Category: The Spiritual Life

Steady

Haystack Rock is a monolith at the ocean edge in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It endures constant waves from the ocean side while on its beach face tourists can usually walk up to its base. I envision something like Haystack when I read about rocks of refuge in the Bible. David, for one, wrote of God …

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Finding Voice

Antwuan Malone is black. He’s a pastor. He loves Jesus. And in an online interview this Friday he asked listeners an important question. Why has the church been so passive—so silent—during the national upheaval of recent days?  I shared the question so his voice was encouraging and stirring. In the welter of angry speeches and …

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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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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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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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The Flesh

Someone recently asked me about Paul’s use of “flesh” in his New Testament letters. It’s a good question. The term sarx—“flesh”—in Paul’s era meant “muscular tissues.” Or, with animals, their “meat.” But Paul clearly had more in mind as he linked human “sinful passions” to “the flesh” (e.g. Ro. 7:5). So that sin engages our …

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Power & Love

I enjoyed a six-week internship at Christianity Today magazine many years ago. The Army paid for it as I returned to civilian life after two years as a draftee. At the same time Richard Nixon was impeached for his role in the Watergate burglary cover-up. Back then the CT offices were just a block from …

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