The Fear of the Lord

Psychologists have long known that we cannot truly love what we fear. As I John says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Love involves trust. Fear is based on mistrust, suspicion, and foreboding. Love and trust are integral parts of a healthy, growing, and honest relationship. Fear and mistrust are indicative of an unhealthy, unreliable, and toxic relationship. Fear and mistrust are characteristics found in all sick religion. Continue reading

The Decline of Religion in the United States

Today, May 23, 2023, I saw two articles on the Internet concerning the decline of religion (especially Christianity) in the US. The first article reports the results of the General Social Survey, the University of Chicago’s research group NORC, the Pew Research Center, Public Religion Research Institute, and a 2022… Continue reading

The Problem With Fundamentalism

Humility, uncertainty, and doubt are not found in fundamentalism. Faith is equated with unexamined belief in certain “fundamentals” which must never be questioned. Such an understanding of faith overlooks the two primary meanings of faith in the Bible: trust and fidelity to God and the way of the God we trust. Continue reading

A Clash of Worlds: Luke 10:25-37

(This sermon was preached 39 years ago. I was a college professor teaching religion in a Baptist college. Fundamentalists had chosen me as their target in that college with the intention of having me fired. Susan and I decided that we were no longer Baptists. The straw that broke the… Continue reading

Dogs and Swine, Part One

With Jesus’ reference to dogs and swine, I think we can assume that he realized there are those who are not ready or perhaps even able to change. He knew it was useless to share his good news with those who were incapable of understanding and embracing his radical alternative. On one occasion he told his disciples that if they encountered opposition and rejection as they went out into the hamlets and villages to spread the gospel, they should simply shake the dust off their sandals and move on to the next village. Continue reading

What Keeps Us from Wonder?

(15 minutes) Wonder is the reason we seek to know any reality whatsoever. (Nicholas of Cusa) Nicholas of Cusa (1400-1464 CE) was a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church who served in Greece. Because of the prominence of the Greek Eastern Orthodox Church in that part of the world, Nicholas… Continue reading

Who’s That Knocking at the Door? 1 John 4:16-19

The popular psychologist Jesse Lair wrote a book years ago entitled I Ain’t Well, But I Sure Am Better.  In many ways, these words could be the testimony of my life.  I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way, too. Just ask my wife. To… Continue reading

Resurrection and Near Death Experiences

When I was a pastor I was often asked what I thought about “near-death experiences” (NDEs). We have all heard of these, and some of you may have even had such an experience. The media has certainly capitalized on this phenomenon, and many trees have been sacrificed to print books… Continue reading

Romans 4:16-25 “Hope Has Two Sisters”

There can be little doubt that we live in an age of fear, despair, and cynicism. Beneath the bravado of the “Make America Great” movement led by an unscrupulous demagogue, the convenient denial of the suffering and evil in much of the world, and the fleeting happiness of contemporary Epicureans… Continue reading