Tag: salvation

Summary: Lent provides opportunities to reflect on our experience of encountering God and God’s salvation in embodied ways — in our bodies’ abilities to perceive familiar realities and to interpret new ones. I prepared a five-part series that invites us to think about Jesus’ ability to make God known in tangible, sensory ways. The series explores selected biblical passages that permit us to reflect on who we are and how we bear witness to the gospel — not so Lent causes us to denigrate this life, but so we learn to encounter God among us and to know Christ through our bodies.

I wrote this series to spark the creativity of those who are preparing to preach or teach during Lent, although individuals might also use it for devotional purposes. Read it at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: general audience Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

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