Sophisticated Fire

Jer. 7:30-34, Gal. 5:16-23 Jeremiah describes the wickedness of Judah as beginning in the sanctuary. When people turn from listening carefully to what God says to do, they necessarily begin to substitute their own ideas, their own inventions and innovations. And this inevitably results in imitating unbelief and idolatry. It seems like an extreme, unthinkable…

Facing the Future like a Christian

1 Sam. 2:1-10, Heb. 11:32-12:2, Jn. 14:1-17 Introduction Fall is a busy time of new beginnings: new school years, new seasons of life, new living situations. Add to this the regular (but significant) transitions of new marriages, welcoming new children into your home, sending children off to college, or various goodbyes, and then of course…

Foundations for Mercy & Mission #6: Beauty Will Save the World

Ps. 90:1-17, 1 Jn. 2:15-17, 5:1-5, Jn. 15:12-17 Introduction The task of Christian mercy and mission is not complete without an eschatology: Where are we going? What are we aiming for? We are after unending goodness and beauty, and we are convinced that all goodness and beauty comes from God. Against the World, For the…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #5: Sin, Slavery, and the Gospel

Gen. 4:1-16, Rom. 7:1-6, Mk. 15:16-39 Introduction As we continue to lay a biblical foundation for carrying out the mission of Jesus in this world, the world around us continues to give us reason to ask the question: How should we carry out this mission? What are we to think and believe? And what are…

Justice & Leadership in Black & White America

So we established that secular relativism is an ideology based fundamentally on injustice. If you believe there is no transcendent standard that binds all men, you have banished justice from your worldview. Or you have redefined “justice” as some kind of emotional, physical, or tribal manipulation. And this is only to perpetuate injustice. How do…

The Secular American Sweater: A Homily

Where is justice? Why can’t we get justice? These sentiments are common. The FBI declines to press charges against Hillary Clinton. Police officers shoot a man to death for selling CDs. Three thousand little babies are pulled out of their mothers’ wombs every day and thrown into the garbage. Women and children are neglected, abused,…

My Country: What’s Left of Thee?

I mean it as an honest question. What’s left? Of course, only God knows. The Creator, the Sustainer, the Lord our Governor, He knows what remains, how many sands are still up in the hourglass of our story. And if we have learned anything at all it is that nations rise and fall, civilizations are…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #3: The Politics of Sex

Ps. 19:1-14, Rev. 21:1-8, John 4:5-26 Introduction One periodic objection leveled at Christians when it comes to the topics of sex and marriage is that we are unnecessarily politicizing private preferences. The implication is that the Christian impulse to care about the way our culture speaks about and enacts our sexuality is like turning food…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #1: Abundance & Scarcity

Gen. 3:14-24, 1 Jn. 4:7-21, Lk. 9:12-17 Introduction The Bible opens in mission (Gen. 1:27-28), and the mission is predicated on abundance not scarcity (Gen. 1:29, 2:8-15). The mission of the Church rests on an even greater abundance in the inheritance and authority of Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20, Rom. 8:32). Sin is the assumption of scarcity…

The Economics of Marriage

Marriage is an economic reality. Every wedding is an economic transaction and creation. The word “economy” itself comes from the Greek word that meant “household management.” An economy literally is the establishment and norms of a household. So every wedding is the establishment of a new household, and therefore a new economy. But we are…