I’m auditing a course this semester on spiritual practice, and one of the assignments was to visit a cemetery for thirty minutes. While there we were to spend some time imagining and reflecting on our own corpse.Continue reading “Brief Remembrance of the Sick and Dying”
Depending on what Bible you read and which tradition you come from, you might or might not come across the word “propitiation.” And how often you come across it may vary. Some traditions use the word sometimes, and some traditions make the word central to their faith.
As a youth pastor, I have been thinking through how to explain the crucifixion of Christ to children in a way that is meaningful. I don’t want to just feed them platitudes, but present them with the underlying ideas in a coherent way. Usually I do this by trying to figure out a way to explain an idea without using any “Christianese” or technical terms that you have to be in the know to understand. If I can explain something in simple language, then I understand it well enough to teach it (usually).Continue reading “Reflections on Propitiation”
Christians believe in one God who is Trinity. One God in three Persons. Oneness in Threeness. Unity in Difference. Of course, this may all seem to be quite strange, contradictory, or just plain nonsensical. How can something be one thing and three things at the same time? Normally we would say that it is only possible if the three are considered parts of the one, or of a different category. But Christians want to say that the three “aspects” of God are not parts. Each is fully God yet cannot exist alone without the others. In this Christian mathematics it seems possible that 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.Continue reading “The Trinity: Three Gods or One God?”
It was quite a few years ago now. A friend was describing to me an interview she had been listening to. It was about Pablo Picasso. As it turns out, he wasn’t a very good person by even a modest standard. His granddaughter wrote this about him: “He drove everyone who got near him to despair and engulfed them. No one in my family ever managed to escape from the stranglehold of this genius.”
And yet, he was a very talented artist. This raises the question – should an artist’s personal integrity have any bearing on his or her art and how we evaluate it?Continue reading “Your Life Is a Work of Art”
Every year on December 25th Christians around the world celebrate the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. But what is the significance of it? What does it mean when Christian say that God incarnated as a human being?
In normal, day-to-day English, you would probably almost never come across the word “incarnation.” If you did it would be more or less synonymous with the words “embodiment” or “version,” as in “My cousin Julie is so sweet she’s basically the incarnation of kindness,” or “This is the third incarnation of the novel I’m working on.”Continue reading “The Significance of the Incarnation”
This time I decided to experiment with making a video. There’s a lot, lot more I’d like to say, as well as some concepts (like the Ancient Near Eastern concepts of justice and law) that I’d like to delve into more deeply, but I wanted to keep it short and to the point. Please let me know what you think of the video! (And here’s a shout out to my friend Andrew for recording and editing this for me!)
First, go ahead and take a few minutes to read through Psalm 109. I think you will get a lot more out of this if you have it fresh in your mind.
Psalm 109 is perhaps one of the most disturbing and violent psalms in the whole Psalter. At first glance, verses 6-19 appear to an extended request from David to see the absolute denigration, pain, and destruction of his enemy along with their family members. For those of us who value Jesus’s command to “bless those who curse you,” this is a difficult psalm to accept, and not to mention a difficult psalm to pray!Continue reading “A Quick Look at Psalm 109”
“Life” is a strange word if you start to pick it apart.
On the one hand you use it to talk about a quality that belongs to things that are neither dead nor inorganic. This is the biological sense of the word. Things that have the incredible internal ability to grow, metabolize, reproduce themselves, and adapt to their environment have life and are alive.
Is it ever okay for a Christian to have doubt? Can you question and struggle with your faith and still be a good Christian?
I think there are two common ways of approaching this question that are unhelpful.Continue reading “Faith is Trusting Jesus and His Work”
Thomas, Doubting Thomas. Forever remembered in the Gospel of John as the disciple who refused to believe that his teacher Jesus had risen from the dead.
Why? Simple: the dead do not come back to life. Everyone dies and they are gone forever. Things break and they don’t come back together again.Continue reading “Do Not Doubt But Believe”