Scandalous Incarnation!

Perhaps we’ve let the graceless moralism of too many Santa songs taint our view of the One who truly comes to town on Christmas. For the miracle of the incarnation is for the naughty and nice. He’s already made His list and He’s checked it twice, and all are on it until we choose to reject His gift and thereby remove our own name from it.

Funding the Jericho Inn: A MainStreet Update

Jesus’ mission prioritized the marginalized and neglected people of his day. He didn’t send out his apostles—i.e., “church planters”—saying, “Go ye therefore to the sprawling suburbs and invite the upwardly mobile dual income families with children.” He said, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Luke 14:21). Would you try growing a church with such folks?

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…

Why, God, Why? Suffering & God’s Glory

When bad things happen in this world, and unjust suffering befalls the innocent, we often jump to the ‘Why’ question first.  The disciples lived in a world where it was popular to believe that disease, birth defects, and other forms of suffering were punishment for sin — either the person suffering or his parents. We…

Walk Up the Street to a New Life

“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on? Walk up the street to a life with meaning.” Jesus was a wise sage, steeped in the ancient wisdom of the Jewish Scriptures, who formed a community of learners who welcomed his message. His message offered a new Way to be human, an alternative Way to…

ESSAY: Jesus: Scribe, Prophet or Both?

This short essay seeks to answer the question: “Did Jesus act more like a scribe or a prophet (or both)? Martin Hengel concludes his careful exploration of Jesus’ identity stating “Neither the misleading term “rabbi” nor the designation “eschatological prophet,” which is likewise open to misunderstanding, can adequately characterize his activity. Jesus’ “charisma” breaks through the…

Disciples as Scribes in the Royal Court

Here’s a snapshot of my current research project I’m finishing up this week. I’m exploring ancient pedagogy and fresh angles on the task of discipleship in the church today.  POTLUCKS & POLITICS I hail from good Lutheran stock from the Midwest (Minnesota) where we shared potlucks (with an endless variety of “hot dishes”) in the…

The Garden of New Creation

The Story of Easter can be told as a story of Three Gardens. Eden was The Garden of Futility — of broken dreams, shattered relationships, the first Adam’s rebellion, and the image of God marred by sin and disobedience. The Garden of Gethsemane was The Garden Decision — of sacrifice, abandonment and suffering, of temptation…