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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Do Christians Really Need to Believe in Jesus’ Resurrection?

It’s a question I’ve heard many times over the years: “Do Christians really need to believe in Jesus’ resurrection?” It is, after all, a pretty difficult idea to accept. And this is not just a modern difficulty—it’s been obvious to humans for a very long time that dead people stay dead. It can also seem …

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I’m an Atheist

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 …

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“The Word Made Flesh”: On Doing Theology Afresh

A Jew, a Greek, and a Roman walk into a church. No joke. Imagine it: a Jew, a Greek, and a Roman walk into a church, back in the first century. Let’s say it’s a gathering of believers in Ephesus. And imagine that they happen to do this on the day a brand-new opening to …

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Seeing God Face to Face

Seeking God’s Face “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, O Lord, do I seek. There are many ways to think about Christian spirituality, but these words from Psalm 27 do a pretty good job of summing it all up. You could say that the spiritual life is all about “seeking God’s face.” Different …

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Christians Need to Be More Conservative, Not Less

It’s happened again. The other day someone casually referred to me as “liberal” (don’t worry, Peter, I don’t hold it against you). Every time that happens I kind of smile to myself—if it’s said innocently—or else I cringe inwardly—if it’s said pejoratively. It’s not that I particularly mind being called “liberal.” In some circles that’s …

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“We should re-think our theology? Say what?”

Earlier this summer I preached a sermon on grieving the losses in our lives, whether it’s the loss of someone we love through death or the loss of something we have invested with great significance—a relationship, a career, a home. In the sermon I talked about the need to adjust to the new reality of …

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