JESUS IS THE ELEPHANT

Jesus is the elephant–the elephant of the story, the elephant in the room, and the elephant that is unlike any other. Jesus is the elephant of the story.  The story has become a well-known parable, tracing back to ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts some 2500 years ago.  Commonly called “the parable of the blind men and the elephant,” the story goes like this: A group of blind men learn about a strange creature, called an elephant, and proceed to examine it by physically touching it.  Each touches the elephant in different places, and draws conclusions based on what he perceives from his manual examination.  One feels the trunk and says the creature is like a thick snake.  Another touches an …

The First Day of the Week

On the first day of the week we became Easter People.  Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things were made in the beginning, has initiated the new creation.  Just as in the first beginning, Jesus completed the work—living among us, proclaiming Kingdom-come, casting out demons, healing the sick, mending the broken, confronting the powers and the evil that pulls their strings, taking their best shot, and dying—crying, “It is finished!”  His cry turned out to be the most delightful and wonderful double entendre.  The powers, of course, understood the one meaning—yes, indeed, would-be Messiah and King dead as dead can be, problem solved!  But they had no idea.  Later the Apostle Paul would observe, if they had had any …

WAS JESUS ABANDONED?

When from the cross Jesus cries out: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” he felt the full consequences of human sin, which separates from all that is good, including God who is good.  To embrace human sinfulness in bodily life in loving self-sacrifice, as Jesus did, pushed him to the outermost edges of inhabitable reality.  It overshadowed his dimming and dying perceptions and awareness.  It acquainted him with the deepest of griefs—the shrouding of conscious awareness of God’s presence.  It drove him to a despairing sense of abandonment, unthinkable and unimaginable until that very moment.  In these final moments, he felt the generationally-compounding weight of humanity’s isolation from the Presence required for human life and flourishing.  It …

BUT … IT IS POLITICAL!

In recent days I have heard several people say something like: “I am not trying to be political, now, …” or “Please don’t take this as a political statement,” or “Not to be political but … !”  I think I know what each was trying to say, or not to say.  But each time I thought to myself, “But … it is political!” They were making a point about the church or the gospel or what they believed to be an appropriate response to present circumstances, and they offered this disclaimer.  They were not trying or wishing to be “political.” But how can people who follow Jesus as their Messiah, that is “King,” speak about or act upon their faith …

IF JESUS WERE AN IMMIGRANT

A lot of people are talking about immigration and immigrants these days.  Whether for or against;  whether the gospel Jesus proclaimed and embodied has anything to do with it, and if so what; whether immigrants pose a threat to us, and if they do exactly what sort of threat—inconvenience, discomfort, danger, death; whether immigrants from some groups should be treated differently than others; whether immigrants from places predominantly Muslim pose more of a threat than those from other places—these and many other questions enliven or deaden the multiple media enveloping our lives these days.  The Free Methodist Church offers a well-written, reasoned, biblically shaped and practical position on matters of immigration that I thoroughly affirm and commend to all followers …