Our Story, and Song!

As we approach an historic gathering of our church from across the nation, I’ve been reminded of Fannie Crosby’s classic gospel song, “Blessed Assurance,” especially its chorus, which I would adjust slightly, as follows: This is our story, this is our song, praising our savior all the day long! I suggest that this chorus is so apt, as we recall and live into who we are, what our story is and the song we’ve always sung at our best. Ours is the story of a great God who is supremely good, creating in love a world very-good, and placing it in the care of beloved image-bearers.  And though the story got hijacked and diverted, our great God did not give …

What if Jesus Cleaned the Temple Again?

This Monday of Holy Week 2019, we read of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem on the Monday of that week (see Matt. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48).  As we continue to follow Jesus on his way to garden, cross, and tomb,  I have wondered: What would happen if Jesus, son of God, did it again with respect to the Temple? What if he overturned the platforms on which purveyors of religious amusement or liturgical diversion plied their trades?  What if he put a strict quarantine on what should be, what in fact has been dedicated as, holy precincts, at least for a time no longer allowing anyone to pass through as they’d become accustomed?  What if Jesus did …

Retaliators or Reconcilers?

We were all shocked to learn of the massacre of 49 persons in New Zealand, in two Mosques, during Friday prayers.  Thirty-nine others are in the hospital, eleven in critical condition. Then, again, such massacres have become common; so common that over time they shock us less and less.  In fact, we live in a world regularly rocked, savaged, by absolutely horrible and violent things that people do to others.  Sadly, often the violence runs rampant in the name of religion; and always because the perpetrators assume a superiority over others. Whether based on religious, political, racial, or cultural grounds, the perpetrators assume they are above others, justified in hating others, and willing to strike against and kill the others.   …

On Convincing … the World?

The ancient people of God no less than the first Christians lived their lives in a pluralistic world.  In fact, it is only recently that we have come to a place, where after generations of having it “our way” more or less, in a kind of Western, modern, Judeo-Christian  ghetto (from a more global perspective), that it strikes us as odd and challenging to live in and deal with the dynamics of a multi-cultural, pluralistic world.  Much of what strikes us as so strange and profoundly challenging was expected and normal for the historic people of God.  I’m referring to such things as the presence and relative vitality of several spiritual thought and life systems which people around us consider …

In Bethlehem’s Babe God Moves In

Five years ago, Lavone and I moved from Greenville, Illinois to Indianapolis, Indiana.  It was the smoothest and most care-free move we’ve ever had.  We are grateful beyond words, and more comfortable than we deserve in our home (which because of travel still seems quite new).  All the more so, when we acknowledge this Christmas time that more than 68 million people in today’s world are displaced from their home, among them in excess of 25 million refugees.  Make no mistake: The vast majority of the displaced would give anything to be home.  Similarly, the vast majority of refugees are the victims of injustice perpetrated against them and their loved ones.   Christmas is about Another who moved into places …