Making the City Visible

The image of the church that Jesus imagines is a City on a Hill. In Jesus’ day a city was a place of culture, life, and protection. It was a refuge for people who were adrift and who needed all the things that make for human thriving. The image is startling, breathtaking actually. Jesus is[…]

Salt, Light, and a City on a Hill

It is one thing to hear Jesus talk about life in the Kingdom of God as being poor in spirit, being meek, mourning, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness. It is quite another for Jesus to tell his disciples that unless their righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, they will never enter the[…]

The Robust Reign of Jesus

So, we come to the Sermon on Mount. As John Stott says of this portion of Jesus teaching, “The Sermon on the Mount is the most complete delineation anywhere in the New Testament of the Christian counter-culture. Here is a Christian value-system, ethical standard, religious devotion, attitude to money, ambition, life-style, and network of relationships—all[…]

Stones of Remembrance

After Israel had served its time in the wilderness and was finally about to inherit the promise of their own land, where they would put down roots and become a blessing to the world, there was one last obstacle—the Jordan River! After doing an inventory, they came to the harsh realization about their circumstances—they were[…]

Easter and the Restoration of All Things

About this time of year I entertain my doubts and pull them out and mull them over. As Charles Taylor said so eloquently, and I paraphrase,  “In 1500 it was virtually impossible not to believe in God, while in 2000 it is virtually impossible to be believe in Him.”  I bring out my doubts this[…]

The Royal Order of the Towel

So, the most eventful, meaningful week in human history begins this Sunday as we celebrate Palm Sunday. Jesus enters Jerusalem to a hero’s welcome. It also starts the plot to finally arrest and crucify Jesus as a religious subversive and blasphemer.  It is curious to me how quickly the tide can turn, as it does[…]

The Full Assurance of Hope

So Jim, Will, and I were standing around in the kitchen the other day, surveying the wreckage of some great feasting gone wild, and I made the confession that I’m not sure I could be induced to clean up such a mess without knowing it would be noticed and appreciated. Jim said he would, but only[…]

Oikonomics

This morning I emerged from sleep with a jolt. That dream again. Half my life ago, I nearly failed my second semester of a one-semester economics class in high school. I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about it. My mother was and is a financial secretary and has always instilled in us[…]

A Legacy of Losing Control

When I was a dopey lad of 19, my future father-in-law for some reason trusted me to take his baby girl to prom in his brand new Corvette. I had no idea why, except that perhaps he knew it was clean and reliable and he wasn’t so sure about my ’89 Corolla. I’m sure you[…]