Evangelism (Luke 4:16-19)

In several places on this blog, I point out that our word “evangelism” comes from the Greek word used in the New Testament for “good news.” The church did not invent the word euaggelion. Roman propaganda used the term to refer to the “good news” brought by the emperor as… Continue reading

Why Do We Christians Get it So Wrong? Part One

Consider this remarkable fact: in the Sermon on the Mount, there is not a single word about what to believe, only words about what to do and how to be. By the time the Nicene Creed is written, only three centuries later, there is not a single word in it… Continue reading

Atheists, “Christians,” and Followers of Jesus

In a church I pastored years ago, there was a sweet older lady who was simple in her faith, steadfast in her devotional life, and obsessively regimented in her daily routines. During one of our class discussions on the nature and priority of love, she said, “I just love everybody—except… Continue reading

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 “The Hand of God on the Shoulder of a Troubled World”

The third Sunday of Advent often focuses on joy. Laughter motivated by unadulterated joy can indeed be the hand of God on the shoulder of a troubled world. Such laughter is a gift from God, a gift that we need in a world of terrorism and violence, estrangement and bigotry, greed and lies. Continue reading

The Wisdom of Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer was a genius. He was a profound theologian, a talented organist, a brilliant scientist, and a deeply empathetic physician. He wrote a book which changed the whole direction of biblical studies and theology (The Quest of the Historical Jesus). He was a gifted musician who wrote the definitive… Continue reading

The Danger and Fallacy of Perfectionism

Too many people in our world live all their lives guided by assumptions that are false, demeaning, and destructive. One of the most crippling assumptions we can have is that we must be perfect in who we are and in what we do. It’s very difficult (if not impossible) to… Continue reading

Luke 14:25-33 “The Cost Analysis of Following Jesus”

Read the scripture. Kirby Hill Lawrence, a Presbyterian pastor in Georgia, imagines Jesus receiving the following letter:  Dear Rabbi,  It is rare when I am critical of someone of your stature, but I hope you will take my comments with the understanding that I am a great admirer of yours…. Continue reading

The Cross as a Mnemonic Device for Ash Wednesday

The observance of Ash Wednesday in many churches includes the placing of ashes on the foreheads of worshipers in the form of a cross. As this is done, the priest or minster says the following words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These words come… Continue reading