Karl Barth: Our Freedom, Home, & God’s Directing [QUOTES]


When looking through old seminary research, I ran across some quotes I pulled out from Karl Barth, my favorite theologian (hands down), and got to soak in the beauty of his words. I wanted to share them. Now, for people that don't read academic theology, this is it. It's circular, it repeats itself, and it's unnecessarily complicated … Continue reading Karl Barth: Our Freedom, Home, & God’s Directing [QUOTES]

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Because We’re Not Good: “East of Eden”, a Book Review


We all have those pieces of art--be they movies, books, music, what have you--that upon first exposure we fall in love. We turn the last page or walk out of the theater or concert hall certain that this will surely be added to our list of favorites and long-held companions. Yet, how many times do … Continue reading Because We’re Not Good: “East of Eden”, a Book Review

These Days After Pentecost: On Law & Spirit


In the Christian Church Calendar, we are currently in a season that is numbered according to the Holy Day of Pentecost, the day we celebrate the Holy Spirit falling on the apostles fifty days after Jesus' death (hence the name Penta-cost). Jesus had told the disciples to go out into the world ministering this Gospel to … Continue reading These Days After Pentecost: On Law & Spirit

“The First Christian Sermon” [a sermon, ironically]


Well, I'm finally coming off a whirlwind month of preaching three out of four weeks while our lead pastor is on vacation...and while I keep doing my full-time day job. So now, hopefully I'll be able to post more here again. I do want to share with you these sermons though. This summer, my church … Continue reading “The First Christian Sermon” [a sermon, ironically]

Ascension: Our glory & the Bible’s hinge


Yesterday in the Christian church calendar was Ascension Day, the day we celebrate Christ ascending into heaven 40 days after his resurrection and now sits at "the right hand of God the Father." The Useless Ascension The idea of "Ascension" doesn't seem to get a lot of play nowadays in the Church. This, in spite of the … Continue reading Ascension: Our glory & the Bible’s hinge

After the Final “No”, There Comes a “Yes” [Good Friday Sermon 2017]


I'm really looking forward to doing a happy sermon sometime soon. But alas, I find myself preaching on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday this year--not the happiest of Church Holy Days. And yet there is hope. It's fashionable to emphasize the narrative nature of God's work in the world. And yes, it's true--there is … Continue reading After the Final “No”, There Comes a “Yes” [Good Friday Sermon 2017]

i am not my own (Abide with Me)


...fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide... Both viruses and people get themselves into us, infect us, surprise us, and change us--both for good and ill. And when they depart we are left with that most complex simplicities of emotions, asking simply: what was that? The story, the episode, that previously … Continue reading i am not my own (Abide with Me)

“Darkest Before the Dawn” [a sermon]


During the Advent and Christmas season, my church did a sermon series going through the key texts of Handel's Messiah. I got to preach during that series and only recently realized I never posted it here. I'm beginning to see that light and darkness are constant themes through my preaching, and in this sermon, those … Continue reading “Darkest Before the Dawn” [a sermon]

My Grandfather’s Passing (Hope in Death?)


Today is the sixth anniversary of my Grandfather's death. I am reposting this reflection I wrote at the time. This past Sunday, the day after Christmas, I watched my grandfather die. This is the first death I've experienced of someone very close to me. I've known people who had died, sure, but no one as … Continue reading My Grandfather’s Passing (Hope in Death?)

A Theology of Clean Water, Christmas, & Advent


Tomorrow is my 31st birthday, and instead of any gifts or Facebook Wall well-wishes, I'm asking people to give $31 on my campaign page at Charity: Water to give access to clean water to those in developing country. But it is also Advent and Christmas season, giving an even deeper and fuller reason to give, especially … Continue reading A Theology of Clean Water, Christmas, & Advent

Dyeing Tulips: Calvinism, “Free” Will, & Losing Our Religion


Well, this little miniseries on Calvinism has been fun. We've talked through a book, the history,  and reframed the traditional "points" of Calvinism: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, and Limited Atonement. Today, we will look at the final two emphases of Calvinist belief. I hope you've been challenged to evaluate Calvinism in broader and deeper ways so that, … Continue reading Dyeing Tulips: Calvinism, “Free” Will, & Losing Our Religion

Tweaking Calvinism: Universal Limited Atonement


UPDATE: I've finished this little blog series. We talked about a book, the history, and T-U-L-I-P. Enjoy! I recently offered some proposals on some "less intense" (yet still Reformed) articulations of Calvinism (see above). The election (of a different kind) derailed those posts for a bit, but I wanted to pick it up today, by talking … Continue reading Tweaking Calvinism: Universal Limited Atonement

Calvinism: What it Is, and Why it’s Crazy


UPDATE: I've finished this little blog series. We talked about a book, the history, and T-U-L-I-P. Enjoy! This month, our Theology Book Club is going through Richard Mouw's remarkable book Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport, in which he articulates a vision for how Calvinists might understand and hold their doctrinal convictions. But first, what is this … Continue reading Calvinism: What it Is, and Why it’s Crazy