Terms of Endearment

Jehovah’s Witnesses often argue that they are the only true Christians, because they are the only ones who know and use God’s proper name, Jehovah. Of course, the counter argument could be made that God’s proper name is NOT Jehovah at all, but YHWH, but this essay was an online response I gave to the JW charge that the churches disrespect God by not calling on him by His name… My dad’s name is Vaughn. … Continue reading

The Gift

(Originally printed “The Gift” In the November/December 1996 MCOI Journal) What is it about Christmas that draws us every year to celebrations of this holiday? What is so special about Christmas? Christmas is a special time because of the happiness it brings. It’s a time of giving and receiving, a family time, a time when we feel especially close to friends and loved ones. It is a time of happy reminiscing; remembering the carefree happy … Continue reading

The Cardboard Christ

  Have you ever noticed how many people believe in a one-dimensional “cardboard Christ”? We may not think about it in those terms, but it surfaces in various ways. At this time of year, the babe in the manger is certainly the predominant Christ. Everyone likes sweet, cuddly babies with their cute cherub faces. Unfortunately, that is all many acknowledge about Jesus – that He was born in a manger 2,000 years ago – and … Continue reading

Restore My Soul

I call to you with one lung exploded, from breathing the dust of the earth, With my tongue eroded from licking the crust of the Earth, Thus begins one of my favorite songs. The artist is a band big in the 90s called The Choir. It is a modern day Psalm of redemption. The imagery is raw and grotesque. Then again so is our sin. I once heard my Old Testament professor, Thomas Howe ask … Continue reading

Spirit in the Sky

On the way back from speaking at Wheatland Congregational Church in Wheatland, Michigan, the 1969 Norman Greenbaum song, “Spirit in the Sky,” kept popping into my head. As it happens, my friend Fred Slagle (who is the pastor of Wheatland) and I have similar personalities and share some common experiences. We are both part of the cry-baby boomer generation; we were not believers until we were married adults with children; and we both loved  … Continue reading

To Be or Not to Be – That is the Question

“Honest questions deserve honest answers, but dishonest questions don’t deserve any answers” is a bit of advice passed on to us by our friend and co-founder of Jews for Jesus, the late Jahn Moskowitz. It came at the end of a story he was relaying about a conversation he had with a Jewish atheist who raised an objection to Christianity. Would God reject the man’s “good” mother when she died if she didn’t receive the … Continue reading