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

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

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

Quote of Note #123: Christianity & Coercion

Photo by GAC "Christian civility takes human freedom seriously. I may want people to believe as I do about some basic matters--but what I want is for them to choose to see things that way. This means that I must rely on testimony and persuasion in presenting my views to them. Civil Christians will be … Continue reading Quote of Note #123: Christianity & Coercion

Bible Note #48: Justice for the Weak–Ezekiel 34:11-22

Here God proclaims his love.  God proclaims the bias of his heart.  God proclaims the direction of movement of his heart. photo by GAC Above all, he is for the weak.  Above all, he is for the vulnerable, the wounded, the broken, the lost.  (Does this sound familiar?  “For the Son of Man came to … Continue reading Bible Note #48: Justice for the Weak–Ezekiel 34:11-22

Pastor Note #111: All Types of Pastor

Sedona, AZ; photo by GAC Pastoral ministry involves a dizzying variety of tasks and activities.  Some days I go from counseling someone in a difficult personal crisis to untangling some issue in the church’s financial management and bookkeeping, from researching the best interpretation of the Greek of some passage in the New Testament to meeting … Continue reading Pastor Note #111: All Types of Pastor

Bible Note #45: Nicodemus & Joseph of Arimathea at the Cross–A Lenten Meditation

His old bones ached under the weight of his burden.  Still, he thought, his pain was nothing compared to the pain of dragging a cross through the streets especially in that appalling condition.  The weight of that rough wood grinding on the shredded flesh of the man’s back must have been near unbearable. Stained Glass … Continue reading Bible Note #45: Nicodemus & Joseph of Arimathea at the Cross–A Lenten Meditation

Pastor Note #106: The Right Kind of Christmas Busyness

Winter in Flagstaff, AZ; photo by GAC What a strange Christmas season this is for us all, unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.  I don’t suppose I really need to point that out to anyone, but I mention it just the same.  I don’t know whether this Christmas this year has been busier for you than … Continue reading Pastor Note #106: The Right Kind of Christmas Busyness