Category: Christianity and culture

Summary: There are preachers who are apprehensive about broaching social and political issues in their sermons, especially during times in which polarization abounds. How does a commitment to biblical preaching equip those preachers to speak convincingly about the gospel’s implications for the church’s witness and Christians’ public priorities? This article offers three suggestions for preachers who seek ways to make connections.

Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Christianity and culture

Summary: The Bible is full of teachings that are working with, it seems to most of us, very outdated and even harmful views on gender. Some take these teachings as if they were permanent, universal laws. Rather, these biblical passages usually reflect the conventional wisdom or social mores of their day, which suggests we need to put them in conversation with other biblical texts and with other sources of knowledge. I briefly explore 1 Timothy 2:8-14 as a test case.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

Bible commentary: general audience Christianity and culture

Summary: This post investigates what the Bible means when it speaks about God “blessing” people or a nation. Blessing is less about God causing good things to flow to someone or to a people, and more about our recognizing certain things or circumstances as providing tangible reflections of God’s goodness and mercy. It’s usually a dangerous thing when Americans (or any other nation or group) describe themselves as specially blessed or favored by God.

Read the full article, and listen to an accompanying podcast, in the “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Bible but Were Afraid to Ask” section of EnterTheBible.

Bible commentary: general audience Christianity and culture

Summary: This article offers a basic introduction to what Paul’s letters say about women exercising public leadership in ancient Christian communities. While some passages from these letters have been used throughout the church’s history to restrict women’s roles and to diminish women’s value, it appears to be the case that Paul knew of, supported, and partnered with women who were church leaders. Some of the more notorious passages were probably written not by Paul but by an admirer who wrote after the apostle’s death. The issue is a complex one, and it reminds us of the challenges inherent in navigating among the various perspectives in the Bible and the need to take account of the cultures in which the biblical documents were written (and to which these documents were addressed).

Read the full article, and listen to an accompanying podcast, in the “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Bible but Were Afraid to Ask” section of EnterTheBible.

Bible commentary: general audience Christianity and culture

Summary: When unemployment statistics spike or even remain disconcertingly high for a prolonged period, it’s for many reasons a cause for alarm. What kinds of spiritual wounds can unemployment inflict? The Bible indicates that human work is a way in which we encounter and partner with God. Our various labors can connect us to God’s purposes. Christian communities need to tend to the spiritual losses of unemployment, along with the economic and psychological tolls it takes.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

Christianity and culture

Summary: It’s important to know something about what was going on in the world when the Bible was written. In this article I briefly introduce three big events or social phenomena that were shaping people’s religious understandings when the New Testament was being written. The Bible itself shows us people of faith articulating how their beliefs speak to their concerns and everyday lives.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

Christianity and culture

Summary: Why does the New Testament have so much to say about Jesus returning again? How does the New Testament speak about this promise? Should Christians still expect Jesus to show up one day? This post offers my thoughts on these provocative questions.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

 

Bible commentary: general audience Christianity and culture The Bible and Christian practices

Summary: James Wood wrote an op-ed in The New York Times, reflecting on the Haiti earthquake of January 12, 2010. I thought the op-ed deserved a response, so I wrote this. Disasters tend to evoke bad theology, especially when we assume a God who is too distant from the groans and struggles of our existence. In our desire to explain God and God’s motives, we risk banishing mystery from our theologies.

Read the full article on Working Preacher.

Christianity and culture

Summary: Advent stumbles into sentimentalism when it leads us to romanticize winter and pretty little white lights. Rather, in waiting for Jesus, we proclaim that God will drive away the night and the falsehoods enveloping our world—once and for all. The posture of Advent is a posture of protest.

Read the full article on Working Preacher.

Christianity and culture The Bible and Christian practices

Summary: The Christian faith has a lot to say about bodies. It’s an embodied faith. Our bodies matter for how we encounter God, love our neighbors, and respect the image of God that we bare. I can’t stand theology that denies or deemphasizes the importance of embodiment and the lives we live. I can’t understand how Christians who believe that God cares about human flesh (and whose Savior died as a torture victim) would stand around idly when their government tortures people.

Read the full article on Working Preacher.

Christianity and culture