Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sticks and Stones

We teach children the adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” to equip them against hateful and harmful things that people say. The saying means to remind people – the adults passing it on and the children learning it – that what people say about us does not necessarily have anything to do with who we actually are. Continue reading Sticks and Stones

Because he could

Gen 32:28

Translating from one language to another always involves imprecision and a degree of informed speculation.  Such is especially the case with dead languages since the translator cannot have access to a native speaker for advice.  One passage in Genesis has long intrigued me because the almost universally accepted translation does not seem to fit the Continue reading Because he could

Grace: Transactional or Transformational?

Exod 2:24; Judg 2:16; Luke 17:12-19

This time of year means preparation for facing first year students. Most have never engaged in rigorous academic study of the Bible. They come to seminary as I came to my undergraduate religion major, innocently expecting that the Bible says what they have always thought it said and that serious study of it will only confirm what they Continue reading Grace: Transactional or Transformational?

Christians should Engage in Politics

This continues a discussion of Christian discipleship and politics begun last week via excerpts from a series of lectures entitled “Baptist Polity, Biblical Theology, and Responsible Citizenship” that I delivered as the Solon B. Cousins Lectures at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond March 29-30, 2016.  The full text of the lectures is available under the “Sermons and Lectures” tab on this website. Continue reading Christians should Engage in Politics

Render Unto Caesar

Matt 22:21

The political season began in earnest yesterday.  It seems to me that politics represent “an attractive menace” for Christians. What can be more important than determining the values and policies that govern everyone’s everyday lives? Christians must be interested and involved. On the other hand, of course, lie the temptations to exercise control over others, to mistake temporal concerns for eternal, to compromise the core of Christian identity, and a host of others.  I addressed these concerns in a series of lectures entitled “Baptist Polity, Biblical Theology, and Responsible Citizenship” delivered as the Solon B. Cousins Lectures at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond March 29-30, 2016.  Below is an excerpt outlining what I believe to be the principle temptations.  The full text of the lectures is available under the “Sermons and Lectures” tab on this website.

Continue reading Render Unto Caesar

Neutiquam Erro

The ant is knowing and wise, but [it] doesn’t know enough to take a vacation.

– Clarence Day

I am, hopefully, smarter than an insect, so I will be visiting family and friends for the next couple of weeks.  Working less, at least.  Watch this space for an entry July 13.

 

Ora et Labora

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess 5:17)

Two of the last three entries in this blog have reflected on ministry and vocation.  This entry concludes the series (I think).

As I have been thinking about what it means to do God’s work in today’s world, I have held in the back of my mind the fact that the Bible begins the story of humankind with the Continue reading Ora et Labora

There is a Wildness in God’s Mercy

Job 41:12

The results of the newly released Pew Research Center survey of the influence of religion on the everyday lives of Americans reveals that those who pray daily and worship weekly also participate in extended family life, engage in charitable giving or service, and report that they are “happy” in significantly greater degrees than the “non-religious” segment of Continue reading There is a Wildness in God’s Mercy

Holy, Holy, Holy

Isaiah 6 and Worship

Poor Isaiah.  He experienced what we all say that we want to experience in church on Sunday morning:  the undeniable presence of God.  It was not entirely pleasant.  Immediately, the prophet became aware of his unclean lips. Perhaps, seeing God “high and lofty” (Isa 6:1, NRSV) called attention to the inadequacy of the things he had been

Continue reading Holy, Holy, Holy

“Fallen, Fallen is Babylon” (Isa 21:9)

 The Danger of Genre Confusion

During the initial days of the First Gulf War, several local news outlets contacted me wanting to know whether events in the Persian Gulf were fulfilling biblical prophecies against Babylon. I am sure that they expected the Baptist Old Testament professor at the local college to detail an apocalyptic panorama for them.  Instead, I told them, simply,

Continue reading “Fallen, Fallen is Babylon” (Isa 21:9)