Lukas and Annika. Our kids […]
The psalmist knows God is good and that everything that comes from him is good. Notice these:
Accepting his John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award “To know John Kennedy, as I did, was to understand the true meaning of the word. He understood that courage is not something to be gauged in a poll or located […]
William Webb, in his Slaves, Women and Homosexuals, examines a singular question: how to analyze which parts of the Bible are “cultural” and which parts are “transcultural.”
I heard about this two years ago: America’s finest NT scholar, Dale Allison, was packing up his books for a little while to write a book on none other than George Harrison. It’s out! The Love There That’s Sleeping: The […]
The psalmist prays for “good moral taste/judgment” (Hebrew taam) in 119:66 — along with good knowledge. We might ponder what we have a good taste for:
And what does it mean to be “credible”? And how does one determine if it is “credible”? These questions have been asked time and again by good thinkers, but surely one of the most interesting is Hans Urs von Balthasar, […]
We’ve been saying for a long, long time that “emerging” is more than philosophy and theology and progressive thinking. In fact, it is about “how to do church.” Our local paper, The Daily Herald, has a front-page story about homes […]
The psalmist acknowledges that the Lord has “done good” or “treated him well” — though I think the psalmist is much less interested in “how” (well) God has treated him and more with “what” (good) God has done to him. […]
The Birth of Jesus (Click here for a reading.) 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor […]
Ever ponder much what happened to old Scrooge in A Christmas Carol? Here’s the opening description of Scrooge:
CHRISTMAS EVE On the eve of our Christmas celebration, Jesus’ birthday, we light all of the candles of the Advent wreath. First we light the candle for HOPE because Jesus is our hope.
Fourth Sunday of Advent Today we relight the first three candles of the Advent Wreath — the candles of HOPE, PEACE and JOY. Now we light the fourth candle of Advent. This is the candle of LOVE.
Every year at Christmastime Laura invites Kris and me to her 1st grade classroom for her international holiday luncheon with her students and parents. Since Laura’s class has 15 ethnic groups represented, each is asked to bring a dish representing […]
For Ben, for his health, for his wife, and for peace. Lord, hear our prayer. For Michael Scolare, for another return to health — and for Kris and the kids and the church. Lord, hear our prayer. For Becky, for […]
Is that cookie really worth a 17-minute run? Associated Press Posted Friday, December 22, 2006
You may need a handkerchief to get through this one. Thanks Bob. Luke’s got a nice series on emerging going.
Friends, we might need to remind ourselves, talk about the inner life, and nothing is more “inner” than a wounded self — a person who has been damaged to the core by wrongdoing. Miroslav Volf’s The End of Memory (chp. […]
Marko has posted on The Real Mary with a very clever twist. The standard theory, which I espouse, is that Mary immediately realized that being pregnant before consummation with Joseph was a No-No that could jeopardize her life, her son’s […]
I love these words: “The earth is filled with your love, LORD; teach me your decrees” (119:64).
Chp 5 of Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, contends that religion can be explained on the basis of natural selection. “What ultimately explains the lust for gods?” he asks (p. 169). Or, put in more Darwinian terms, “What is the […]
Last evening CNN treated us to a 2-hour program on the development of Christianity from the time of Jesus to the Nicene Council (323 AD). There is plenty to like and probably plenty to disagree with. My questions today are:
A theme verse for the Evangelical Covenant Church, the sponsor of North Park University and the seminary, is Psalm 119:63:
Kris and I are planning another trip to Italy early summer — land in Milan, then to Venice and then down to Florence. We want to spend the first day and night near Lago di Garda. Anyone have suggestions on […]
Catholics have been happy with me for three years — for two reasons: I have embraced Mary in a Protestant sort of way but even more because I wrote an article a few years back that detailed why it is […]
If you have a chance, I recommend each of you carve out tonight, from 7-9pm, to watch CNN. The show is called After Jesus: The First Christians, and it is an excellent and stimulating presentation of the first four centuries […]
Erik Weisz was the great Houdini — no matter how they tied him up, he could escape. He had, of course, all kinds of secrets to his clever ways, but always he managed to get out of the bonds. The […]
Dear Holly, Now that you are in Philly for Christmas, I have a recommendation to make — and it’s about my only recommendation for Philly: if you get to Chestnut Hill, go to Chestnut Hill Coffee Co and have a […]
It is not uncommon for me to get a letter from a leader or a pastor, and some of them are anonymous and some give me bogus names and some tell me their name honestly, in which the pastor explains […]
Willow Creek is hosting a Student Ministries Leadership Conference Feb 28-March 2, 2007. It is called SHIFT. Read about it here. I’ve been asked to lead a break-out session. Stay tuned for more details.
The expression “post-haste” was something I once heard from a teacher and it followed a request to go to some office to get something. “And do it post-haste.” I thought about the meaning of that expression then about as often […]
Perhaps the foundation of the entire debate about women in ministry is in what is today called the “redemptive trend.” Very few would say the Bible teaches absolute equality of women and men in ministry, but instead most would say […]
Webster got groomed and we try to preserve such moments for his clean appearance only lasts a short while.
If you have a chance, I recommend each of you carve out the evening of Dec 20, from 7-9pm, to watch CNN. The show is called After Jesus: The First Christians, and it is an excellent and stimulating presentation of […]
Many of us are now involved in Christmas parties and even planning our Christmas table. Kris regularly reminds me — not always to my liking and not always with her intended goal! — of this: “portion size.” Restaurants, she tells […]
A Magnificat kind of Christmas knows that Mary experienced profound release the moment she realized her son would be Messiah. Her release found its way into a marvelous song that extolled the faithfulness of God to his promise.
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, […]
Third Sunday of Advent Today we relight the first two candles of the Advent wreath. The candle of HOPE and the candle of PEACE.
Kris and I went with Joel and Karla Willitts to Tre Kronor last Friday evening for the 5:30pm sitting of Julbord — a delicate, abundant, and cultural Swedish Christmas meal. Four courses — kinds of pickled herring, cold fishes (salmon […]
No speaking events until after the New Year when I give lectures at Pepperdine University. But, I’ve got plenty of radio interviews coming up on Mary. Those evening ones tire me and I’m pooped — don’t folks know I have […]
Once again, we return (as friends) to M. Volf’s book, The End of Memory. His concern is how to remember wrongdoing and wrongdoers truthfully. His topic haunts those who have suffered, and those of us committed to loving our neighbors […]
Here’s the big question: Is the word “evangelical” losing its theological anchor? If you ask the theologians, an evangelical is someone committed to such things as personal conversion, the authority of the Bible, the cross, and evangelistic-missionary efforts. If you […]
I’ve suddenly been found on the radar for writing blurbs for books. I have gone from total obscurity to occasional presence, and I think it is because of this blog — now considered by some to be “media.” My favorite […]
The psalmist’s journey is clear: he has been faithful to God; those around him who should know better have not been faithful; they have opposed him; the psalmist has complained bitterly to God about his situation; he has called on […]
I’ve heard it, I’ve read it, and I’ve seen it happen: it is a characteristic of many in the emerging movement. But it’s got to be understood for what it is: I call it “inclusion reaction.” This inelegant expression tells […]
I’m finally getting round to posting about our time Monday evening with Up/rooted, an emergent cohort and monthly gathering of emerging Christians in the Chicagoland area. Others have posted their summaries (Helen, John, Mike [coming]) of the conversation, but I […]
I suspect that most of us became aware of Opus Dei (Latin for “work of God”) through the DaVinci Code book or movie. In both it was caricatured in order to ridicule and other. This is why a book like […]
The psalmist tells us that he remember’s God’s name at night. Night prayer … a common idea in the Bible is set prayers at set times.
In chps 3 and 4 of Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, the author evaluates arguments for God’s existence and then offers arguments why “there almost certainly is no God.” RJS and I are summarizing and offering brief evaluation. Here goes:
Was my hair an earlier indicator of my theology? Steve McCoy suggests so! HT: Steve.
I am struck by Psalm 119:53: “I am seized with rage because of the wicked who forsake Your teaching.” Why?
Last night as I sat at a table to sign a copy of The Real Mary for someone who asked, a very kind young woman from England, Helen, observed that she liked my fountain pen. Which of course made me […]
Dear Matt, I too was watching the news show when Elie Wiesel, speaking of the Iranian leader, said he should be “excommunicated from humanity.” Wiesel’s words, regardless of how much I’ve learned from him and admire him, struck me as […]
I’ve gotten enough reminders from folks that I thought I’d post what we are doing on the radio this week.
If memory has the capacity to heal us if we remember truthfully and remember in light of what God is doing in this world, then reminding God of our condition is a way both to discover who we are and […]
Sarah Sumner’s Men and Women in the Church, chps 17-20, discuss the most controversial — according to all — and significant — according to some — text in the entire NT when it comes to the “role” of women in […]
The Jesus Creed not only reshaped my perception of spiritual formation, it also reshaped our life. I spent very little time traveling and speaking prior to Jesus Creed, but we can’t express the joy it has been for us to […]
Psalm 119:49 is the kind of hope we find in all those who long for redemption, who long for God to make God’s glory present, and who yearn for justice. In fact, people like Mary and Simeon and Anna — […]
A Magnificat kind of Christmas, which understands Christmas as about God’s acts to redeem through the incarnation, is also about the poor. Here are the words of the Magnificat, and I’d like you to observe words connected to poverty and […]
Second Sunday of Advent Today we relight the candle of HOPE.
Saturday morning’s psalm in The Divine Hours is my prayer for the week:
For Becky, who has had more than her share of physical problems — we pray for doctors, for her, for her family, and for her thyroid. Lord, hear our prayers. For Kurt’s wife, for Kurt, for their family and friends. […]
This picture, from the days of my master’s degree, proves that I had a full head of hair. (Laura at 19 months.)
Americans agree: It’s ‘Merry Christmas’ Reuters Posted Friday, December 08, 2006 Americans are ready to put “Merry Christmas” back into holiday shopping, a new poll shows. The majority of Americans surveyed — 95 percent — said they were not offended […]
Tony Swift’s reflection (straight from the heart) about leadership. New blog: John LaGrou at Microclesia.
If you have either visited the Holocaust Museum or read any of the many works of Elie Wiesel — like Night – you will know one word pushes itself to the front of his vision: Remember! Remember the Holocaust is […]
Perhaps America’s most prized possession is freedom. We call it “liberalism.” Stanley Hauerwas contends that “liberalism is a political philosophy committed to … a social order and … government … formed on self-interest and consent.” Notice those two terms: self-interest […]
Psalm 119:45 and 47 are delightful lines: “I will walk about at ease” and “I will delight in Your commandments.” That first line is evocative.
Here is Richard Dawkins’ essential thesis: “any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything [the God hypothesis], comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution” (The God Delusion, 31). And the God […]
M and W night I was at Reclaiming the Mind for a lecture and discussion about The Real Mary. I suspect I’ll be talking about Mary for years because of this research I’ve done, but I’m beginning to hear some […]
Psalm 119:44-48 is an interplay between “going public” about commitment to Torah and the joy that comes from that Torah. The going public can be found in vv. 44, 46, 48, and the joy in vv. 45 and 47. Today […]
Growing out of the Reformation is the contention that there are “two marks” of the Church: the Lord’s supper and preaching of the Word: Word and Sacrament. Some added “church discipline” as a third mark. The Catholic tradition has been […]
Dear Matt, You’ve asked me what is one of the most commonly asked questions about the emerging movement, but the way you ask about it is both funny and typical. You said: “I tell everyone I’m an ‘emerging’ Christian but […]
When we combine the Reformation (e.g, esp Lutheran) antithesis of law and gospel with pietism’s and Liberalism’s and the Western democracy’s sense of individual freedom, it is not hard to predict that many will find “rules” difficult expressions for genuine […]
Terry Tiessen’s 6th chp asks this question: To whom does God reveal himself? Let us remind ourselves of the basic options — some say God reveals himself only to those who hear the gospel as preached through the Church (ecclesiocentrics); […]
Publishers are kind. Each year we get a Christmas present or two from publishers I’ve worked with. I have pens, luggage tags, coffee mug protectors, cups, and (of course) books. It seems to me that publishers are creative with their […]
Psalm 119:43 is odd: “Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.” My rabbi commentary, by Samson Hirsch, says this: “Do not make it appear as if my mouth had […]
If you go to Reclaiming the Mind, you can see how to join us tonight in a 2-hour conversation about Mary. (Sorry, no Apple computers — to which I say “argh!”) The room is now open for some audio, though […]
Eye on Chicago, with Antonio Mora, interviewed me about the movie and The Real Mary, and this is a link to the website. If you click on the image (to the right) of The Nativity Story picture, you get the […]
In chps 12-13 of Sarah Sumner’s book Men and Women in Ministry Sumner begins a four-chapter study of “head” in the Bible and esp in Paul’s letters. We will not be done with “headship” issues today, but we need to […]
Kris and I read this liturgy, and then lit the first advent candle in our home — with a little creche behind it.
God’s manifold mercy, God’s lovingkindness that embraces us in our manifold needs, is the hope of the psalmist in the next section (waw-section; 119:41-48). His prayer: “May your steadfast love reach me.”
I was asked to write a review of The Nativity Story for Relevant Magazine.
1st Sunday of Advent: Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ […]
The first Christmas was a Magnificat kind of Christmas. It wasn’t a Dickens kind of Christmas, and it wasn’t a Midwestern kind of Christmas, and it wasn’t a Tennessee kind of Christmas. It was a Mary kind of Magnificat kind […]
When I spoke at John Brown University, I had dinner with a student whose father was seriously injured in a car accident the next day. Here’s a link. Lord, hear our prayers.
John Kasich of “The Heartland” for national FoxNews has contacted our people to invite us to the Chicago studio tonight for an interview about The Real Mary and The Nativity Story. So, if you have time tonight between 8-9pm Central […]
Next Sunday we’ll be at Emmaus Community and then on Monday at the emerging group Up/rooted. For details, see here.
There are four theologians, who happen to be my age (or close), whom I have decided to read whatever they write — if I can find time. LeRon Shults, Kevin Vanhoozer, John Franke, and Miroslav Volf. Volf’s newest book, which […]
The Church has developed its own mechanisms of calling people “names,” of “labelling” others. The most powerful “labels” in the Church are “fundamentalist” and “liberal.” Calling someone one of those labels is rarely a simple description — it is an […]
“How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life” (Ps 119:40). To long for (taev) is how the psalmist caps this section of the psalm. He yearns for God’s precepts.