Preaching or Teaching?

“What is this babbler trying to say?”(Acts 17:18) “In public he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them” (Mark 4:34). “Let your house be a gathering place for sages; And wallow in the dust of their feet; and drink in their words with…

Epictetus: Soul-Wrenching Work

I often talk about church as a car repair shop rather than a Sunday trip through a car wash. While the latter may feel nice and give your exterior a little extra shine for a few days, it does not address the ‘engine’ inside that makes us go. At MainStreet we desire to open the…

Jesus As LifeCoach

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and puts it into practice is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Matthew 7:24 Dallas Willard wrote relentlessly urging Christians to place real, rugged apprenticeship to Jesus back at the center of Christian faith and the church’s task.  The problem, Willard says, is that “The…

Wisdom’s Allure

Just read a great article by Ellen Davis called “Surprised by Wisdom.” Here’s a taste: Anyone attuned to both the [biblical] text and contemporary culture might pause as early as the second line of the book [of Proverbs], where the purpose of “the proverbs of Solomon” is stated thus: “For knowing wisdom and discipline {musar)…”…

Sermon: Growing in Wisdom

They found him…sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…And Jesus grew in wisdom.” (Luke 2:46, 52) Jesus was a middle schooler once. Can you imagine that? Popping pimples. Voice cracking. Surging hormones. Changing body. Our stained glass images of a stoic Jesus the Son of God and second person of the…

Political Discipleship in the Christian Colony

This is an excerpt from a much longer essay I wrote called “Royal Scribes in the King’s Court: Ancient Education & Christian Discipleship.” Enjoy! I hail from good Lutheran stock from the Midwest (Minnesota) where we shared potlucks (with an endless variety of “hot dishes”) in the church basement, and Bible studies in the Fireside…

The Emotionally Real Pastor

Here’s a portion of my latest doctoral essay exploring the power of “Embodied Wisdom.” This section looks at the role of emotional vulnerability in a pastor’s leadership and example. A popular phrase I’m hearing these days is “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I’m a guy who…

Teachers & Role Models in Ancient Times

My current doctoral research has me exploring the relational dynamics between ancient Greco-Roman moral philosophers and their students. I’m hoping the historical context will shine fresh light on the Apostle Paul’s interactions with those under his care and teaching. I’ve been digging into the likes of Plutarch, Seneca, Epictetus, Cicero, Lucian, Quintilian, Dio Chrysostom as…