Made In the Image

After college, I stumbled into the opening pages of the Bible and read the story i had often seen reenacted on the Sunday school flannel-graph board but had not yet fully understood:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27).

The poetry and rhythm of Genesis 1 culminate in this declaration of God to create humanity. As part of the material, physical creation, human beings are declared to be "very good." It is a good thing to be creaturely--to be made of physical stuff. Yet for centuries after the coming of Jesus, the early church had to fight against teachings that diminised the role of the physical world and that inappropriately elevated the spiritual world.

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Angels, Satan and Demons




Bruce & Stan interviewed me on their TV show, Christianity 101 about what the Bible calls the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12) and how this affects the Christian life.

Joy

I read a great definition of "joy" today:

Joy is simply letting God have the last word.

This really resonates with me. It makes it so much easier to clarify the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is when I get the last word - when things are the way I want them, when circumstances match my expectations -- but joy is something deeper, wider and better. It comes when I want God's blessings for me more than I want my blessings for me.


The Failure of Religion

Jesus was not killed by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix. Beware those who claim to know the mind of God and who are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform. Beware those who cannot tell God's will from their own. Temple police are always a bad sign." (Barbara Brown Taylor, from A Deadly Mix)

Tags | Belief

Let's Discover Together

I absolutely love Jesus Christ. I don't think he is a figment or a crutch or some religious hangover. I think he is real and alive and wonderfully engaged in the world today. But, I have serious problems with the religion that bears His name. As a pastor, I have been a follower of Christ as well as a follower of Christianity. And I can't help notice there is a growing difference between the two. (Maybe that difference has always been there and I've just never seen it until now. Maybe each new generation must come to grips with this difference, as the church grows increasingly removed from its founder.)

My primary contention is this: Much of what passes for modern, western Christianity isn't of Jesus. We can (and do) lose Jesus right in the middle of prayer meetings and worship services. We can miss him in the Bible and in the church. As the Scriptures remind us, not all worship is pleasing to God, not all church services are attended by Jesus, not all teaching is sound teaching, and not all prayer is "in Jesus's name."

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About
husband to Justina; father to Nathan, Hannah and Seth; pastor and teacher living in Southern California; author of 4 books, the latest of which just was released and is called 'Why The Bible Matters.'


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