Graced Imagination

  How significant, really, are our concerns and problems? Many times, I’ve listened to congregation members as they told me about their challenges, and though a cynic might suppose that this would mean soul-killing sessions in which hangnails are presented as...

“Why Me?” and the Problem of Good

“The problem of evil” is the phrase that philosophers and deep-thinking nineteen-year-olds use when they ask how there could possibly be a God who is all-powerful and truly good when there’s so much rottenness in the world. “Why do bad things happen to good people?”...

Strange Callings

One of the New Testament’s great ways of talking about the church is with the image of the body of Christ. Memorably, the apostle Paul suggests that every part of the body is necessary, from eyelash to toenail. He may not specifically name those parts, choosing...

Corinth, Lost, and Transformation

Our family recently finished making our way through all six seasons of the 2004-2010 television series Lost, the story of the survivors of an airplane crash as they face the challenges of post-crash life on a very mysterious island in the South Pacific. The survivors...

Mystery and Maturity

As I was finishing up my latest reading of Romans, I paused for a moment over a statement in its final chapter, in which Paul refers to “my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but...

To Amsterdam and Back

I spent a lot of time in Amsterdam this week. I managed to get there without boarding an airplane or scrambling to find directions to get where I wanted to go, or working to make sure my money stretched to cover all the expenses. I just had to walk downstairs each...

Up Before Light: Mornings with God

What do we do when we want to start the day with God? We know that Jesus himself got up “while it was still very dark” (Mark 1:35) to take time to pray. It has been a habit of many Christians through the years to begin their day with prayer, from the monks who wake...

Noise pop and “the hope that is in you”

The song begins with the rat-a-tat of a snare drum before dropping the listener into a crashing sea of immensely distorted electric guitar, wavering and feeding back and wavering in and out of pitch. What is that sound? Can it really be that the guitarist is holding...

The Kamikaze and the New Year

When I was an early teenager, our family went to Moncton during our summer vacation and spent a day at the water park, Magic Mountain. Wave pools, waterslides, fun in the sun. And towering above it all was the Kamikaze, the 100-foot-plus speed slide that, according to...

Dear Christmases Past (A Letter to a Departed Friend)

Dear Christmases Past, I remember you fondly and miss you dearly. I remember the time when we all drove to Lockeport to spend Christmas at Nanny and Grampy’s house (Grampy hadn’t yet been renamed “Bucky” by Jordan, who wouldn’t come along for another few years). I...