On my personal Facebook page, I've posted a lot of #BlackLivesMatter stuff, but when the #DallasShootings happened, I felt like I needed to wait to address the death of the officers in Dallas.
Some people in my family are in law enforcement, people whose integrity and competence I respect. I also believe that the law enforcement agencies in this country are largely responsible for the order and peace many of us take for granted. Additionally, Christians are called treat those in power honorably.
However, honor does not mean that critique is out of the question (sometimes even taking the form of a prophetic critique of culture, although balancing prophecy and outright anger is a tricky balance. Sometimes, like Moses, you want to beat the rock in anger instead of speaking to it in faith).
I don’t usually talk about discipleship much. That tends to be Hai-in Nelson’s shtick.
However, some recent events have gotten me thinking: What is discipleship, and how does it not get weird?
What do I mean by “weird”?
There are movements in the Church that have embraced discipleship as a form of control and micro-management of other people’s lives. Before you buy a house or a car, some groups expect you to go to your spiritual leaders or “disciplers” to get permission before making these and other important life decisions.
And the consequences if don’t seek your handlers’ permission?
It varies. Sometimes, it involves a certain amount of shunning by the “in-group.” Other times, you get publicly shamed. At worst, you might even get kicked out of the church or organization entirely.
At Hill City, we’d like to think we have a number princip...
After service, I went to lunch with some friends, and while they liked the message, there was apparently some confusion about some of the concepts I used particularly the relationship between sin and the idea of human incompleteness of the “God-shaped hole” that I said all of us have.
In talking about Jesus filling in this hole that we have inside of us, some people wondered, “Wait! What does this incompleteness have to do with sin?”
It’s a good question, and one I thought about addressing more explicitly but didn’t.
Before I answer it, however, let me give a short critique of a typical and popular view of sin.
We often view sin as the morally “bad things” that people do.
We might even have the presence of mind to think of it as the bad thoughts and even the bad motives that we have.
As someone who really likes Jesus, I feel like this is an important question for me to answer.
A lot of people talk about Jesus, but they can do so in ways that seem ambiguous or ways that simply project onto Jesus their own image of what they think he’s like.
This is a very old problem, stemming back all the way to Jesus’ ministry in the first century.
Mark 8:27-28 gives us this little snippet:
Jesus and his disciples went into the villages near Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They told him, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others one of the prophets.” (CEB)
That people today still attribute many different characterizations to Jesus (ex: hippie social reformer, cynic philosopher, self-help guru, etc.) shouldn’t surprise anyone. Jesus has always, always, always been...
This blog entry is exactly that: a quick how-to guide for orthodoxing generously.
First, something needs to said: Christians do not form their theology from Scripture alone (nor have they ever).
Scripture is always in conversation with…something else. Sometimes it is one something. Sometimes it’s many somethings. But it is never just Scripture alone.
There are many lists available about what these somethings are. Everyone seems to have their own preferences, and they go by many names: Anglican Triad (Scripture, Tradition, Reason), Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience), etc.
For our purposes here, I’m going to use the Wesleyan Quadrilateral plus one additional element (borrowed from Stanley Grenz and Roger Olson. I will provide a link to their book at the end of this blog). Because all Christian traditions use...
I’ll never forget where I was the day it happened. I was lying on my bed, reading the Bible like a scrappy zealous young Christian should. When I came to the end of one of the Gospels (I don’t remember which one…let’s just say Matthew), I saw it. I flipped through my Bible to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. First to Mark. Then to Luke. Finally to John.
Matthew 27:28: “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.” PAUSE.
Mark 15:17 and John 19:2 very specifically stated that the robe was PURPLE.
As I flipped back and forth, I noticed that the number of angels at the tomb was different between the gospels, that the gospels are inconsistent in describing who showed up to the empty when and in what order, and that a footnote in Mark said something about Mark 16:9-20 not being in the original manuscript.