Just Do It

Just Do It

One day my pastor invited me to join him on a pastoral visit to a nursing home. I wanted to please him, so I said I would go. I had no desire to be there. I didn’t know this woman we were going to see, but I knew once we got that out of the way we would go to lunch and we could discuss theology. I have never liked nursing homes. In high school and college it seemed like I was always connected with some group of people who wanted to go Christmas caroling at “the old folks home.” I loathed that time. The place was depressing. The old people sat there in their wheelchairs staring out into nothingness or nodding along silently clapping their hands. The places also smelled. They smelled “too clean.” They were always so institutional and if you had been in one, you’d been in them all. This day with my pastor we walked into the room....
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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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“In Accordance With The Scriptures…”

“In Accordance With The Scriptures…”

I believe that the Scriptures are something more than a nice book or a collection of myths. I have come to the conclusion that “the Scriptures” are authoritative for my life. All of us have given authority to something or someone to shape who we are (even if it’s ourselves). For me it is the Scriptures. Writing that feels odd. I don’t really know why, but it does. I think it’s because over the last few years I have really wrestled with the Bible and the way that many in my tribe worship it as a god or god. I have struggled with things that I have read in it and worked through questions in the Greek and Hebrew. There are still questions that I have, but I have come to the conclusion that at the very least, the Scriptures are the best way for me to learn and know about Jesus. Yet, this question has haunted me, “What does it mean...
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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 Carry a Cross?

Why Carry a Cross?

A missionary who has given his life to serving God and people is diagnosed with cancer. A loving father who is at the beginning of his journey of walking with Jesus develops what turns out to be an incurable infection. The child of a pastor who is highly regarded because of her faithful service to the community and Jesus dies of cancer before his life even begins. A woman with a gentle and quiet faith who prays and serves wakes up one day alone because her husband left her for another. These brief snapshots are real life stories of people who I love and care for. They are all people who are authentically trying to follow Jesus. These are not people who are false or who simply sit in the back of worship service to be entertained. These are people who you want to be around and whose faith would cause you to stop and wonder about their God. These are...
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