A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, August 03, 2015

On Selling Fetal Organs, Cecil the Lion, and GMOs

Some Google Hangout Thoughts.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Scriptures and Prayer for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: 2 Samuel 11:26 - 12:15

Epistle: Ephesians 4:1-16

Gospel: John 6:24-35
God of the lowly and the mighty, you know the ugliness of your people when we harm and destroy one another, yet you offer us forgiveness of our sins if we but turn to you. Expand our hearts to receive the mercy you give us, that, in turn, we may share your grace and mercy with others each moment of our lives. Amen.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Me, Myself, and I: Scripture and the Replacement Trinity

In his book, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading, Eugene Peterson discusses the significance of the doctrine of the Trinity in reading Scripture. He writes,
That is why an awareness of what the church has formulated as the Holy Trinity is so important as we come to this book, the Bible. We read in order to get in on the revelation of God, who is so emphatically personal; we read the Bible the way it comes to us, not in the way we come to it; we submit ourselves to the various and complementary operations of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; we receive these words so that we can be formed now and for eternity to the glory of God (pp. 30-31).
The problem, however, is that Trinitarian doctrine rarely informs our hermeneutic.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Christian Mistake of Trying to Turn the World into the Kingdom

"...[W]e believe that it is time for the church to recognize that it is in a missionary situation in the very culture it helped to create. Of course,... the church ought to be in a missionary situation at any time and in any culture. However, it happens that we have lived during a time when Christians thought that they had made themselves a home from which they could become missionaries to others. Because we Western, Northern-European Christians had succeeded in fashioning a 'Christian' culture, we could now speak to everyone else's culture. That was a tragic mistake."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

(Not So) Breaking News: Sound Doctrine Mattered to John Wesley

I have been a United Methodist pastor for over thirty years and an adjunct professor teaching theology for more than twenty. I find both enterprises in which I am engaged to be complimentary. Indeed, I would not know how to be a pastor if it were not for the theological reflections I have engaged in over the years with the voices of many contemporary friends and thinkers as well as listening to the great theological wisdom that has come down to us through the ages. Pastoral ministry must be theologically oriented. My work as a pastor is formed and shaped on the potter's wheel of theological reflection.

At the same time, my work as a pastor reminds me that theology is first and foremost about practical divinity-- doctrine forms and shapes the life of the church and the individual believer. Christian doctrine and Christian living must go together and both are distorted when they are separated.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sharing One's Faith Requires Discernment

There was a barber that thought that he should share his faith with his customers more than he had been doing lately. So the next morning when the sun came up and the barber got up out of bed he said, "Today I am going to witness to the first man that walks through my door."

Soon after he opened his shop the first man came in and said, "I want a shave!" The barber said, "Sure, just sit in the seat and I'll be with you in a moment." The barber went in the back and prayed a quick desperate prayer saying, "God, the first customer came in and I'm going to witness to him. So give me the wisdom to know just the right thing to say to him. Amen."

Then quickly the barber came out with his razor knife in one hand and a Bible in the other while saying "Good morning sir. I have a question for you... Are you ready to die?"

Being a Prophet Can Be Dangerous: A Lectionary Reflection on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:15

2 Samuel 11:26-12:15

Being a prophet is tough. Prophets are called to speak the truth and sometimes the truth is not popular. It is not only difficult to speak the prophetic word, it can be dangerous.

David is the king of Israel. He is a powerful man. Powerful leaders tend to find themselves surrounded by advisers who say the kinds of things they think the king wants to hear-- "Your Highness, things are going splendidly. Your subjects adore you." "Your Majesty, while it may be going outside the law, the safety of the people is a top priority." And when kings find themselves surrounded only by loyal toadies, they can become insulated and think they live by a different standard than everyone else. They can come to believe that they are above the law and their actions, though wrong for others, are in the best interest of the common good.