Jesus, Sages & the Mishnah

Isn’t it interesting the early church never developed into anything resembling the rabbinic model of education and organization? Paul was a Pharisee who studied under the great Rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem, and yet the style of his teaching and apostolic ministry never resulted in training up Christian rabbis to pass on Jesus’ interpretation of Torah to eager students. Just read Acts and the Epistles and you find nothing rabbinic in shape about early Christian education.

Church & Politics: A Jesus-Shaped Approach

“Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” -Jesus My politics actually haven’t changed all that much over the years. When I go to the polls every two or four years to give “caesar” my opinion on how best to run this particular “kingdom of the world” called America, I still…

LIFE VERSES 7: Acts 17:6

In this series I am sharing some of the passages of the Bible — or Life Verses — that have most impacted my own life.  “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also….they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, proclaiming that there is another king, Jesus.” ACTS 17:6 After college I immediately began…

Cold Snowdrifts to Warm Fireplaces

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from.” Psalm 121 There she sits, windows all aglow, full of warmth and perched high upon Berg Mountain: our cozy home. But here we all sit at the bottom of the hill, tired from travels, cranky with coughs and sniffles, stranded in our mini-van,…

A Bedtime Prayer (Psalm 4)

Today, many of us sink our weary heads onto our pillows and fall asleep staring at our smart phone screens, scrolling Facebook one last time, trying to clear our email inbox, or checking the newsfeed again. And studies keep revealing our tech habits are producing one of the most anxious and emotionally unsettled societies in…

A Case for a Cruciform Justice

It seems hardly necessary to make an argument for the universally experienced suffering and injustice prevalent in the world. If pain really is God’s “megaphone to rouse a deaf world”, as C. S. Lewis argued, then the message is deafeningly clear and God might consider turning the volume down a bit. What then is the church’s appropriate response to the world’s injustice and suffering?

Aching & Yearning for the Kingdom

A friend in ministry just texted me a light and fluffy Friday afternoon question: “I’m laying out a vision for Discipleship with my people on Monday. What are 3 awesome things about being a disciple? What are 3 awesome things about making disciples?” He might as well have asked me to sum up the mystery…

Sages Then & Now: Scribal Experts

I’m in Chicago all week for a doctoral course called “Becoming Doctors of the Church.” That’s a pretty high-sounding title, wouldn’t you say? It might even sound a bit elitist. In the ancient world it was only the educated elite who could read and write and had access to texts and sacred writings. I’m mindful…