There are at least seven passages in the Bible where God is depicted as directly permitting or endorsing slavery. Two of these are in the Law of Moses: God permitted the Israelites to take slaves from conquered peoples permanently, and the Israelites could sell themselves into slavery temporarily to pay off debts (Exod 21:2-11; Lev … Continue reading The Bible is clear: God endorses slavery.
Okay, it’s confession time: I’m an atheist. It’s true. But probably not in the way you’re thinking. Early Christians were sometimes called “atheists,” did you know that? Not because they didn’t believe in God, but because they didn’t believe in the Romans’ gods. In a world in which there were many “gods” and “lords,” for … Continue reading I’m an Atheist
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I’ve tried them in the past, but they’ve never worked. “Resolution” can sounds so decisive, so irrevocable. So guilt-inducing. Let’s call this my pastoral New Year’s goal, then. Here’s what I’m aiming for as a pastor for 2017: to be patient in love, persistent in prayer, faithful in … Continue reading My Pastoral New Year’s Resolution
Nobody said U.S. politics were dull. Like most of the world, I watched the recent U.S. presidential race alternating between fascination, amusement, and horror. Sometimes all three at the same time. It’s the kind of election that will be analyzed from every angle for years to come. I’ve been sorting through my own thinking on … Continue reading Our Thoughts and Words Matter
We all get those emails, forwarded to us by a concerned friend or family member. Or we see the posts as we scroll through our Facebook feed. Or we hear the reports in the coffee shop, passed along in solemn tones. Something alarming has happened in the world, or is about to happen, or is being … Continue reading Being a Discerning Christian in the Information Age (Or, What to Do When You’re Forwarded That Email)
One of my parishioners in a former church used to say that preachers really only have two or maybe three different sermons. “Every sermon they preach—doesn’t matter the text or the title—is really just a variation of one of those two or three sermons,” he’d say. I’m not quite that cynical about the average pastor’s … Continue reading Trust in God, Love One Another
I was getting ready for a busy Sunday at church when I saw something on my news feed about a “shooting in Orlando.” I thought little more than “Here we go again” as I put the finishing touches on my sermon. A sermon on the Greatest Commandment, as it happens, the command to love. At … Continue reading Love will win. Love must win, or we all lose.