I live in a neighborhood where most of my neighbors have much darker skin than I do. I wish more of my city were like my street. Demographic maps based on census data show that my city’s neighborhoods, like most, tend not to be diverse. Even if it were not my friends and neighbors that we are talking about when unarmed black men are killed by police, I would not be able to stay silent. But I suspect a big issue is precisely that not only the “all lives matter” crowd, but even people like me saying “black lives matter,” are often making theoretical statements about other people, living in other neighborhoods. And so I felt the need to say something more personal, to my friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
July 10, 2016
Recently in my Sunday school class, we continued a discussion that started the previous time, sparked by Hebrews 12, which depicts God as one who disciplines—or more literally “whips” or “flogs”—his children for their benefit. There was general agreement that, while some ancient people may have viewed misfortunes that came their way as divine punishment, there are good scientific, moral and even biblical grounds for challenging that viewpoint.
October 18, 2013
Apparently the term “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin phrase “mandatum novum” meaning “new commandment.” The reference is to John 13, which features the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, followed by his statement about a new commandment he has given them, to love one another. We actually reached this passage in my class on the Gospel of John yesterday, and had an interesting discussion about whether this commandment is “new,” and if so, in what sense.
March 28, 2013
Someone asked a question along these lines on Facebook recently, asking what one piece of evidence in particular persuades people to adopt the view that they do. There are multiple things that I find particularly indicative. The reference to a dome in Genesis 1 is itself significant. But the point becomes even clearer if one knows other creation stories from the Ancient Near East.
February 5, 2013
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Quite a number of people are discussing t-shirts like this one (or the wider use of the sentiment expressed on it) in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. I am glad that fundamentalists are finally being a bit more honest about what they mean by “God.”
December 18, 2012
Liberty Counsel and the American Family Associationhave posted their Tenth Annual “Naughty and Nice” list, encouraging Christians to shop at stores that wish them a Merry Christmas rather than a mere “Happy Holidays.” Am I the only one who remembers a time, not so long ago, when Christians thought that their goal should be to bring the Christian message to those who needed to hear it, and not merely to surround themselves with other Christians to exchange Christian greetings with one another? I didn’t think so.
December 3, 2012
Libby Anne and Fred Clark have kindly pointed out that we have just entered the month, October 2012, about which writers from Focus on the Family penned a “letter from the future” almost 4 years ago, detailing the changes that would allegedly result if Barack Obama were to become president.
October 3, 2012