Quote of Note #137: Bearing the Cross

photo by GAC "Honesty impels me to admit that transformed nonconformity, which is always costly and never altogether comfortable, may mean walking through the valley of the shadow of suffering, losing a job, or having a six-year-old daughter ask, 'Daddy, why do you have to go to jail so much?' But we are gravely mistaken … Continue reading Quote of Note #137: Bearing the Cross

Bible Note #52: James 2:5-7 & the Problem of Wealth

Photo by GAC I think I can safely say that James has a very low opinion of money and the accumulation of wealth.  Along with Paul, James gets his ideas about money and wealth from Jesus.  Jesus and all the New Testament writers are concerned about money and the accumulation of wealth because they believed … Continue reading Bible Note #52: James 2:5-7 & the Problem of Wealth

Quote of Note #136: The Real Nature of True Freedom

photo by GAC "However, I think it is important to note that another trajectory in the Christian tradition argues that we should not understand freedom in libertarian terms. Augustine, for instance, emphasized a 'positive' understanding of freedom as empowerment: I am free insofar as I am able to achieve the good. On this score, freedom … Continue reading Quote of Note #136: The Real Nature of True Freedom

Bible Note #51: James 2:1-4 & Valuing What Jesus Values

I enjoy fishing.  I’m not very good at it, but I do enjoy going out to the water and trying to catch fish.  As I share this with you, we are a day away from the opening of trout season in Pennsylvania.  Opening day can be a pretty crowded time on the water around here.  … Continue reading Bible Note #51: James 2:1-4 & Valuing What Jesus Values

Bible Note #50: James 2:1 and “Us vs. Them” Thinking

There is no question that our Christian faith can become corrupted.  And, of course, one of the ways that our faith can become corrupted is when we adopt bad or wrong doctrines.  That’s why it’s important for us to learn our theology carefully and well. The base of an abandoned steel-making blast furnace; photo by … Continue reading Bible Note #50: James 2:1 and “Us vs. Them” Thinking

Pastor Note #121: Praying for Justice without Praying for Revenge

On the morning that I learned of the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine, I was incensed.  My sense of justice was offended.  It was so simply and plainly and extravagantly wrong that I felt outraged.  And so, I found myself hoping that bad things would happen to Vladimir Putin and all his forces attacking the … Continue reading Pastor Note #121: Praying for Justice without Praying for Revenge

Quote of Note #130: Hungering for the Living God

photo by GAC "I often ask myself the question of when and why we pastors began to believe that our primary calling was to build the church. How did we come to believe that the people we encounter are primarily in the market for a church? How did we forget that they are probably more … Continue reading Quote of Note #130: Hungering for the Living God

Bible Note #49: James 1:27 & Tolerating Stains

My wife and I currently have a four-year-old, ninety-pound golden retriever, Teddy.  We’ve had dogs, often more than one, for nearly twenty years.  Somewhere along the way, it occurred to us that vinyl flooring with a random pattern of brown dog paw prints on it would be a wonderful thing.  Anyone who has ever owned … Continue reading Bible Note #49: James 1:27 & Tolerating Stains

Pastor Note #120: James 1:27 & the Essence of the Christian Life

[Note: The text below is the script for a video/audio teaching I posted to my Facebook page and my YouTube channel.  If you’d like to see the video version, follow the instructions in the material below.] How can human beings live flourishing and authentic lives in this complicated and troubled world?  That’s the question that … Continue reading Pastor Note #120: James 1:27 & the Essence of the Christian Life

Quote of Note #125: Kindness and Gentleness

Photo by GAC "We were created for kind and gentle living. Indeed, kindness and gentleness are two of the fruit-of-the-Spirit characteristics that the apostle Paul mentions in Galatians 5. When Christians fail to measure up to the standards of kindness and gentleness, we are not the people God meant us to be." Richard Mouw, Uncommon … Continue reading Quote of Note #125: Kindness and Gentleness