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Salvation

Among significant portions of U.S. Christians, a widespread false dichotomy exists that views “faith” as distinct from service, action and vocation. […] Read More

One of the persisting questions in theological interpretation is what actually happened to our forebears as sin entered the world. A long tradition speaks of “total depravity,” which means we are rendered incapable of any good as our wills are in bondage to evil. Others will speak less of an intensive view – as rotten […] Read More

Jesus’ life and teachings didn’t matter very much. At least that’s the idea one gets from those U.S. Christians who see his only earthly purpose in coming to die as a penalty for human sinfulness – and then rocketing off to heaven to fix up some cushy mansions for our afterlife while awaiting our arrival. […] Read More

The cross of Jesus is not an isolated transaction that changes the divine relationship to humanity. Rather, as I noted yesterday, it seems to be a disclosure of the pattern of God’s relationship to the human family all along. Continuing the reflection on the pattern of the testimony, which is the covenant community’s expression of […] Read More

Good Friday was bad long before it was good, at least from outward appearances. God was being crucified by all that can go bad in the world: pride, jealousy, distrust, wound, self-interest, sin. It’s no accident the Gospels tell us that, as Jesus was dying, it grew dark in the middle of the day. Few […] Read More

The annual cycle of the church’s participation in the biblical drama keeps alive in our tradition the foundational experiences that make us who we are. In that drama, we are invited to graft our story onto that story, making it our own. Another implicit part of that invitation is to see the part of the […] Read More

What does it mean to “accept Christ”? What are we asking a person to do? Traditionally, this has involved believing as true certain things about Jesus: that he is the Son of God and, thus, divine himself; that he was born of a virgin; that he died on the cross for our sins and was […] Read More

The famed and feisty psychologist, Fritz Pearls, was once asked by a well-meaning Christian if he was saved. He responded by saying, “I am still trying to figure out how to be spent!” His retort echoes a line from Theresa of Avila who states that once we reach the highest mansion of maturity, we are […] Read More

We use the phrase, “safe and sound,” often enough that it’s easy to think that the two words are almost synonymous and that the distinction is a matter of nuance. But it’s not. Someone once illustrated the difference. “The steamship whose machinery is broken may be brought into port and made fast to the dock. […] Read More

A “Markan sandwich” encapsulates two of my favorite gospel healing narratives. This “sandwich” describes a literary device used often in the Gospel of Mark in which the author tells a story that is interrupted by another story. The second story is told in its entirety, and then the first story is finished. In Mark 5:21-24, […] Read More