Being people of the Tent

January 23, 2016 — 13 Comments
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Photo Credit: YoshiSBX via Compfight cc

Long-time readers of this blog know that I offer a view of the Church which is essentially organic and founded squarely on Christ as Head over all. Of course, what you imagine when you read those terms and what I actually mean may be very different, so if you’re unsure you can always go back and read older posts or, better yet, contact me directly and we’ll talk about it.

Knowing this, you long-time readers may be surprised to find out that I am currently working with a local pastor to develop a network of small groups within our community (Did I tell you that already?). Most of the people who make up these groups are members of various institutional churches. Continue Reading…

What is patience?

December 3, 2015 — 2 Comments
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Photo Credit: Rense Haveman via Compfight cc

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23

Last Sunday, I was invited to speak to a group of Christians who have been going through a series on the fruit of the Spirit, exploring what it means for Christ to live in us.

On tap this week was “patience, kindness, and goodness” (Galatians 5:22), so I opted to talk about Christ as our patience. All spiritual fruit, after all, is only a manifestation of the character of Christ. He Himself is the sum of all spiritual things.  Continue Reading…

Broken homes & holidays

November 27, 2015 — Leave a comment
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Photo Credit: Eneritz Burgoa via Compfight cc

These are the unfiltered musings of my heart, nothing more and nothing less.

Holidays are both wonderful and terrible. Wonderful for the past memories we hold and the potential we have to make new ones. Terrible for the very same reasons.

Holidays are full of joy and full of hurt. Honestly, I wonder which way the scales tip when all of humanity is taken into account. I have my suspicions, but I can’t be sure.  Continue Reading…

God made who in His image?

November 5, 2015 — 3 Comments
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Photo Credit: notashamed via Compfight cc

You may already know (or you may be surprised to find out) that the Creation and Flood stories of the book of Genesis are not unique to ancient literature. That is, they are not the only ones, or the earliest, in existence. The Epic of Gilgamesh is one example of an ancient story depicting the Creation of the world that predates the Biblical account.

If this disturbs you, it shouldn’t. The Genesis account is different from other Ancient Near East creation stories in certain ways that make powerful statements about God. One of those ways came to my attention recently, and I’d like to share it with you.  Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: dougclemens via Compfight cc

Years ago I worked at a garden center, where one of our best-selling items was a stone statue of Francis of Assisi. Surrounded by all manner of woodland creatures, the statue was true to the legends surrounding Francis. In fact, Francis felt a certain kinship to the birds of the air, and for that matter, to all living creatures. He would refer to the sparrow as “brother bird.” One story even tells of him taming a ravenous wolf through nothing but the gentle spirit of Christ he exuded toward the poor animal.

My God & My All: The Life Story of Saint Francis of AssisiSo I’ve always been intrigued by Francis. When I was offered a copy of Elizabeth Goudge’s My God and My All: The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, I couldn’t resist.

First, the negatives: The author is obviously enamored with Francis. She has nothing but arduous and flowery praise for all of Francis’ ways, even when those ways border on legalism or silly medieval superstition. I also would have liked more clarity on what is acknowledged, or at least believed to be, historical facts about Francis’ life, as opposed to what passes for legend. Some of the tales in this book seem obviously legendary (such as the taming of the wolf I mentioned above), yet Goudge recounts them as history. At least a disclaimer would have been nice. Continue Reading…

Dr. Michael Heiser of the Naked Bible blog & podcast

Dr. Michael Heiser of the Naked Bible blog & podcast

Today I’d like to introduce you to a few new resources for study, starting with the work of Mike Heiser. Mike is a scholar in the field of biblical studies and the ancient Near East and the “scholar-in-residence” of Logos Bible Software.

Mike’s podcast, The Naked Bible, has been a recent source of valuable information that I happened upon through a friend’s recommendation. Currently I am thirty-five episodes in and I must say the content has only gotten richer with each episode.  Continue Reading…

Remember the Sabbath

October 12, 2015 — Leave a comment
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Photo Credit: kutruvis nick via Compfight cc

In our consumer-driven society, the concept of Sabbath is radical.

On the seventh day, just stop. No working, no regular schedule–just spend time alone, with family, at rest, at play.

The Jewish year of Jubilee is even more radical (Leviticus 25:8-13). Every 50th year the people were told to let the land rest, to set their slaves free, and to return property to anyone who had lost theirs over the previous 49 years. It was a divine interruption of the systems of man that bind, oppress, and drive people to the brink of insanity.  Continue Reading…

A personal update & prayer

September 25, 2015 — 5 Comments

The crickets are making hay on the blog these days. Apparently life didn’t get the memo that I have three reading groups to keep up with and a blog to maintain.

Nevertheless, In Search of the City‘s readership has grown slowly and steadily over its short lifetime. I pray that you continue to find it valuable in your quest to know the Lord. And I hope you know how much you’ve helped me along the way, too.

Speaking of which, my journey has diverged again onto a new and curious path. If you’ve been around for a while you are probably familiar with my story of leaving the institutional church, the house church experiment I was part of for three years and subsequent time in the ecclesiastical wilderness, as well as my recent attempts at pioneering a deeper unity among Christians in my locale. Continue Reading…

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…