Hearing

Kris Kristofferson’s song, “Why me Lord?” caught my attention in a recent PBS Country Music series. Kristofferson wrote it after another country singer, a Christian, Connie Smith took him to church in 1973 where he heard the gospel and responded to the altar call. I don’t know if or how much Kristofferson’s faith marked the …

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Calling all hearts

Bible history offers contrasts between God-seeking hearts and hard hearts. Let’s chase some heart stories here and see what we can learn. King Saul, for one, had it all. All except a heart for God. He certainly acknowledged God. He also had a big physical presence. He was king over God’s chosen nation. But God …

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What to look for in a God

One of the most-watched US television shows in recent days was the National Football League draft. Here’s my layman’s snapshot of the basic features. Each team has many needs and a few selection slots. The “skill” selections are crucial—the passers, pass receivers, and runners. And if a team has enough skilled men their next need …

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Seeking God

This blog is for any reader who wants to get to know God better. Why not take this season of isolation as a Godsend—as a chance to spend time with him? Through bold Bible reading? On Monday I met with Greg by video connection. He’s pastor of Harvest Community Church, near my home. He had …

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Bold humility

Good Friday is the story of God’s humility. Jesus—the Son who is one with the Father and Spirit—was mocked, despised, and crucified by the civil and religious leaders of his day. For his followers it was an upside-down event. They believed he was the Messiah who came to save Israel … and dying wasn’t an …

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Fighting Feelings

In The Spirit, the Affections, and the Christian Tradition (Coulter & Yong, eds.) E. A. Dreyer cites Classical Greek thinkers who demeaned human feelings. Plato, for one, compared human reason to a charioteer who must whip his horses—the emotions—to rule them. This distrust of feelings is still in vogue among many. But so, too, is …

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Fear and Faith

Fear is the muscular sibling of the current global pandemic. Fear, in fact, is even bigger as it stretches well beyond the actual reach of COVID-19. It can rule our hearts even if it doesn’t touch our health. It stirs our impulses to hide, to hoard, to fixate on media and social news, and to …

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Defeating Death

Jesus, God’s Son, became a man so he could die. Amazing … but why that extreme? The writer of Hebrews answered, “[T]hat through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” [Heb. 2:14-15]. …

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Bonhoeffer on Bible Reading

I’m reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s little book, Life Together, on Christian community. He promoted reading the Bible as a whole. It’s something worth noting. He wrote that narrow readings—reflecting on just one or two verses—will always have value. It allows believers to discover the depth available in any part of the Bible. But this approach can’t …

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Spirituality

Philip Sheldrake’s book, Spirituality: A Brief History, is a good read. Yet it raises a question near the end. What do we mean by “spiritual” if we apply the term to a variety of faiths, as he does, including Christianity and various forms of Zen Buddhism and Hinduism? With that question in mind I’ve done …

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