James 2:1-17 “Clubhouse Rules and Counterfeit Faith”

Faith is all about the basic trust of our lives and what we depend on for our identity and security. James says faith that is only objective belief or sentimental emotion is thoroughly counterfeit. If faith were just a matter of proper belief, then the demons who know God is One (the cardinal doctrine of Judaism and Christianity) would be on the front rows in heaven. And if faith were a matter of sentimental emotion, those with an overactive hypothalamus would be singing in the celestial choirs of the angels with big crocodile tears streaming down their faces. Genuine, 24K faith is a trust that takes concrete form in the way we live our lives. Only such faith is saving. Continue reading

John 20:1-10 “When Loving is Believing”

Read the Scripture One of the great mysteries in the New Testament is the identity of the beloved disciple in John’s Gospel. His first appearance in the Gospel occurs in chapter 13 at the Last Supper. In Jesus’ day, Jews reclined while eating their special meals. During the Last Supper,… Continue reading

Cracks and Questions

Questions and cracks are two ways God can use to deepen our faith, encourage our growth, and give us great joy. Those who dread such a route very often have a religion based on fear. If they question or doubt, they are afraid they will go to hell or face some terrible punishment. But once our minds have expanded by asking a question or harboring a doubt, they can never return to their original size. Continue reading

A Creed to Live By

I come from a tradition which has been suspicious of creeds. Baptists associate creeds with the Roman Catholic Church (and therefore reject the historic creeds), and one of the early slogans of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was “no creed but Christ.” I find it ironic that conservative Christians… Continue reading

When Religion Gets Sick

Years ago psychology of religion professor Wayne Oates wrote a book entitled When Religion Gets Sick. Oates pointed out that religion can be good or bad, healthy or sick, liberating or oppressive, intelligent or insane. This past week we have seen several examples of bad, sick, oppressive, and insane religion…. Continue reading

Mark 10:28-31 “Demonstration Plots of the Kingdom of God”

During the Great Depression and World War II, the U. S. government had a program designed to teach farmers and households more efficient and productive ways of farming and gardening. Most of the population back then was rural, and the survival of many families depended on their ability to produce… Continue reading