Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Cameron Howard, and Sarah Henrich. Article written by Sarah Henrich.
Was Jesus married -- and why do we care?
In the wake of the recent publication of a small (1.5-inch x 3-inch) piece of a Coptic (an ancient language of Egyptian Christians) manuscript, we suddenly have "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife" along with speculation about Jesus' marital status and the presumption that the Church -- that mythical, monolithic entity -- is suppressing the whole truth. …
Songs and hymns that describe the glorious splendors of heaven abound.
One spiritual, "I Got Shoes," focuses on the basics -- shoes, a robe, wings, and a harp. And it promises freedom from hypocrisy: "Everybody talkin' 'bout heaven ain't goin' there."
The song depicts a simple, joyful freedom:
I got shoes, you got shoes, all God's children got shoes
When I get to heaven gonna put on my shoes
I'm gonna walk all over God's heaven, heaven, heaven
Everybody talkin' bout heaven ain't goin' there heaven, …
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." These words from John 1:1 speak to the powerfully incarnational nature of Christ and the Scriptures. They are poetic, metaphorical and reality all at once. As we read the Scriptures, we yearn to understand and live what we find there, to make our faith tangible.
One simple gesture that can do this is to treat the Scriptures, the Bible that we hold in our hands, with reverence. If your congregation uses a gospel procession …
Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Fred Gaiser.
Article written by Fred Gaiser.
One could, I think, answer this question too quickly, either with an “Of course!” or an “Of course not!”
The quick “Of course” could come from a faithful Christian who might then continue, “Yes! This is what I have heard every year during Advent or Lent, when the pastor read the Old Testament lesson from Isaiah about the birth of Immanuel (Isa 7 …
Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Terence Fretheim.
Article written by Terence E. Fretheim.
When asked about their prayers, many people say that God has three answers available: Yes, No, and Wait (or some variation thereof). I invite you to consider an additional response: God has determined to answer prayers in a positive way, but God’s will to do so is being successfully resisted. This resistance may come from within ourselves (e.g., our arrogance), but it may …
Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester. Article written by Craig Koester.
People often wonder what to make of the book of Revelation. Some find its bizarre images of seven-headed monsters and fire falling from the sky confusing at best and terrifying at worst. The Internet has numerous websites that attempt to turn Revelation into a roadmap for the end of the world. They speculate about the identity of the Antichrist and wonder how soon global conflict …
Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Mary Hinkle Shore. Article written by Mary Hinkle Shore.
The New Testament includes four gospels. When two of them introduce Jesus, he is already an adult. The Gospels of Mark and John include no information about the birth of Jesus or his childhood. Our information on the infant and the boy Jesus comes from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. These two gospel writers introduce us to the older generation of Jesus’ family first and …
Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Diane Jacobson.
Article written by Diane Jacobson.
Does Sabbath still matter? Many folks would say no.
Keeping the Sabbath seems kind of lightweight compared to killing, idolatry, adultery, and theft. Many think that keeping the Sabbath is mainly about going to church on Sunday (or synagogue on Friday or Saturday), and that such a practice ought not be considered crucial. But Sabbath is not just another activity. Sabbath is, in fact, …
Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Richard Nysse.
Article written by Richard Nysse.
God's association with war in the Old Testament has long been a disturbing problem for Christians.  The problem becomes even more intense when we observe that God is called a "warrior." Admittedly, there have been disastrous Christian appropriations of the theme (e.g., the Crusades). It has been, to state it plainly, both troubling to consciences and a source of sin for Christians. …
Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Lois Malcolm.
Article written by Lois Malcolm.
Who is the Holy Spirit? We often have difficulty answering this question and perhaps are rightly suspicious of those who are only too eager with a response.
Yet the Spirit is as close to us as our nearest breath. The Hebrew word for "spirit" (ruach) means wind or breath of life -- the animating power in people, animals, and even evil spirits. The same word is used for God's life-giving …