My Brain on the Debate

My reactions to the second presidential debate: Well, more accurately, my reactions to following Twitter during the debate, which according to Twitter was the most tweeted debate ever, at more than 17 million debate-related tweets sent. I follow around 500 accounts on Twitter, heavily weighted on the conservative end of the spectrum, with a number of…

All Hail Aphrodite!

In Peter Berger’s fascinating book In Praise of Doubt, he references the German social philosopher Arnold Gehlen’s description of human society in terms of foreground and background as ways of describing those areas of a culture which are given and inherited or “preempted” by previous generations (background) and those areas which are live choices for…

Of Demons, Chaos, & America

In a bit of a rabbit trail during Sunday’s sermon, I noted that God’s war on Egypt was a thoroughly spiritual warfare. That is, God was at war with the demon-gods of Egypt (cf. Ex. 12:12). Pharaoh was the earthly representative of that pantheon, and clearly in Egyptian mythology, he held a deified status. Thus,…

Sin, Trauma, & God’s Grace for Parenting

[These are my notes from my talk for the 2016 TRC Parenting Conference] Introduction When I was sixteen years old, the summer before my senior year in high school, I worked during the days for my high school grounds keeper doing manual labor from 7am to 3pm. Then, most days, I drove 45 minutes south…

Jesus and Our Demons

Luke XLI: Lk. 11:14-28 [Audio here] Introduction Perhaps C.S. Lewis put it best when he said that people tend toward two opposite dangers when it comes to demons: unbelief on the one hand and unhealthy obsession on the other. Lewis said he thought the devils were equally pleased with both errors and “hail a materialist…

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…

Learning to Say, “My Gospel”

[Here are my notes for the talk I gave at the TRC Evangelism Conference 2016, recordings coming soon.] Introduction I don’t remember a time when I did not love Jesus. One of my earliest memories is being interviewed for membership in an Orthodox Presbyterian Church by a couple of elders when I was four years…

The Challenge of Christian Community

Luke XXXVIII: Lk. 10:25-42 Introduction Christian community is hard. It’s hard because of sin. It’s hard because of different personalities and gifts. It’s hard because the stakes are high. Christian community aims to be and claims to be a sharing in the fellowship of God Himself (1 Jn. 1:3). So the choices we make in…

Safe in the Circle

Jer. 4:1-10, Gal. 3:10-14 Jeremiah says that if Israel returns to the Lord, they can be saved. This returning to the Lord is described as breaking up fallow ground and circumcising the foreskin of their hearts. But if they don’t do this, the wrath of God will come like fire that cannot be quenched. God…

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…