Bible: Together — root, trunk and branch

May 13, 2019 by

Last fall I grafted a half dozen varieties of apples onto my apple tree. I’m a poor and inexperienced grafter, so not surprisingly only a couple of them took. I discovered one in the spring — a stout...

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Bible: Mountains below the surface

Apr 29, 2019 by

One thing I love about Kansas is the mountains. Oh, we have them all right. They’re just buried under 600 feet of Harney Silt Loam. These Kansas mountains, called the Nemaha Ridge, are composed of massive...

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Bible: Want proof of the resurrection?

Apr 15, 2019 by

Oh, for a video camera trained on the tomb on that original Easter Sunday! How perfect it would be to witness the grinding of the grave stone, the genuflection of the soldiers, the gleaming of the...

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Bible: What’s your alabaster jar?

Apr 1, 2019 by

While the chief priests and elders schemed to kill Jesus, a woman entered Simon the leper’s house and blessed him with costly perfume. “Why this waste?” said the disciples. “This ointment could have...

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Bible: To cure, cleanse, exorcise — and resurrect

Mar 18, 2019 by

A Peruvian pastor friend tells the story of leading a group of young evangelists out to some remote villages along the sinuous mountain roads of the Andes. When a lamb darted in front of their van pursued by...

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Bible: You’ve already been called home

Mar 4, 2019 by

When the State of Illinois decided to expand I-74 just north of our family farmstead in a multiyear spate of civil engineering angioplasty, my father decided to move our house. This was no small feat. Our...

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Bible: Because Jesus is true

Feb 18, 2019 by

Sometimes I talk to my seatmates on the plane. Sometimes I don’t. But when the young woman next to me had a panic attack brought on by her just-discharged-from-Afghan­istan post-traumatic stress, how could...

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Waiting for God in silence

Jan 23, 2018 by

I wonder how much of our modern lives is about fleeing silence. True silence is a fearful thing for many, a disconcerting, bulgy reality that we do our best to avoid. I recently learned of Orfield Laboratories...

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Bible: Yes, worship does something

Nov 6, 2017 by

Afriend once waxed poetic about the peace he experienced when receiving the communion wafer in the Cath­olic mass. Since I had been reared on a diet of just-a-symbol cracker breads and grape juice cuplets, I...

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Bible: Channeling the zeal of Phinehas

Oct 23, 2017 by

There may be nothing more unsettling to the (post)­mod­ern mind than zeal. Faith’s OK, many suppose, so long as it’s small and well-behaved, trotted out on a short leash at the odd moments — like birth...

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Bible: No faith without struggle

Oct 9, 2017 by

When we visit family in Lima, Peru, that cement city hustling under a concrete sky, we’re always a little taken aback by the traffic. Though our surprise could be chalked up to country-mouse sensibilities,...

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Learning to think like Jesus

Sep 28, 2017 by

I’ve been coaching third-/fourth-grade soccer along with another dad this fall. (No, I don’t know what I’m doing — though thankfully, my friend does!) We drill the kids. We scrimmage with the kids. We...

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Bible: Abraham’s stardust children

Sep 25, 2017 by

It would have been a strange thing to do, cutting all those animals in half, if God hadn’t told Abram to do it. But that’s how it goes. Covenants aren’t made in Hebrew, they’re cut (Gen. 15:18; Jer....

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Bible: High-stakes Sabbath

Sep 11, 2017 by

At my ordination interview, I didn’t give the best answer when the committee asked me about my practices of self-care. “One day each week I take a sabbath rest,” I said brightly. And then for good...

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What is Christian hope?

Aug 28, 2017 by

We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul — Heb. 6:19 Once, I received an email at my church account that claimed to be from a TV network. According to the email, they were seeking Mennonite...

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Bible: A covenant of moral fruitfulness

Aug 28, 2017 by

Once I interviewed a Pentecostal pastor for a seminary project. He was famous locally for his prison ministry and outreach — as well as for his six-shooter-wearing swagger. In the course of the interview, he...

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What is a call to ministry?

Jul 21, 2017 by

A long time ago in the big city, I was a graduate student studying the New Testament. My wife and I had another student and his wife over for supper, and we were talking shop: Bible and theology, church and...

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Eat our way to joy

Jun 30, 2017 by

Joy strikes out of the blue nothingness. You can’t expect it or manufacture it or capture it. For Christians, the completeness of our joy comes from Jesus. After he taught on his abiding in us and our...

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4 ways Christians can love the soil on Earth Day

Apr 20, 2017 by

Earth Day is a great time for Christians to show our love for God’s green earth. Of course, the challenge of loving the earth is knowing which part of the earth to love. There’s so much of it, after all...

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Challenging the narrative of rural decline

Oct 28, 2016 by

As the 2016 US election rattles into its final stretch, rural people and communities have gotten an ill-deserved bad rap. Commentators along the urban coastlines, seeking to understand rural voting patterns,...

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