Tag: community

Summary: The story of Ananias and Sapphire, about two people who attempt to defraud the church in Jerusalem, raises a number of questions. It’s an extremely disturbing and problematic story, because their punishment (death) exceeds the severity of their misdeed. Why does Acts treat their fib as such a big deal? One reason is because their deceit reveals more than greed or financial duplicity; it shows a willful disdain for the community’s generosity and mutuality, a disdain able to wreck the fragile, new church. In the end, this isn’t a story about money and lies as much as a story about God’s intimate relationship with the church.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

(Portions of this article are adapted from a chapter in my book Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts.)

Bible commentary: general audience The Bible and Christian practices

Summary: It’s easy to expose and mock the lies behind the so-called prosperity gospel. The New Testament does not teach Christians to grow their faith by donating money with confidence that it will be repaid in greater wealth or improved health. But what, then, does the New Testament say about being generous with money and possessions? Why should we? One of the most interesting perspectives we find in the New Testament concerning wealth is in Acts 4:32-37, in which members of the early church sell their possessions and land and use the proceeds to support their whole community. It’s important to notice that this passage’s primary focus is on depicting the church as a community of unity and belonging. People give money to support and express that identity. Community and care for the neighbor come first.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

(Portions of this article are adapted from a chapter in my book Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts.)

Bible commentary: general audience The Bible and Christian practices

Summary: Pentecost, which falls on the fiftieth and final day of the Easter season, is the day when Christians celebrate the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. The story of Pentecost, as related in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, tells of the Holy Spirit coming to fill and inspire Jesus’ followers. This Spirit makes the community of Jesus’ followers a community of prophets, people who dare to describe what God makes possible for the world.

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

Bible commentary: general audience The Bible and Christian practices

Summary: This is a quirky, wonderful movie about a disturbed man (Lars) who purchases an inflatable doll named Bianca to be his girlfriend. (No—trust me—it’s not what you think! This is a clean movie!) The way that his family and community care for Lars—and Bianca—offers a great image of what it looks like to love and support the vulnerable and wounded in our midst.

Read the full movie review at Working Preacher.

Books and films