Welcome to the Idol Factory!

Welcome to the Idol Factory!

“…this is American Idol!” The music is bumping and the lights are shining. The singers take the stage and belt out an amazing performance. The crowd is screaming and clapping. “…and now our next President!” The music is bumping and the lights are shining. The politician takes the stage and the crowd is screaming and clapping. “…your 2018 Sports Team!” The music is bumping and the lights are shining. The team takes the stage and the crowd is screaming and clapping. As I read through the Bible it continues to strike me that the people of God are easily attracted to idols. Every other page, it seems, there they go worshiping the Baals and the Asherah poles. It’s a never ending cycle. Round and round they go. For a moment they are worshiping the God who saved them from oppression and slavery only to find themselves drawn again to the Baals and Asherah poles. I think that we often look at these stories with disbelief. We think...
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It’s Not About Me

It’s Not About Me

Do you think that revolutionary moments in our thoughts happen like a lightning strike or like the turning of the Titanic? I don’t know for sure but I think the answer might be, “yes.” I remember hearing an interview with someone who was an “over night success.” This person said that they hated that phrase because their success was built on years of work. Yet, to the watching world it appeared as though they came out of “nowhere.” I recently had one of those moments about Jesus. Yes, a pastor can still have revolutionary realizations about Jesus. I think of myself as someone who thinks well and thinks with theological clarity. Yet, this past year has been a time of wandering and wondering for me. I have had many questions that I was struggling to find answers for. In particular, I was struggling with the reality that my faithfulness was, in some dark moments, less than ideal. Was I still a Christian...
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The Image of God

The Image of God

I have written elsewhere about how the opening chapters of the Bible are becoming very important to me. I have also made mention that it is out of this idea that love of enemy and love of neighbor is born. C.S. Lewis said in his magisterial The Weight of Glory that your neighbor is the most holy object that you come into contact with apart from the Eucharist. Why is this concept, “the image of God,” so central to the Christian’s understanding of humanity? What is the big deal? My tradition is often accused of having a very negative view of humanity. We are the people who coined the phrase, “total depravity,” so I suppose the accusation is warranted. One of our most famous preachers is well known for his sermon, Sinners In The Hands of an Angry God. You don’t get much more negative than that title. Nonetheless, I would argue that this caricature is not truly accurate. One of my favorite theologians,...
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Why Forgiveness?

Why Forgiveness?

I am beginning to realize that the opening chapters of Genesis are more important than I ever could have thought. They are a poem, an epic poem, that tells the story of humanity. We find our ultimate and foundational identity of “image bearer” described there. In that poem we discover the roots of our fall from that identity and the foreshadowing of our redemption. Two things have particularly stood out to me in these opening pages of the Bible. First, humanity has a vocation, men and women, to create. This is an idea that has been a part of my understanding of the Christian faith for a long time. What is new is that little word, “vocation.” I have often referred to what God sets up for us to do as a “calling.” But that’s not really the best word. It is a vocation. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have...
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Why Communion?

Why Communion?

Communion. The Lord’s Supper. The Eucharist. This meal at the center of Christian worship goes by many different names. Yet, regardless of your tradition Communion is of utmost importance. Some congregations celebrate it weekly, others monthly, and still others less frequently. It begs the question, why communion? Why is this celebration central to the worship of God’s people? Why has it been of such importance? (more…)...
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