The Great Israelite Freakout

In Joshua 22, a rather tense scene unfolds when the children of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Mannasah return to their lands on the other side of the Jordan following the completion of the conquest of Canaan. The two and half tribes return to their land and build an altar on the border…

The Bond of Perfectness

1 Cor. 13 & Col. 3:14-20 In the reading from Colossians Paul says, “Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14). Paul has just finished telling the Colossians to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and forgiveness. In some ways it might seem kind of redundant to…

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 #2: Time & Resources

Dt. 5:12-15, Gal. 2:16-20, Mt. 6:19-34 Introduction The mission of Jesus is to baptize the nations and teach them everything He commanded. This is how you distinguish between God providing in what seems like scarcity and folly. If God commands it, then He promises to provide for it. Justification is God’s gracious gift of setting…

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…

Sex and Power

“Then God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in…

The Experience of Trauma & the Healing of Jesus

In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, child psychiatrist Bruce Perry recounts lessons he’s learned over the years from working with children who have experienced severe trauma in their lives. In the first chapter, he describes an early experience with a young girl who had been sexually abused over a long period of…

Get Low: An Easter Meditation

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:7, 10-11). Here, Paul tells…

On Letting the Bible Kick You in the Teeth

Below, if I did my cutting and pasting correctly, you should find some snatches of an interview I did recently on my new book Blood-Bought World.

A Plea & A Sketch of an Argument on Icons

There are many reasons people find themselves attracted to Eastern Orthodoxy, but one of them is the presence and veneration of icons. Entering a sanctuary full of religious art can seem visually stunning and feel refreshingly spiritual compared to kitschy banners or television screens or hospital-blank walls. For the westerner, icons suggest a certain “eastern”…