Reading Romans

Something always bugged me about Paul’s letter to the Romans. Growing up in the atmosphere of Evangelical churches, principally Baptist, I absorbed the accepted narrative of what was going on in Romans. Paul wrote a letter to the house churches in Rome. It is Paul’s “Theological letter” meaning it is this treatise on the Gospel, meaning how to get saved. Sure, Paul always has some practical application for believers signaled by the transition in 12:1 … Continue reading

Mother’s Prayers

When I was younger one of the main targets of comedians was their mothers-in-law. Down through the years I have poked fun at my own mother-in-law from time to time. Like most of us – OK, ALL of us – she could sometimes be a walking contradiction as she walked by faith in a physical and troubled world. She seemed to be able to find a dark cloud behind any silver lining – but then … Continue reading

Blind Spots

Recently I sat down at lunch with a church leader. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. The elders (deacons for your Baptists) were having trouble agreeing on a vision for their church. The pastor was trying to lead them in one direction and  some elder says in so many words the most hard-headed sentence ever to leave the walls of a church business meeting: “We never did it that way before. Why can’t we … Continue reading

When you’re rich…

“When you’re rich, they think you really know!” is one of our favorite lines from one of our favorite songs from one of our favorite films, Fiddler on the Roof. It comes at the end of a stanza in “If I were a Rich Man,” a daydream that nearly everyone has had at one time other another, where he describes how others would treat him if he were a man of means: … Continue reading

Rainy Day People

Christians are supposed to be happy, happy, happy – not fearful or depressed about difficult situations in life, right? Those of us involved in discernment ministries or missions to cults and false religious movements are focused on false teaching and false teachers. Even as we challenge both, we very often encounter hurting people who are attempting to reach a family member or close friend who is lost and involved in a cult or false religious … Continue reading

For God and Country

We just celebrated the 4th of July. For some it is little more than a day off, perhaps a time to picnic or gather with family or friends to simply enjoy the fine sunny day that the 4th of July usually is. Perhaps seeing a parade or a fireworks display is included in the day’s events. Sadly, like too many “holidays,” it seems to have largely lost its original meaning to many of us. On … Continue reading