I feel that “Gospel” is one of the richest words in the Christian vocabulary. That is probably evident in it’s widespread use across the theological spectrum. All the way from Roman Catholics to the most fundamentalist evangelical to the progressive, emergent movement, the word Gospel figures predominantly in our thought and speech. Pope John Paul II wrote the encyclical letter “The Gospel of Life,” whereas evangelicals speak of preaching the “Gospel” to the ends of the earth. There are Southern Gospel quartets and African-American Gospel Choirs. In spite of this extensive use, and perhaps because of it, the word ‘Gospel’ has lost much of it’s original meaning. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: May 2013
I’m currently reading Frederick Buechner’s devotional book, Listening to Your Life, and the following quote caught my interest.
“I shall go to my grave,” a friend of mine once wrote me, “feeling that Christian thought is a dead language – one that feeds many living ones to be sure, . . . but which I would no more use overtly than I would speak Latin.” I suppose he is right, more right than wrong anyway. If the language that clothes Christianity is not dead, it is at least, for many, dying…. Continue reading
We want to know truth. We search for truth. Some of us study for years and years trying to grasp truth. We scrutinize, interrogate, and judge in order to arrive at the truth. We do this in many circumstances, including with the Bible, but we have to ask, is this right? Continue reading
Helping a church in conflict has served to remind me how difficult and misunderstood reconciliation is. Some people seem to believe that reconciliation is a weak, cowardly response to whatever wrongdoing is at hand. Instead of addressing the wrong, they believe that reconciliation is a cop-out: “Don’t worry about it! It’s all good. Let’s just be friends.” Therefore they fight against reconciliation, or at least stand idly by hoping for it to pass. Others view reconciliation as a one-sided venture. “Well, the way I see it that person did me wrong. I hope that some day they come here to reconcile with me.” Continue reading
The Old Testament is replete with violent scenes. For many, this has caused emotional and cognitive strife. How is this God in whose name atrocious acts of genocide were committed the same as the God of Jesus who teaches us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us? Yet our faith proclaims that Jesus fulfills the expectations of the Old Testament; that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. Walter Brueggemann attempts to address this problem with a detailed study of Joshua 11. His goal is to offer a contextualized reading of this passage to help shed some light on this issue of God’s presence and self-revelation in the midst of biblical violence. Continue reading
Recently I saw a video that was supposedly an interpretation of Revelation 17. The speaker covered a variety of topics (After all it was an hour and a half of two guys sitting in a park, talking). The main thrust, however, was this: using the “prophecies” of Revelation one would see that we’re in the last days. In short, Pope Francis is the last pope, and when he dies John Paul II will appear. I mean, clearly John’s seven-headed beast was a reference to the most recent events in the papacy.
We always want to find someone else to blame for our screw-ups. It’s just part of who we are. It’s uncomfortable to admit that we’ve done wrong; it’s embarrassing when people find out that we made a mistake. So we try to find someone or something else that can take the weight of our guilt. Continue reading