It’s appropriate that winter solstice falls near the end of Advent, even if it’s a reminder of how our celebration of Christ’s birth got wound up in the pagan festivities of ancient Rome. It’s appropriate because Advent is a symbol of what we observe in the sky: today, we’re halfway out of the dark (to … Continue reading Halfway out of the dark… yet?
From the Book of Common Prayer: O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. … Continue reading A prayer for our enemies
His name is Bahaaldin. He’s 13, and he lives in Gaza. My wife and I have been sponsoring Bahaaldin for almost 6 years now. Or, as time seems to be measured in Gaza, through three wars and counting. Recently, the bombs began to fall on Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city. Where Bahaaldin lives. A ceasefire that was supposed to last … Continue reading When I think about my sponsored child in Gaza…
The other day, I raised a question for evangelicals who think standing with Israel means supporting them no matter what. How do you reconcile a “never criticize Israel” mentality with the overwhelming witness of the biblical prophets? If you’ve been told that unconditional support for Israel is the only “biblical” position, that the modern-day state enjoys … Continue reading Why evangelicals should think twice about equating modern Israel with Israel of the Bible
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that from a biblical perspective the modern state of Israel and the Old Testament nation are one and the same. Let’s say the old covenant is still in force, that the founding of modern-day Israel in 1948 fulfilled biblical prophecy. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Paul’s assertion that “all Israel will … Continue reading If you think “standing with Israel” means never criticizing them, you’re going to have to get a new Bible
Some of the discussion around Monday’s Memorial Day post reflects a tension Christians have long wrestled with in this country: just how far are we expected to go in living out Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount? It’s tempting to think of Jesus’ definitive sermon as a personal ethic, a moral ideal meant for individuals, not whole societies … Continue reading Blueprint for a reconfigured humanity
Nonretaliation and enemy-love are not some insignificant whisper lingering on the edge of Jesus’ ethical landscape. They are fundamental identity markers for citizens of God’s kingdom. — Preston Sprinkle, Fight It can be argued that Christine Weick committed an act of violence when she spent Mother’s Day camped at a busy intersection in suburban Grand Rapids with her … Continue reading Retributive violence is still violence, even when it’s a slushie
Like most people, I remember watching the news unfold on December 14, 2012, when Adam Lanza gunned down 20 first-graders and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I’m old enough to remember the mass shootings that preceded Sandy Hook. Killeen. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook was different, of course. Most of the victims were … Continue reading Children of the drone strikes: do they matter any less than the children of Sandy Hook?
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus broke out in lament for the prophets who preceded him. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you…” In Luke’s gospel, this particular rant follows a warning from some of the religious leaders. They wanted Jesus to know Herod was after him. “We’re trying to help,” … Continue reading How we sanitize the prophets
“Yes, but the cross is an offense. So if you’re being true to the gospel, you’re going to offend someone.” This is one of the more common rejoinders I hear when Christians are accused of being unloving. (The idea that it’s OK — perhaps even necessary — to offend for the sake of the gospel has … Continue reading The offense of the gospel