The “Yes” of God in Jesus Christ
The great poet Samuel Coleridge wrote a poem entitled The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In the poem a ship is being followed by an Albatross, one of the great birds of the sea with a wingspan of up to twelve feet. They live on remote islands in the Pacific Ocean. In the ancient world […]
Charge to December 2012 Graduates of Asbury Theological Seminary
From the iconic Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz we learn afresh of the importance of courage. Who can forget those memorable words, “what makes the muskrat guard his musk? What makes the Hottentot so hot, or put the “ape” in apricot? Courage. Like the Lion, we may feel we’re not very courageous, but […]
Reflections On How The “Love of God” Changes Us
In his 1937 landmark book, The Kingdom of God in America, Richard Niebuhr memorably described the weakened message of the church in his day as follows: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” Tragically, Niebuhr’s devastating critique could easily be […]
Imprecatory Psalms: Are All the Psalms Suitable for Christian Use?
For the past two years, my wife Julie and I have started each day by singing a Psalm and then carefully thinking and praying through the Psalm line by line. We use a collection of metrical psalms known as the Trinity Psalter which draws from many of the great historic metrical Psalm collections (such as the […]
Are there really any atheists?
Professor Richard Dawkins has been called the world’s most notorious atheist. Indeed, his atheism is so militant that he is widely regarded as the poster-child for the modern so-called “new Atheist” movement. His wildly popular books, The God Delusion, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, among others, are regularly cited in atheist articles, books and […]
Reflections on the Embassy Attacks
In recent days we have seen multiple attacks on American embassies or consulates in the Middle East, including those in Lybia, Egypt, and Yemen. Dating back to the Iranian revolution in the 1970’s we have become accustomed to seeing this kind of violence expressed against America. In watching the news of these recent attacks, and […]
What is the Book of Discipline?
One of the beautiful and cherished features of the Methodist tradition is the way in which the pastors are brought into a shared covenant with one another. The whole appointment system under an episcopal form of government (bishops and district superintendents) is made possible because of a shared covenant. We pledge to stand together. We […]
My Charge to the 2012 Graduates of Asbury Theological Seminary
We live in a world which if it were reduced to a jar with a label on it, that label would probably include the word impossible. We live at a time when almost everything around us is framed by impossibilities… ● Peace among Israelis and Palestinians…impossible ● An America where the threat of terrorism is […]
The Black Man in Our Sacred Dreams
It has become almost a stock image, especially in missionary circles: During a fitful night trying to sleep, an African man has a dream of a white man coming to him telling him that a message of salvation or healing is on the way. The missionary then arrives, the gospel is preached, people gladly receive […]
Re-Imagining the Gospel
Many of us will remember the 1993 Re-Imagining conference held in Minneapolis which drew so much national attention. The central purpose of the conference, as I recall, was to help the wider church more fully support the role of women in leadership in the church. This was, and continues to be, an important conversation in […]