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Currently Browsing: Commentary
Oct
22

Worship, law, and “my personal Jesus”

The idea of a personal relationship with Jesus that lacks the experience of grace as command is just plain silly. Like sex without committed fellowship under God, it ain't the real thing.
Oct
21

Health

Health Good structures are necessary but not sufficient conditions for healthy churches in the twenty-first century.
Oct
20

O Lord, open thou our lips

O Lord, open thou our lips I grew up in the Pentecostal Church, which is another way of saying I grew up in a tradition where we go to church to sing. This value for singing and musical expression was ubiquitous. On our way to church, we would listen to praise music; in church, I would tarry at the altar call singing “Let It Rain,” “Oh The Glory of Your Presence,” “I Just Can’t Stop Praising His Name,” and, “I...
Oct
17

Sanctified wealth

"You cannot serve God and wealth." But God has an inheritance for us. And surely our institutions and their wealth are part of this, as they are placed in the service of sanctification, holiness, by God’s grace.
Oct
16

Seeking the Lord’s face and seeing his back

Seeking the Lord’s face and seeing his back On Monday, July 21, the Word of the Lord came to me. Sort of. But I only recognized him when he had already gone.
Oct
15

The next culture war?

The next culture war? What are the beliefs that are so integral to our faith that we must act upon them, even in the face of laws that allow no room for religious exemption? What are the convictions we hold in common that we can act upon together, even in opposition to the cultural consensus?
Oct
14

More Catholic than the Pope

More Catholic than the Pope “That’s no way to talk to the Pope.” This gratuitous and immature comment was my lame attempt at humor. The occasion was the reading of the notorious incident in Syrian Antioch, narrated by St. Paul in Galatians 2:11-14, Paul upbraiding Cephas.
Oct
13

Transitions: the search process

Transitions: the search process Pastors come and pastors go. I am in the middle of that at this moment, an experience that many of us have had on either side of the pulpit.
Oct
10

Christian worship is boring

The Holy Eucharist is supposed to be boring. So claims the Catholic theologian James Alison. He says, “When people tell me that they find Mass boring, I want to say to them: it’s supposed to be boring, or at least seriously underwhelming. It’s a long term education in becoming un-excited.” He’s right, I think. Let me explain. Alison’s claim about the Mass being boring or unexciting...
Oct
9

My son’s autism is making me holy (and I hate it)

Our lives center around my son’s autism. It is the compass that keeps us ever pointing away from ourselves and towards some unknown horizon.
Oct
8

Living water

Living water A few weeks ago, the city of Columbia suffered a break in the water line near my house. For the next two days, I didn’t shower.
Oct
7

Ecclesiometry

Ecclesiometry The Constantinian synthesis has run its course. One might well ask, then, in a world of apostolic mission, what might be the most helpful measure of ecclesial health and vitality?
Oct
6

Your own personal Jesus

Your own personal Jesus A relationship with Jesus that purports to be without rules, without "religion," will turn out to be not a relationship but a fantasy.
Oct
3

Formative literature 1

Formative literature 1 The Facebook thread: books that changed our lives (or some such). Mine tilt heavily toward the modern and contemporary, but God, in the form of truth, meets us through our loves and fears. He finds us where we are, having arrived himself in advance.

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