513 results for tag: blog


Taking a Break from Deconstruction – Caleb Miller

The approach so many take to their faith is found only in positive affirmation of things they already believe or the repeated affirmations of the commonly accepted doctrines of their local body of faith. This is known as cataphatic theology, which finds its definitions of God in affirmations and positive statements (God is, versus God is not). It is likely the leading approach to God in the Western church, and certainly within the streams of Christianity known as the grace and charismatic movements. It is also the largest reason so many I’ve met are unwilling to pull their god from their hearts and see if he’s even good enough to be in there—...

Jesus’ Dysfunctional Family – Doug Schroeder

Matthew 1:1-16 When Matthew records Jesus’ family tree in the opening words of his gospel, he is writing to his Jewish neighbors who were asking, “What qualifies Jesus to be this Messiah we have been awaiting so long?”  Qualifications are everything.  Does Jesus have the right pedigree?       When you write a resume you don’t want any smudges in your personal or employment history.  But who does Matthew include in Jesus’ resume?  The inclusions are stunning. Included are 5 women. Shocking. Women had no status back then.  They were excluded from any genealogy.  But here, in the ...

Just War, Just Deserts, Just Hell – Wayne Northey

There is an arresting statement about God in I John 4:8: Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. “God is love” is an essentialist statement about God: who God is in God’s essence. There is also an arresting call to Christians in Ephesians 5:1 & 2:  1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. The family trait of a Christ-follower is love: God’s essence is love; so should Christ-followers’ essence be love. “Following God’s example” means being “imita...

The Greatest Commandment – Laura Urista

I've always liked to watch detective shows. Growing up, two of my favorite detective shows were Columbo and Dragnet. Remember Sergeant Joe Friday of Dragnet? Sometimes when Sergeant Friday would interview a witness they'd get a little long winded or off topic. Sometimes they would give their own ideas about how to solve the crime. When that happened, Sergeant Friday would say in a very calm, monotone, no-nonsense voice: “Just the facts…just the facts.” In fact, that quote became such a popular catch-phrase or slogan that they started to sell T-shirts with the slogan “Just the Facts.” In Matthew we read about a Pharisee, described as “an ...

Judging others is self-condemnation (Matt. 7:1-5) – Lazar Puhalo

Judging others is self-condemnation.  Seek after the Light and find life.  MATTHEW 7:1-5:  Why are we equally judged when we judge others? "Do not judge or you will be judged; for you will be judged by the same judgment with which you judge others; and it will be measured out to you with the same measure you have used" (Mt. 7:1-2). If we judge others, we confess that we have a complete knowledge of truth and righteousness and can readily discern them. Nevertheless, not one of us actually fulfils righteousness and perfection in our own lives; thus we stand condemned by our own judgement, for the Saviour says elsewhere, "If you ...

Jesus Died for Us … Not for God – Brian Zahnd

“You killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.” –The Apostle Peter, Acts 3:15   Golgotha is where the great crimes of humanity — pride, rivalry, blame, violence, domination, war, and empire — are dragged into the searing light of divine judgment. At Golgotha we see the system of human organization that we blithely call “civilization” for what it is: an axis of power enforced by violence so corrupt that it is capable of murdering God in the name of what we call truth, justice, and liberty. Golgotha is also the place where the love of God achieves its greatest expression. As Jesus is lynched in the name of religious ...

What does the Cross reveal? – Caleb Miller

The cross of Christ is much more than just a horrendous method of torturing someone. The cross reveals to us the heart of humanity, rather than the heart of the Father. The cross gives us a picture each and every year of the depths of human depravity and violence. For the life of me, I cannot make sense of any atonement theory that says the Father punished Jesus, emptied his wrath upon Jesus, used Jesus as a cosmic go-between to save people from the fury and anger of the divine dungeon master or any variation thereof. That is extremely basic faith. The church fathers didn’t propose PSA1 as a view on the atonement because it laid waste to the ...

How Jesus Used Scripture – Richard Rohr

Looking at which Scripture passages Jesus emphasizes (remember, the Hebrew Bible is his only Bible!) shows he clearly understands how to connect the "three steps forward" dots that confirm the God he has met, knows, loves, and trusts. At the same time, Jesus ignores or openly contradicts the many "two steps backward" texts. He never quotes the book of Numbers, for example, which is rather ritualistic and legalistic. He never quotes Joshua or Judges, which are full of sanctified violence. Basically, Jesus doesn't quote from his own Scriptures when they are punitive, imperialistic ("My country and religion are the 'only'!"), classist, or exclusionary. ...

Two Types of Knowing God – Maximus the Confessor

This excerpt is from Maximus the Confessor, Ad Thalassium 60: On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ (CCSG 22:73-81). It is a minor paraphrase (for readability only) of the translation by Paul Blowers and Robert Wilken (St. Vlad's Press, 2003). Scripture teaches us two ways of knowing God, two kinds of knowledge of divine things. First, there is what we might call 'relative knowledge,' which is rooted in human reason, ideas and conceptions. Relative knowledge lacks the kind of direct, experiential perception that we get by active engagement or a living encounter. This relative knowledge is what we typically use to order our affairs ...

One Thing Is Needed – Lazar Puhalo

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42. Christians need to regularly examine whether we have mere religion, or are rather struggling to have a life in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is the true goal of our Christian life.  Perhaps we might consider spending less energy trying to judge and condemn and correct others and focus far more on the condition of our own spiritual lives. It seems to me that the myth of a "holy nation" (i.e., one in which extreme political repression forces people to externally observe what one or another religious group ...

J is for Jesus – Bono

At this time of year some people are reminded of the poetic as well as the historic truth that is the birth of Jesus. The Christmas story has a crazy good plot with an even crazier premise - the idea goes, if there is a force of love and logic behind the universe, then how amazing would it be if that incomprehensible power chose to express itself as a child born in shit and straw poverty. Who could conceive of such a story? If you believe it was the protagonist, as I do, then we should try to be really respectful of people who think the whole thing is a bit nutty or worse... Religious people are the best and worst of us...handle us with sceptici...

Does the Bible Teach Love or Hate? Peace or Violence? Derek Flood

In discussing my new book on violence in the Bible, which focuses on reading the Bible from the perspective of peace and love, I often hear this objection, "But doesn't the Bible speak of God's wrath?" or "But doesn't Jesus use fear and threat to motivate people?" or "What about this verse here [fill in the blank] that seems to promote violence?" All of these questions are asked by people who want to believe in compassion, who see the moral problems with fear and threat as moral motivators, who recognize the problem with the connection between religion and violence. They want to have a Bible that is just about grace and peace and love. They ...