Diabolos

Christians today fall into three camps when it comes to the question of the Devil’s existence. Conservative Christians assume the objective reality of the Devil. Liberals often deny that reality. However, most Christians simply choose to ignore the issue. My approach is to set aside what theologians call the “ontological… Continue reading

I John 3:17-18 — A Burned Hand, a Broken Heart

When our daughter was a toddler, she burned her hand on one of the burners of our kitchen stove.  She screamed in agony.  Quickly we put some ice in a plastic bag and placed it in her tiny hand to relieve the pain.  Whenever we had to replace the ice,… Continue reading

What Version Is Your God? (Based in large part on the writings of Brian McLaren) Matthew 5: 43-48

Occasionally I am asked by people from various walks of life, “Do you believe in God?” This question is often asked by those who have been seriously wounded by sick versions of religion which require belief in a wrathful, rigid, unforgiving, demanding, all-determining God. My answer is always the same:… 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

Matthew 9:35-10:8 — Driven by Compassion

The famous pulpiteer George Buttrick in commenting on this passage asked the following rhetorical question: “How does a crowd affect us?” A crowd might evoke fear, excitement, disgust, weariness, or indifference. But I would suggest that rarely does a crowd evoke compassion. Yet in our passage Jesus looked out over… Continue reading

Abundant Life Beats the Rat Race

Art Gish, in his wonderful little book entitled Beyond the Rat Race, begins with this amusing illustration: A salesman once visited a hermit who was living leisurely in the mountains. Quickly realizing he would make no sales there, the salesman tried to point out the hermit’s folly. “Just think.” he… Continue reading

The Sinister Sin of Indifference

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. (Elie Wiesel) In 1969, I was a tourist in West Germany. (This visit,… Continue reading