Let’s Go to the Movies: “Driving Miss Daisy”

(This blog entry was originally a sermon preached on World Communion Sunday.) One of my favorite movies is “Driving Miss Daisy.” For those who have not seen the movie, it is the story of an aging Southern Jewish lady who is forced to give up driving. Reluctantly and over a… Continue reading

Genesis 6:1-4 — The First Things (What in the World Are These Verses Doing in the Bible?) Part 13

We come to one of the strangest passages in the entire Bible. Every commentator has struggled with what this passage meant for Israel and, even more so, for our day. Genesis 6:1-4 has no connection with any of the preceding stories or materials. If we take this story as a… Continue reading

Babette’s Feast: Let’s Go to the Movies

“Babette’s Feast” is a charming movie based on Isak Denisson’s (penname for Karen Blix) story with the name title. The film is about a French woman named Babette who became the cook for two elderly sisters on the coast of Denmark. Babette was a refugee from France during a political… Continue reading

The Crucified God: The Death of Jesus

Whatever else we may say about our Christian faith, I think most of us would agree that at the very least, Jesus reveals the nature of God. When we see Jesus, we see and understand what God is like, who God is, and how God feels toward us. That’s what… Continue reading

The Death of Jesus: The Scapegoat for Everyone (Mark 15:21-39)

(Based on the writings of Debbie Blue and Rene Girard) The concept of scapegoat goes back to Leviticus 16 in the Hebrew Scriptures. Originally it referred to the goat upon which Aaron, the priest and brother of Moses, symbolically placed the sins of the people of Israel on the Day… Continue reading

The Death of Jesus: The Way of the Cross

Luke 9:23-25—Then Jesus said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who would want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save… Continue reading

The Death of Jesus: Christus Victor

In the previous article on atonement I told you that the Eastern Orthodox Church never interpreted the death of Jesus in Penal Substitutionary terms. I also wrote that for the first thousand years of the church, the Penal Substitutionary interpretation we are so familiar with today was not the message… Continue reading

The Death of Jesus: Penal Substitutionary Atonement

Since the very beginning of Christianity, the death of Jesus has been central to the Christian faith. No interpretation of that faith can avoid the significance of that event. Jesus’ death, however, for many centuries was never looked at or thought of in isolation. What came before and after his… Continue reading

Genesis 4:1-16 “The First Things” (Where is Your Brother?) Part 11

We now come to our third story in Genesis—the story of Cain and Abel. The origins of this story probably explain the violent competition for land between herders and farmers at the beginning of civilization. Farmers need land to cultivate. Sheep herders need land to graze their sheep. Historically, even… Continue reading