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Spirituality is Not a Personality Trait

I’ve had some interesting discussions this week about various churches’ perception of “Spirituality, Love & Humility,” My ministry is non-denominational and I travel around a bit so I encounter all kinds of interesting perceptions of these matters. In the movie Joyful Noise the choir director struggles with her...
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The Idolatry of the Modern Mind

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time irritating my teachers. I had the tendency to say, “What does that mean?” and “What am I supposed to do with that?” or “Why does this matter?” I was more practical back then than I am now...
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Nazarenes, Rednecks, and Other Well-meaning Slurs

I love puzzles, always have. Growing up, I saw puzzles of all kinds as a natural exercise of my desire to be a detective someday, tracing out subtle clues to help me zero in on bad guys. Becoming a biblical scholar, then, has always seemed right on target...
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Weirdo Fixations and the Heart of True Religion

During my recent convalescence after surgery I received a disturbing letter from an earnest young man who was understandably distraught over his shunning from a congregation for whom he felt deep familial attachments. I know I joke around a lot, but I intend no jest here. His church...
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The Obliterating Folly of Single Text Christians

There’s been a lot of chatter on social media of late about torture. Now, torture is a powerful weasel word… i.e. a term that comes pre-loaded with good or bad sentiment meant to manipulate the outcome of an exchange without having to resort to actual discussion, facts, or...
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Confessions of a Middle Aged Professor, Part 2

In my last post, I took an honest look at my early years as a biblical studies professor. I considered a handful of things I could have done better as I was developing as a biblical theologian and scholar and attempting to minister in a highly cultured context...
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Confessions of a Middle Aged Professor, Part 1

In studies of cross-cultural communication, I have never ceased to be amazed at the potential for a disconnect even between those raised together. The unique struggles between nature & nurture, between innate personality & individual experience causes people to assess shared events differently, fostering frequent misunderstanding of each...
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Wisdom, Folly & “Blaming the Victim”

I recently saw a picture of young woman from India holding up a sign that read “Don’t ask your daughters not to go out, Ask your SONS to BEHAVE.” (sic) I am well aware of the plight of women in the cultures of India. I have been traveling...
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Some Lessons Can Only Be Learned IN the Fiery Furnace

In a recent set of posts on Hebrews 11:3, I was pretty brutal on Word Faith teachers… what some call Hyper-faith teachers, or the Name-it-Claim-it bunch. They teach that God HAS promised you a rose garden, and, if you aren’t living in it, that’s your fault; if you...
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Law, What’s it Even Good For

So, in a recent post I discussed the church’s first heresy (Judaizers/the circumcision party) who sought to require gentiles to become Jews before becoming Christians, or in addition to becoming Christian, as if a proper expression of Christianity is encapsulated in a fixation on the letter of the...
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The First Christian Heresy & First Church Council

So, I’ve been discussing Torah food laws and how the two main texts that Christians appeal to for ignoring them are improperly interpreted. Mark 7 is talking about Halakic regulations popular during Jesus’ day which sought to drive a wedge of hatred between Jew and Gentile, abandoning the...
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Torah Food Laws & Gentile Lobsters

One of the challenges of being a Biblical theologian rather than a systematic theologian (no disrespect to Systematic theology or Systematic Theologians intended) is to speak about theological issues rooted in particular texts without being drawn unwilling into the systematic entanglements of most informed Christian’s existing mental categories....
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