Our Jesus Holds the Keys: Good Friday 2014

Note: The audio recording for this message is available here. One of the most unusual elements of the Christian gospel is the fact that we celebrate the death of our leader. For most movements, for most religions, for most kingdoms or empires, the death of the leader is a moment of instability, chaos, disillusionment. But…

In Defense of the Protestant Reformation or How the New Eve Got More Lovely

Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time knows that I can wax polemical from time to time. Given my story and the little tree stump I’ve been given, some of my more polemical writing has centered on the goodness of Protestantism, the necessity of the Reformation, and various angles on why I…

Furry and Making Noises

God and Country? When I see your run-of-the-mill Christian history textbooks with this “God and Country” jargon, something deep inside me goes blech. Kind of like when you discover something growing in an old Tupperware dish in the back of the fridge. It reeks and it’s all furry and making noises, and you’re a little…

Still Twitching

Christians will always be for a “third way.” Individual Christians may be members of particular political parties, organizations, cultures, denominations, associations, whatever, but they do so always tentatively, with relative loyalty to the party. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are colonists of another Empire. We are here to establish that Kingdom and its norms,…

Ascension Sunday: 1 Cor. 15:12-28

In the days of the prophet Elisha, the King of Syria was at war with the northern tribes of Israel. But Elisha frequently knew ahead of time the movements of the armies of Syria, and he would warn the king of Israel. This happened a number of times before the king of Syria became convinced…

The Wood Remembers

My daughter recently began violin lessons, and her mother and I are very excited about this. She has actually wanted to play for a while, much to my delight, and she has a fantastic teacher whose enthusiasm, skill, and creativity mesh together to make my daughter even more into it than before (if that is…

Even A Little Thing Like Death

A few weeks ago, my alter ego tweeted that “having room in theology for the just taking of life (capital punishment, war) is a refusal to make our physical/material state absolute,” and there were a few questions about that so I’ll elaborate here. First, full disclosure, these thoughts came off a slightly feverish (literally) day…

Cain & Abel & the Weight of Glory

Cain and Abel are the history of the human race in microcosm. We have true worship and false worship, faithfulness and unfaithfulness, love and hatred all bound up in one story, one episode. From this point, down through all of history, this is all we have: Cains or Abels and nothing but the two. You…

Two Measuring Tapes for the 4th of July

OK, since it’s the 4th of July, and everyone is hovering over their phones and computer screens hunting for something else to read, I’ll toss out one more thought and send you back out to your patriotic shenanigans. I’m fully convinced that lots of the “regeneration,” “rebirth” language in the Bible is way cosmic, political,…

Chestertonian America?

I just starting listening to Ross Douthat’s new book Bad Religion. He makes the fascinating suggestion towards the beginning that while most other western nations had official, established religions, America was founded on a certain openness to falsehood intentionally. But disestablishment was/is not necessarily in itself a capitulation to sects or secularism, though it certainly…