678 results for author: Brad Jersak


Suffering: Transforming Pain – Richard Rohr

Transforming Pain All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain, with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust and the undeserved—all of which eventually come into every lifetime. If only we could see these “wounds” as the way through, as Jesus did, then they would become sacred wounds rather than scars to deny, disguise, or project onto others. I am sorry to admit that I first see my wounds as an obstacle more than a gift. Healing is a long journey. If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become cynical, negative, or bitter. This is the storyline of many of the ...

“Sin”? Missing What Mark? Brad Jersak

Periodically, I hear sin defined as “missing the mark,” as if this grand discovery will repair our misunderstandings about sin, the gospel or God himself. The imagery of a bulls-eye is recycled with each telling. And fair enough. But truly, nearly everyone accepts this definition, from Southern Baptists to Christian Orthodox, or divergent theologies ranging from the “hyper-grace” camp to hellfire fundamentalists. Some crucial clarifications are in order if “missing the mark” is to serve a Christ-centered perspective on sin. The first question can’t be, “What is sin?” but rather, “What is the mark?” Christians generally ...

Healing Weary Words: Sin, Repentance and Justification – Brad Jersak

Healing Weary Words: Sin, Repentance and Justification in the Context of the Incarnation We’re often told “sin” refers to “missing the mark” but then left to assume the mark has to do with moralistic perfection. Rather, the mark, goal or telos of human design and destiny is none other than love union with Trinity, with each other and with our world. To sin (every kind of sin) is to misuse our God-given freedom/energies to turn away from self-giving, other-welcoming love in favor of self-will. As it turns out, our forays into self-centeredness are also self-destructive—a turn from love and life into a wasting disease that would ...

“Inspired by God” (part 3) – Dame Judy Dench, Phenomenological & Sunsets

TONGUE TWISTERS & SUNSETS Not only is it nearly impossible to say Dame Judy Dench quickly, it is totally impossible not to try! How did you do? I’ve been working on another: Phenomenon, Phenomena, Phenomenal, Phenomenology, Phenomenological! I almost never pronounce that final word correctly—even slowly, even once. And yet I bet you speak phenomenologically every single day. A phenomenological description means simply this: describing things as they appear to us, rather than how we know they actually are. A common example is the “sunset.” Sunsets are romantic. They also never actually occur—but they occur every day! ...

Q&R: If God is non-violent, why is nature violent?

QUESTION: "If God is non-violent ... then why is there evidence of violence in nature, i.e. between animals and also in weather, such as hurricanes/typhoons, volcanic eruptions, etc.?" RESPONSE: At the most basic level, I often boil things down to these ideas, which most folks can understand if we provide examples: 1. God created the conditions for life and love, which are the laws of nature and human freedom. This is very good. 2. But nature and humans also cause a lot of suffering. Nature and people can become violent of their own accord. 3. But in his great love for us, God became human to enter that suffering with us, enduring ...

Q & A: Does God literally send blessings & curses? – Brad Jersak

QUESTION: I am currently on my fourth read of A More Christlike God and each time I read it, I am getting to know God more and more. Regarding your notion that wrath is a metaphor for God's consent, I wonder how to interpret God's blessings and curses, which God seemed to bring about directly. Can this be reconciled? RESPONSE:  Re: God's blessings and curses, I think a good way to approach that question would be to take a walk through the Bible as follows: 1. OLD COVENANT PROMISES: First, notice how the old covenant (Deut. 28 for example) seems to say that IF you are good, God will directly bless your crops with sun and rain, but if you ...

People of the book or the book above people? – Barbara Brown Taylor

... I notice [that] whenever people aim to solve their conflicts with one another by turning to the Bible, defending the dried ink marks on the page becomes more vital than defending the neighbor. As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God. In the words of Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas, “people of the book risk putting the book above people.” As much as I love the written word, I am aware of the ways this love removes me from the world. The day after the alphabet was invented someone starting thinking of patterns of letters that would stand for ...

“Inspired by God” (pt 2) – Inspiration vs. Exhalation – Brad Jersak

Inspiration or exhalation?        Inspiration is not the same as exhalation. When we read that a text or author is inspired, that means that God’s Spirit breathed into them and then, through their own creativity, worldviews, faith practices, religious beliefs, political biases, and personal temperaments, etc., they exhaled a range of beautiful, unique, divine-human hybrid texts. A careful reading shows that God indeed inspired (breathed into) these men and women, who then exhaled a text that bears the aroma of both the Holy Spirit’s divine genius and the authors' truly-human agency. Analogy to Adam       When God breathed ...

Inspired by God (Part 1): Inspired, therefore … – Brad Jersak

16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work(2 Timothy 3:16-17). As a young boy, no more than 8-years-old, I had already memorized Paul’s words to young Timothy, with the understanding that every word of Scripture was true in all that it affirmed—we called that “inerrancy” (without error). My temperament, my developmental stage and my faith tradition all leaned to a literalist reading of Scripture, except when we deemed it impossible. So, while we deemed the Bible ...

Are You “Christian”? Brad Jersak

Are You “Christian”? Having firmly identified as an “Ex-vangelical,” a friend of mine was asked whether she would still call herself a Christian. Her answer was necessarily complex since the question involves defining “Christian,” who gets to define it’s and whether we should preserve the word or put it to rest. Frankly, identifying as “Christian” has always been a bit risky, whether because it incited persecution or was co-opted for domination. So, are you a Christian? How do you feel about that word? What if we were to come at the question from a different angle? The following is a thought experiment that may prove productive...