We Become Like What We Worship

  (Or, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Idol) “In most popular Christianity, “heaven” (and “fellowship with God” in the present) is the goal, and “sin” (bad behavior, deserving punishment) is the problem. A Platonized goal and a moralizing diagnosis—and together they lead, as I have been suggesting, to a paganized “solution” in which…

Behold the Man!

  ….Who keeps covenant promises, Who defeats the Powers of Darkness, Who establishes His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven not by force but with love, Who gave His life as a ransom for many… “What I handed on to you at the beginning, you see, was what I received, namely this: “The…

Onward Christian Fortresses?

  Viewed from the six lane highway, the structure appears to be a brick fortress surrounded by acres of treeless grass and a vast moonscape of parking lot. The function without form building inspires no awe, no upward glance and no transcendent thought. The surrounding barren landscape contains no greenhouse, no food or flower gardens,…

What is Faith?

“Let all things be done decently and in order” I Corinthians 14:40   The above verse was repeated so often by my father that it became a joking family rejoinder to whatever was askew at the moment. My Dutch grandparents epitomized the verse. Their tiny two-bedroom bungalow in Bellwood, Illinois was immaculate. The bungalow’s smaller…

Born to Walk Around on Crucifixion Ground

  “Two particular details about Roman crucifixion are of special interest to us in this book. First, it would not be much of an exaggeration to say that Jesus of Nazareth grew up under the shadow of the cross…The Galilee of Jesus’ boyhood, then, all knew about Roman crosses (Antiquities 17.286-98; War 2.66-79)…When he told…

De profundis

De profundis So, she leapt through each night, to each waking dream saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for the multitude of my sins” “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for the multitude of my sins”  “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for the multitude of my sins”   In the morning, she headed out…

Feet First

  On January 17th, 2017, the world will witness a peaceful transition of power in the United States of America.  And though our country is deeply divided by partisan conflicts there will be not be a violent overthrow of the government or a military takeover such as a coup d’etat. There will not be a…