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…

Learning & Literacy in Paul’s Churches

If you’re one of the 2 people out there curious about the kinds of things I’m exploring in my doctoral program, here’s an essay from my last seminar on scribes and literacy in the ancient world. This essay addresses the question: “To what extent did literacy play a role in the spiritual development of Paul’s converts?” Enjoy…

LIFE VERSES 5: Jeremiah 20:9

In this series I’m sharing some Bible verses that have been pivotal in my personal faith formation and life journey. For each time I speak….the word of the LORD has resulted In reproach and derision all day long. But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in…

Sages Then & Now: Philo

Most colleges and university programs have favorite professors who sometimes have long waiting lists to get into their most popular classes. When I was an undergrad at Bethel University (1998-2002), one such class was “The Life & Teachings of Paul” taught by Dr. Michael Holmes. (The only class in the Bible & Theology department that…

NEW: Three Taverns @ MainStreet

In 2012 a newspaper article was published describing the original vision for our MainStreet location, and I encourage you to go read it here. Here’s a taste: MainStreet will soon open a new center in the Stonegate Plaza in Mound. Hometown Pastor Jeremy Berg is quick to make clear, “This is not a church building;…

Teaching & Interpersonal Relationships

Matt Friedeman’s book The Master Plan of Teaching (1990) examines Jesus’ teaching style and suggests the following formula emphasizing that content alone is not enough, but the teacher-student relationship is a central ingredient: COMMUNICATION = CONTENT + RELATIONSHIP He then offers some steps toward effective interpersonal relationships in the graph below. Pastors and teachers who want to…