You Know, “Love One Another” Really Is Enough

The 4th-century theologian Jerome tells a story about the Apostle John. John was old and frail, unable to walk, so his disciples would carry him into the gathering of believers on the Lord’s Day. Every week these were his words to the congregation: “Little children, love one another.” This went on week after week, until …

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Michael Pahl’s Handy-Dandy Handbook of Christian Words and Phrases

Have you ever had two people understand something you’ve said in two very different ways? It happens to all of us sometime. I’ve had it happen to me when I preach, more than once. This happens even when I use common Christian words or phrases derived from the Bible—maybe especially when I do so. It can …

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“Jesus Died for Our Sins”: Sketching Out Atonement

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’ death lately. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the journey we’ve just been on through Lent, following Jesus to the cross. As I’ve thought about Jesus’ death, both recently and over the years, I keep coming back to the “gospel tradition” the Apostle …

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Some Observations on Doing Bad Things

Okay, forget the theological jargon. Here are a few observations about doing bad things that most people should be able to agree with: 1) Everyone makes mistakes throughout their life. Some seem more prone to this than others. Some of these mistakes are harmless, others cause relatively mild harm. 2) Everyone does something bad at …

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The Straight Lifestyle

“This is one of the things that bothers me most about straight people: the heterosexual lifestyle. They live a life of unrepentant debauchery: casual sex, multiple partners, widespread adultery, easy divorce.” “It’s all about sex for them: they always dress so provocatively, and their talk is filled with cheap sexual innuendo—‘locker room talk.’” “For the …

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Our Thoughts and Words Matter

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 …

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The Horrors of the Apocalypse

Revelation 6, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: domination, war, economic injustice, and death. Revelation 8-9, the Seven Trumpets and Three Woes: volcanoes, earthquakes, plagues of insects and disease, and war, always more war. Revelation 12-13, the Dragon and his Two Beasts: persecution, suffering, martyrdom for those who follow Jesus. Revelation 15-16, the Seven Bowls …

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