There was something unusual about the Macedonians. They did not have to be cajoled, fund-raised, or guilt-tripped into giving out of their scarce means in order to help others. Instead they craved the chance to do so. Most will donate to a charitable cause when they see that it would be politically incorrect if they do not. It is another thing when folk purposefully seek out opportunities to give and to serve. Such radical turn-around of nature is the work of God, through J
This may seem an inane thing to say; as if anyone these days could really be owned by another person. But look deeper. If I refuse to speak out against injustice because I fear loss of prestige, I am the servant of other people's opinions. If I am afraid of being ridiculed for my faith; if I act against my own conscience in order to keep my job, I belong to someone else's conscience. This phenomenon has another side. Those who bring sanctions to bear against people who diffe
Most people believe freedom is a basic, non-negotiable human right. Convinced that this is a self-evident truth, they will fight and die to achieve it. But there is a higher value than freedom. Sometimes freedom insisted on for its own sake, can become oppressive. What if the exercise of my freedom causes angst in another person? Personal freedom only comes into its own when it can be foregone in another's interest. Love is greater than freedom.
The cares of this life press hard on us. We feel their weight. Their reality cannot be discounted. Yet faith refuses to view them as ultimately consequential for human destiny. There are higher, more consequential verities for which humans were created. They are and will be finally decisive.
"Do not be terrified by them or I will terrify you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, and iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land--against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land"(Jeremiah 1:17,18). As God's messenger, Jeremiah is advised that as he need not be afraid of any man, nor the highest religious and civil authorities in the land. The world in its wisdom always ranges itself against the gospel
It comes naturally, and therefore easily for most of us: we feel less responsible for the well-being of a person or group of persons, the less well-known they are to us. If they are total strangers, then the sense of obligation we experience toward them is apt to be nil. In the worldview inspired by Jesus, the disciple knows no strangers, only brothers. How much safer would it be, living in our suburbs if routinely ignored and avoided folk felt were treated as if they were
Earnest men and women of faith are sometimes convinced that the 'message' their church, or their faith movement gives out to the world, is the truth of God, but the witness of other ministries is not, or not quite. It ought to be obvious that such brash confidence does not fit well with the sentiment of today's Scripture. Pride is a subtle evil--especially spiritual pride. The only word Christian agencies are authorized to share is that one which turns people toward each oth
Yes, WE TOO. That is to say, even the lawful, moral and devout ought not believe in their own decency and piety. They ought not do so because it is far from trustworthy. Religion that is redemptive never trusts itself. Its gaze is fastened on that which lies away in another direction. It is absorbed in God's work that he has done in his Son Jesus. This work is so thorough, so admirable, so praiseworthy--it is sufficient for God and man.
The spirituality known as 'following Jesus,' is a perspective of spacious freedom. Many who would be religious, regard such freedom with suspicion and hostility. Denying and rejecting it, they have no recourse but to seek to destroy in others, what they lack in themselves. Being in bondage, this is their life work. They are false brothers.
How would this verse read if Paul was writing now, in the twenty-first century? Like this, perhaps? 'There is neither white nor black, rich nor poor, gay nor straight, Liberal or Conservative, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' How do you suggest Paul would write today?