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...

[read more]

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...

[read more]

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,...

[read more]

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...

[read more]

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....

[read more]

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...

[read more]

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...

[read more]

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...

[read more]

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...

[read more]

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...

[read more]

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...

[read more]

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,...

[read more]

The goodness of useless things

Sep 14, 2016 by

It turns out you can eat corn smut. Who knew? The ancient peoples of Mexico, that’s who. They call it xuitlacoche, and they covet smut as a mushroom-y filling for quesadillas. I first discovered that you can...

[read more]

Knowing and caring

Aug 1, 2016 by

Even the sparrow finds a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young, At your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. — Psalm 84:3 A pair of orioles is raising their brood in...

[read more]

What makes your heart burn?

Jun 13, 2016 by

The great desert monk Antony was once asked, “What good work shall I do?” Antony responded, “Whatever you find you are drawn to in following God’s will, do it and let your heart be at peace.” (The...

[read more]

Ascended, offered life

May 9, 2016 by

While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. — Luke 24:51 This past Thursday (and Sunday), we celebrated the Ascension of the Lord. If you’re Amish, it’s a great...

[read more]

Life rooted in place

Apr 13, 2016 by

I’m convinced that the meaningful life is a life rooted in place. Paul told the church in Colossae to be “rooted” in Christ (Col. 2:6-7). Sometimes, we take this as being rooted in Christ rather than the...

[read more]

Walking in the cloud

Mar 4, 2016 by

Tired, confused, afraid and powerless before evil. That’s the disciples on the mount of Jesus’ Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-43a). Have you been there? I have. Once, after making a momentous decision, I sat...

[read more]