Having grown up in the Baptist tradition, it took me many years to fully appreciate the depth of the Church Calendar. For starters, the Christmas Season begins with Christmas Day and continues for 12 days (thus the song). Right now, Christians everywhere are entering the Advent Season in anticipation and preparation for Christmas.
Advent is celebrated with four candles; one additional candle being lit each Sunday before Christmas. It starts with darkness and moves toward increasing light. Doubt leads us to faith as key questions carry us forward. Quiet desperation for God invites us to come and see “God With Us”. In many ways, Advent and Christmas mark the “New Year” for the Church. Continue reading
So a friend of mine recently brought to my attention a video about “Astro-Theology 101.” In it, the claim is made that Christianity is merely an expression of pagan astrological mythology, and that the apostles themselves knew in advance that they were not telling an actual biography of Jesus. (You may view the video for yourself here.)
I have a long-time interest in reviewing and understanding a wide variety of pseudo-scholarship in both science and religion, so I watched it while I was waiting for the Late Show to come on. What makes this video so powerful is the authoritative voice of the narrator, the use of half-truths, and then threading everything together with a kind of logic all its own. Continue reading
So frequently, we miss the context. It shouldn’t surprise us, because it was a different time and a different place. We just need to be mindful of it.
We know that Jesus wasn’t buried for three full days and three full nights. By Hebrew reckoning, a part of a day counted as a day. Jesus was hung on a cross and crucified on what we know to be “Good Friday.” We talk about it cheerfully now, but it took a long time for Christians to celebrate the cross, as we do today. This was a most shameful and violent way to die! Continue reading
Feast or famine.
That was a common refrain when I was on staff with InterVarsity. It was critical for any new staff member to focus on making friends locally and to get involved with a church. Any ministry demands personal support, but itinerant college work can be especially demanding.
No matter how much effort we put into it, we had a special kind of fellowship as staff. Most of us did not live near each other. We saw each other extensively a few times each year for student retreats and staff meetings. For the long stretches between, we fasted. Those days and nights we could be together, we were an intimate family. Even when we came together from completely different regions, we knew we were “related” in a special way. Continue reading
The challenge in attributing reasons behind big decisions is this: when circumstances change, you are pressed to re-evaluate what you are doing and why. In my last post, I mentioned that Steve Hayner was a big reason for me applying to work at Columbia Theological Seminary. It’s quite easy to ask myself, “So now what?”
I believe it was Steve who told a story about Paul Little at a staff gathering in New York. Paul was a well known leader in InterVarsity who wrote a well-known booklet for InterVarsity Press called Affirming the Will of God. Paul was offered a huge opportunity to work for another organization and was torn between staying with InterVarsity and going on to something new. One morning, he walked into the office of Dr. John Alexander, the president of InterVarsity at that time. He was clearly frustrated, Continue reading
This week, I received a voicemail from a former InterVarsity supervisor who knew that it’s been a tough season for me. I made it no secret, almost three years ago, that a major reason I wanted to work at Columbia Theological Seminary was for the opportunity to work under Steve Hayner’s leadership again. As a writer and editor, it was a special privilege to support someone whose voice I knew so well and resonated deeply within me.
Steve was the epitome of what I call a “quiet charismatic.” In a single meeting, he had the ability to connect with people in a way that stuck with them indefinitely in a profoundly personal way. Steve valued change leadership, but never in a way that emphasized his role as leader. He brought diverse people together to accomplish great things. And as is well know to anyone who knows anything about him, he exemplified joy!
A few weeks ago, Continue reading