Pandemic

First of all we should probably admit that sin is a pandemic. It is not an epidemic, effecting a lot, but not all. I mean if it is an epidemic, I can pretend I’m not sick, pat myself on the back for having a great immune system, and pity all those pathetic sick people. Or, maybe all of us healthy people should quarantine the sick ones so that they will have no chance of infecting us. Fear mongering seems popular these days. Continue reading

Forgiven

Ah, to be set free! You were shackled by illness and now you’re not. That’s nice. But there are worse shackles, aren’t there? And isn’t it interesting that we seem to lift up the shackles of illness or poverty or oppression and overlook the shackle of sin. I kind of think that some, who believe with all of their bitter heart to be following Christ, are carrying around shackles, not for themselves, but for others. Continue reading

Welcome Back to Community

He used to be part of the community. How long ago was that? He doesn’t remember. Too long. Too long had he traveled on the outskirts of civilization. Too long had he felt the burden of his disease. Too long had people avoided him with fear and loathing. He missed his family. He missed gathering in the synagogue to hear the Word of Yahweh. He missed Passover, Feasts of Booths, and Feast of Weeks. Continue reading

Peter’s Response to Holiness

What happens when you get a glimpse of holiness? Do you feel all warm and fuzzy inside like a Christmas morning? Are you swept away, feeling all loved and important? The ancient rabbis said that if you picked up the word of God, your hands should feel dirty. It is the holy word of God and you are a sinner. For them, coming into contact with holiness ought to make you painfully aware of how far removed you are from it. Continue reading

Personal Jesus

In his book “Surprised by Hope” N. T. Wright observed that Western Christians tend to believe that the ultimate goal of Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus. I think Wright is right. And on top of that it seems as if many are attempting to treat Jesus as their own personal Jesus; as if he were their personal servant. Continue reading

Healed to Work

Much was lost in the fall, and we have to live with the consequences. You see, I’m pretty sure mankind didn’t wrestle with illnesses in the Garden. I’m fairly confident that mankind worked and got tired. But my guess is that it was a satisfying end of the day tiredness – the kind of weariness that brings a contented smile as opposed to a discontent sigh. Mankind was put in the Garden to cultivate it – to maintain a relationship of give and take. Continue reading

The Answer to Evil

In the Greco-Roman world demons were neither good nor evil. Socrates believed that everyone should have their own personal demon. Plato taught that you should never attempt to do something important like found a city without the assistance of demons. They believed that if you could discover the true name of a demon, then you could make that demon serve you. Maybe you want your partner dead so that you don’t have to share the profits anymore. Maybe you want the butcher’s wife to fall in love with you. Continue reading

Jubilee

An offer, a rejection, and a result. That is the story. It is an old story, spanning millennia. It is God’s story. It plays out from the Garden and continues on through until the fulfillment of eternity. God offered man a beautiful garden life; a life of perfect relationships – relationships between mankind and God, men and women, and mankind and nature. Continue reading

Be True to God

Some people believe that purpose in this life is to be found in being true to yourself; that the highest calling is self-expression – to express yourself in whatever way feels right to you. And who better to determine what feels right to you than yourself? I mean, if the goal is to be true to yourself, then you’ve got this. You don’t need anyone else to tell you how to be true to yourself. Do you? And this self aggrandizing life-purpose has filtered into the church. Continue reading

Who’s Your Daddy?

Who’s your Daddy? Who is in charge here? And isn’t this at the heart of temptation? Are you going to control your own destiny or are you going to walk in the will of God? At the heart of the Fall – you know the whole Garden of Eden fall of mankind thing – was the question of who will be God. Satan, the sneaky snake, basically told Eve that God was trying to keep them from succeeding on their own. Take a bite and you will be like God. And she did and she shared. This was the issue in the forty days of wandering in the wilderness as well. Continue reading