After decades of Biblical study, I continue to discover there is much deeper meaning than I had ever imagined.
Christ calls me to
-people I'd not expect;
-be politically active for justice;
-love without restriction;
-accept those from whom I would normally recoil;
-be a student of the Bible and also the society in which I live;
-see the economic, social, and spiritual struggles of others;
-be a prophetic voice for justice, mercy, compassion, grace, and love;
What about you?
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Pet Bible-Thumping Peeves: Where Two Or Three Are Gathered
“Where two or three are gathered, there am I in their midst.”
I have heard that sentence used all my life to encourage a small gathering that their faithful presence is rewarded with God’s presence. Where do I start?
1- What I do, where I go, and what I think does not impact God’s presence. As the Psalmist declared, “If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.” (Psalm 139:8) As Jesus said later on in Matthew, “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
2- The number of people gathered for prayer meeting of Sunday worship is not what Jesus was addressing. God is with me already. If two of us get together, God is already there. God was already with each of us en route, so saying that our gathering makes a difference makes no sense.
3- Jesus was actually talking about people being reconciled to one another. That is the theme of Matthew 18. Jesus was talking about forgiveness and the lengths we should travel for the purpose of being reconciled with one another.
Let me offer this translation of the passage. It fits better with the context than our traditional stress on seeking God’s blessing for a low turnout at church: “For where two or three are reconciled (joined together, made friends, or united) in my name, there I am in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20)
When we do the hard work of becoming reconciled after a disagreement, we are inviting Jesus to be the healing ointment that draws us together in unity. We don’t need to twist Jesus’ words to make us feel better about a low turnout at church. Instead, we should be focusing on the hard work of getting beyond our disagreements and arguments to work for unity in the body of Christ. When we do that, we make Christ’s presence a reality, the glue that effectively binds us together.
The Bible on Homosexuality
The Bible is not arranged topically to address the issues that arise in our lives or in the consciousness of any culture or society. It is not a book we can easily run to in order to find neat answers to the concerns raised by people living far removed from the circumstances of the Ancient Near East of First Century Palestine. That is just not how it was designed.
Life's issues are generally much more complex than what we might dig from the Bible by quickly looking up a few words in a concordance or web search. Some themes are treated throughout the texts that compose the Bible. Others are hardly present at all. What one text may seem to say another might spin differently, challenging us to take a closer look at the first passage and the second, as well.
When it comes to a topic like homosexuality, we are dealing with a short list of passages that may or may not have anything to do with what we understand as homosexuality. To further complicate matters, …
constantly hear folks talking about how horrible socialism is. In the
USA, we have fashioned a definition of socialism that has little to
do with socialism and much to do with the vague ideological enemy of
the cold war era red scare.
of all, socialism is an economic system, not a political one. It is
on the continuum with capitalism. Communism lies on a different axis
with democracy, theocracy, autocracy, and such. While capitalism
elevates capital as the most important element in an economic system,
socialism elevates the public welfare as the most important and
valued element. This is often looked at as labor versus capital, but
my understanding is that it is more than labor. It is the social
sphere that includes labor as well as those who are unable to provide
labor in the economic system.
to theology, doctrine, and Biblical witness, however, we find those
attitudes cast against the nebulous enemies of the nation from our
Red Scare days greatly impacting our attitudes …
Why does the US far outpace every other developed nation in rates of gun violence? What makes us so special that our per capita gun violence rate is 3x higher than the next developed nation? Why do we have more mass shootings than Yemen in a time of war? -Is it a mental health problem? It would seem that women and men of color are not affected like white males. Maybe it's something in our water supply that Canada and Spain don't have. -Is it a societal ill based on bad parenting and discipline? We are the only developed nation with the symptoms of gun violence, mass shootings, and school shootings. Are we that much worse at child discipline and parenting skills than the Europeans and Aussies? -Is it a result of Hollywood and video games? The rest of the developed world watches the same shows and plays the same video games. They don't act out the same way. The Japanese traditionally watch much more television than we do. -Is it a result of the US abandoning God and "taking…