Context counts!

August 20, 2015 — 6 Comments
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Photo Credit: catherinelaceyphoto via Compfight cc

My desire to reconstruct a viable model of first century history has got me wading out into the deep end of the pool. The kiddie pool, no doubt, but the deep end, no less.

I’m in two different reading groups right now, one going through the latest in New Testament scholarship and another surveying a plethora of literature on Second Temple Judaism. Among other things, they are teaching me to never stop learning, for the moment you stop learning is the moment you stop growing.

Another major lesson they are reaffirming for me is the simple fact that context counts. Like, seriously.  Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: nekiy via Compfight cc

I recently read Peter Hoover’s book The Secret of the Strength, a unique expose on the early Anabaptist movement that took place in the shadow of the Reformation in the 16th century.

Peter grew up as a Mennonite who traced his spiritual lineage back to the Anabaptists, and in particular to Menno Simons, a prominent teacher and preacher who became a disciple of Christ after years of being a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. Like most of us have done, Peter began to question why his tradition had departed so far from its roots. This led him to study the original movement from which his group sprang. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: JayLaffin via Compfight cc

Given that the podcast is now on iTunes I figured it was time for a new installment. The fifteenth, to be exact. In this episode I talk about the need for those who will come alongside the people of the world and tell them the old, old story of the gospel in a new and living way, just like Jesus did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. So open your Bible to Luke 24 and dive in.


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What’s new?

July 14, 2015 — 3 Comments
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Photo Credit: MynameisDM via Compfight cc

Good news!

The In Search of the City podcast is now live on iTunes. I’m hoping this will increase exposure and make it easier for certain people to listen. Go check it out when you get a minute, and if you have time, leave a rating or review. From what I know this will help get the word out.

Also, have you noticed the new In Search of the City logo? Just scroll up a few bars if you haven’t seen it yet (Email readers: you may need to allow images in your inbox to make the logo appear in your browser). I thought after three years it was time for a fresh look, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the new design. Continue Reading…

One Day

June 21, 2015 — Leave a comment

This is a simple poem I wrote in memory of my dad on Father's Day. Perhaps it will resonate in some way with you. If not, maybe you'll just think it is nice. Either way, I offer it here for your reading pleasure along with a musical adaptation of Psalm 23.

memories

ONE DAY

You took your leave from us five years ago.
So long, it seems.
But you are still with me. I sense you.
I have memories, yes, but the sense is stronger. Deeper. The memories only serve to heighten it.
You are still with me, as much, or more, than before.
Yet I miss you. Continue Reading…

As you can probably tell from the recent slow-down in blog production, I've been busy. Work, family, garden--you know, all those things you stay busy with yourself. But I ran across this quote from Karl Barth (shared by a friend on Facebook) that I thought you might enjoy.

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Photo Credit: RvB3nS via Compfight cc

“I have been asked to reply in a kind of testimony to the
question what Jesus Christ is for me. The request jolted me at
first, for I felt reminded painfully of the earlier question of
Pietists and the present-day question of theological
existentialists. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: Oh Kaye via Compfight cc

Once, I was part of an informal group of Christians who came across another informal group of Christians who were meeting in a different part of town. Upon finding one another, we began to cross-pollinate and attend one another’s gatherings. Eventually someone floated the idea that we should merge our respective groups and meet together as one, if only on occasion.

So we tried, and we failed. We had some good times, but in the end the merger just would not “take.” This despite the fact that there were people in both groups who had a passion for unity and for the Church to assemble around Christ alone.  Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: powelli via Compfight cc

It’s been a while, but a new episode of the podcast is finally ready.

The subject this week is “The blessedness of the un-offended,” or “How to be hurt without being offended.” It is a brief and engaging look at the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist.

Here are the scriptures referenced in this episode: Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: royalflusher via Compfight cc

For years I have dreamed of a new New Testament, one that immerses the reader in the first-century story more than any other Study Bible or commentary has yet to do. I’m pleased to see the recent move toward more Chronological study Bibles and “Story” versions of Scripture void of chapter and verse, but I still feel like the best is yet to come.

A few people are moving in this direction. Frank Viola has written his Untold Story of the New Testament Church (I even hear there is a new version in the works). Gene Edwards did some work along similar lines before him. Bill Heroman is working like a dog between deliveries (he’s an amateur historian/truck driver) to delve into first century history, memory chronology, narrative theory, ect. Then of course there is a plethora of scholarly material one can use to piece together various strands of early Christian tradition. But again, I still feel like the best is yet to come.  Continue Reading…

Here is another article from my foray at House2House magazine on the practice of giving among Christians in simple church settings.

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Photo Credit: Lubori via Compfight cc

It goes without saying that the practice of giving is good. “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” the Lord is attributed by Paul as having said (Acts 20:35). Certainly we can all agree on that.

It is tempting, however, once you have discarded the obligatory “ten percent” mindset of institutional Christianity, to “throw out the baby with the bathwater” and forgo all intentional giving. But this tendency is mostly reactionary and is not characteristic of the Spirit of Christ.

Sure, “tithing” (as commonly taught and practiced) is not a New Testament concept. In fact, there is not a shred of evidence that the first century churches practiced a ritual weekly offering of ten percent of their income. Continue Reading…