Is Pentecost “The Birthday of the Church”? (Heidelberg Catechism, Q54)

Happy Birthday! By Vikas Bhardwaj CC-BY-SA-2.0

Here’s a question for you: How many of you have heard or preached a Pentecost sermon proclaiming it “the birthday of the Church”? That seems to be the understanding today among Christians. What really happened in Acts chapter 2? Was it “the first Pentecost”? No. Jews from around the world were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, aka the “Feast of Weeks,” when … [Read more...]

Interview on Deepening Our Theological Conversations

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Some of the good folks in the denomination's Theology, Worship & Education office saw my post comparing the pastor's study group of the Presbytery de Cristo to the "Congregation" of Calvin's Venerable Company of Pastors in 16th century Geneva. They sensed a connection to one of their own initiatives to spark and deepen theological conversation among sessions and … [Read more...]

How to Keep Unity in Times of Division

Farel, Calvin, Beza, Knox

I took a trip through a time machine last week, all the way back to Calvin's Geneva. Okay, not really. Actually it was a Delta flight to Tucson. I got to lead a retreat for the pastors' study group of the Presbytery de Cristo. Over twenty of them meet every month to study theology together. I put that little sentence as its own paragraph because it is actually pretty … [Read more...]

My Guest Post on “Adulcia–Beneath the Surface”

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This week I have a guest post on Claudia McFie's blog down in New Zealand. Claudia became a friend back in 2012 when she posted on her favorite Christian books and included my Kneeling with Giants in her top ten. I found myself in some very fine company. Since then I've done a Skype session with her small group when they were praying their way through that book. More … [Read more...]

Why Easter Eggs? My “AHA!” Moment

By Lubap at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.5]

Ever since I was a kid, long before I had much of an active Christian faith, I wondered: Why do we use eggs to celebrate Easter? Why Easter Eggs? It is not at all obvious. There is only one mention of eggs in the whole New Testament, and it isn't about Easter. Unless we paint Christian symbols on them, what do they have to do with the resurrection? Not that there is a … [Read more...]

Lent 4: On Sex, and Being a Seaworthy Ship

A Ship in Stormy Seas, 1625, Cornelis Verbeeck, public domain

Like food, sexual activity is necessary for survival. But while food is needed for each individual, in the case of sex the need is for the species. Nobody, as they say, ever actually died of chastity. The understanding of many Christian centuries that chastity is actually better for you may seem at least foreign. In our society we equate sexuality with identity, often without … [Read more...]

Lent 3: Food as Food

Apple a day, Patrick McFall, used under cc license

Evagrius Ponticus (d. 399), the great Desert Father with whom I'm spending this Lent has a  has a way of pointing out obvious things that I’ve spent a very long time not noticing: biblically speaking, food has a long history of getting us into problems. Desire for food gave birth to disobedience and a sweet taste expelled from paradise.” You know, when you look at … [Read more...]

Lent 2: Lenten Fasting and My Potato Chip Problem

Closer! Marcelo Alves, cc license

Once upon a time, a marketing genius thought up a great slogan for Lay’s potato chips: Betcha can’t eat just one.” My waistline has testified to the truth of this for decades. They are right. I can’t. My conversation partner for Lent, the great Desert Father Evagrius Ponticus, had the same insight back in the fourth century: If you give yourself over to the desire … [Read more...]

My New Book! “Love Your Bible” is HERE!

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I am THRILLED to announce that my new book, Love Your Bible: Finding Your Way to the Presence of God with a 12th Century Monk is now available! Love Your Bible introduces 21st century readers to classic lectio divina--an approach to Scripture that has shaped the lives of disciples for well over a thousand years. Love Your Bible invites you to a life-giving engagement with … [Read more...]