Bodily Resurrection

The Greco-Roman world believed strongly in dualism. They divided the spirit and the flesh into two separate things. And then they reasoned that all matter was tainted. So, the ultimate good would to become a bodiless spirit floating off to the spirit realm. Free from this filthy flesh at last. Much of our thoughts about heaven and the resurrection actually come more from Plato than from Scripture. Well, and maybe a misunderstanding of the words of Paul. Paul uses the word “flesh” to describe the contrary to God nature. That is true. But he uses the same word to describe the material body with no hint of sinfulness. Continue reading

Bread

Why do funerals and weddings conclude with meals? Why not have a service and call it good; send people home to get on with their busy lives? I’m not suggesting that it is wrong to not have a reception, but isn’t there something about the meal that seems to wrap it all up? When we celebrated my dad’s life, we invited everyone to stay for a meal. Even though it is added stress and expense, I’m glad we didn’t skip this part of the memorial service. Continue reading

Scripture

Do you know Jesus? Have you ever had a “coming to Jesus” moment? What does that even mean? For some, knowing Jesus is a grasping at an ideal. Well, there is some truth here. But some do a whole lot of grasping without any opening of the Bible. Some even delve into secondary sources to discover what a certain well-known person says about Jesus and what it takes to know him. Nothing wrong here. Except . . . Well, except if the primary source sits collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. I hear people making claims about Jesus and I think, “where did that come from?” Some expert somewhere. Continue reading

Women Witnesses

In the Roman Empire a woman’s testimony was not legally valid. Male chauvinist much. This is so much more than giving a wife a pass on testifying against her husband. Nothing was legally validated through the witness of women. If you want to believe your wife that a tsunami is rushing toward the house, well, that’s on you. But if a woman witnessed a murder, well, that murderer is not going to see any consequences. Continue reading

Good

In one of his songs KB asked “Why do the good dye young?” Then he answers the question with, “That only happened once.” I understand what he means, but the truth is the Bible calls many a person good. I know that these people are not good in the same way that Jesus is good. Nobody is. But they are good because they seem to want to do the right thing. Oh, and by the way, this is not about being saved. We are saved because of the goodness of Jesus. Continue reading

Into Your Hands

Within the current cultural current there seems to be a lot of fear mongering. Fear COVID! Fear the government! Fear the scientists! Fear the politicians! Fear the conspiracy theorists! And interestingly, within this there is a lot of accusing the other side of whatever fear fence people seem to be standing behind of living a life motivated by fear. I’m not sure fear is the problem. Jesus was anxious enough about the upcoming cross event that he sweat blood. That is fear. Or, at the very least, anxiety that dances with fear. Y Continue reading

Criminal Like Me

I walked into the chapel in prison. As the men came in, I began to hear about an attack that had happened not too long before. One of the men who regularly attended the Bible study was beat into the hospital. His attacker put several pad locks into a sock and then swung with determination. My friend was left with a broken cheek bone and jaw and more bruises than you could keep track of. And what was his offense? The attacker believed that my friend had ratted him out to the officers. Snitches get stiches is not a mere saying in prison. Continue reading

Crucifixion

I can remember when I went to the theatre to watch “The Passion of Christ.” When the movie was over the theatre was full of stunned silence. I can remember my son being overwhelmed with the image of soldiers beating Jesus and laughing and drinking as they drove the nails through flesh and wood as if this were a normal event. I can remember sitting in that stunned silence and thinking, “He did that for me. Continue reading

Compassionate Warning

You’ve heard it before. I can’t worry about other people I have to take care of myself. And the professed goal is, “If I nurture myself to a state of health well, then, maybe I can help others.” I wonder if people can get stuck in a taking care of self swamp. It may look something like this: I’d like to help that person with car troubles, but I have car troubles of my own. I sure would like to encourage people, but you know what, I need encouragement my own self. I’ve heard people use the example of airplanes and oxygen masks. Put your own mask on and then help others with theirs. And I know this makes sense. Continue reading

Release

Remember the Native American story; the one where the grandfather is explaining to his grandson that every person has two wolves inside of them – an evil wolf and a good wolf? Okay, so picture these two wolves. One is snarling and all full of evil intent, longing to bite and rip apart. The other is growling at injustice and hatred and standing guard over the weak and hurting. In the parable, the grandson asked, “How can we make sure that the good wolf wins?” The grandfather responds with, “It is all about which one is fed.” But there is a reality here. Some purposefully feed the evil wolf. There are a lot of reasons why. Continue reading