The book of Revelation on living in Empire

Dec 22, 2016 by

The book of Revelation does not have a positive reputation these days. For many Christians it is seen as hopelessly complicated and obscure. In my opinion, it is indeed the case that understanding Revelation...

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Why, in the end, I can’t vote for Hillary Clinton

Nov 4, 2016 by

Few of the people I know, even those who strongly supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, are agonizing about their presidential vote next week. It is clear to just about everyone in my circles, it seems,...

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A simple way to world peace? Recognize America as ‘beast’

Sep 22, 2016 by

I offer what follows as a thought experiment, an attempt to flesh out a recent late night rumination. I finished reading a fine book by Douglas Fry, Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace. Fry, who is an...

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Bible: Boundary-shattering generosity

Aug 15, 2016 by

The key to understanding Paul’s wrestling with the “what about Israel?” question in the Book of Romans is to recognize that he concludes with a strong affirmation of God’s saving intentions. In their...

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God’s sovereign, healing love

Aug 1, 2016 by

Romans 8 concludes the first half of the letter with a powerful message that affirms the good news (gospel) of God’s sovereign mercy. Paul counters two competing “gos­pels” — the gospel of the Roman...

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Bible: Slaves to sin or righteousness?

Jul 18, 2016 by

One issue Paul confronts in Romans is “boasting” — the inclination to claim a special place in the universe due to one’s religious status. He writes about the people who boast in their relationship...

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Bible: Gospel of liberation from idols

Jul 4, 2016 by

Romans 3 famously contains a dense theological argument. Paul discusses the need for and provision of salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul has a simple purpose: That his readers, Jewish and Gentile Christians...

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Bible: No better than the Romans?

Jun 20, 2016 by

The impact of Paul’s letter to the Romans on Christian theology cannot be overstated — though different Christian traditions disagree profoundly on how to interpret and apply Romans. It is always worth...

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Bible: Judgment and a faithful remnant

Jun 6, 2016 by

In just three chapters, the Book of Zephaniah does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the Old Testament prophets. He offers a sharp critique of the kingdom of Judah, focusing on its leaders. And he...

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Bible: From corruption to reform

May 23, 2016 by

The prophet Zephaniah ministered in Judah about two generations after Isaiah and Micah. He may have been a direct descendant of King Hezekiah (1:1). However, by his time, Judah’s leaders had long forgotten...

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God of ‘will’ or God of love?

Jun 22, 2015 by

The question of how to understand the peaceable message of Jesus in relation to less-than-peaceable pictures of God in the Bible and in the Christian tradition has challenged ethically concerned people of...

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The healing river rises

Nov 10, 2014 by

Our quarter ends with three passages that articulate the prophetic hope for healing. All three are full of metaphorical images that defy explanation if taken too literally. The Book of Ezekiel concludes with a...

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The new temple is you

Oct 27, 2014 by

The prophet Ezekiel shares in the sufferings of the Hebrew people in the generation after their devastating defeat at the hands of the ruthless Babylonian empire. Ezekiel helps to bring to the surface the...

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Has God made a just world?

Oct 13, 2014 by

In our previous lesson we saw that even amid all his trauma Job remains steadfast. He continues to live in the light of his commitment to righteousness. He trusts God and lives blamelessly. But Job’s test...

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O God, where is justice?

Sep 29, 2014 by

How do we live as people of faith in a world that seems so often to be dominated by the wrong? The prophet Habakkuk gives a brief window into one of Israel’s darkest moments, at the very end of the life of...

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Healing is God’s final word

Sep 15, 2014 by

We continue with Jeremiah’s “little book of consolation” (chapters 30-33). Coming in the midst of great trauma and grief, these chapters are meant to sustain hope and life amid the ruins of Judah’s...

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Mercy, hope amid trauma

Sep 1, 2014 by

This quarter’s first four lessons come from what has been called Jeremiah’s “little book of consolation” (chapters 30-33). The book as a whole powerfully asserts that the terrible trauma the Hebrew...

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