Youth Minster Job DescriptionPrimary qualification: Ability to Breathe. In the beginning, God had no one to tend the ground, but “then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7 NRSV). Breathing activates our ability … Continue reading What’s a Youth Pastor?
In Luke 17:14, there’s a story about Jesus healing ten lepers. Perhaps, like me, you have heard wonderful sermons about the one Samaritan leper who returned to give thanks to Jesus for the healing. The other nine lepers did what Jesus had told them to do…they had gone to show themselves to the priests. Now … Continue reading That One Rogue Leper
THE PREACHING LIFE by BARBARA BROWN TAYLOR A Book Review I wonder if Barbara Brown Taylor wrote her own book description on the back of The Preaching Life. If she did, I would be surprised because it does not match the meat of the text. The first descriptive sentence on the back flap—that magical place … Continue reading “The Preaching Life” by Barbara Brown Taylor: A Book Review
I needed to write a short sermon—a homily—about one of Jesus’s miracles. At first, I decided upon the one where Jesus walks on the water out of the Gospel of Matthew, but Jesus walks on the water in Mark’s and John’s gospels as well. I figured I would read those two accounts for some extra … Continue reading Can you see Me now?
In Titus 2, Paul instructs that elder women should teach young women to be "keepers of/at home." It sounds simple. But physical commands have spiritual counterparts, so what does it mean to keep a home…in the spiritual sense? The Greek word translated "keepers at home" or "homemakers" is a compound word - oikouros (derived from … Continue reading The World Needs More Housekeepers
When I open a Bible, I approach that moment with a confidence that perhaps is lacking in other areas of my life. I would characterize myself as introverted, independent, and insecure. I bring that baggage to the Bible when I read it, and when I lay open the pages, I find that God expects me … Continue reading Personal Bias and Reading the Text
I'm giving some serious thought to forgiveness as we approach the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. As a side not, I acknowledge that this piece is particularly heavy with scriptural references, but since the topic is a little controversial in Christian circles, I thought it would be a helpful tracking device for my train of … Continue reading The Unpardonable Sin (Part 1)
There is a passage which reads: "And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, `Who is this that doth speak evil [blasphemia] words? Who is able to forgive sins, except God only?'" (Luke 5:21). In this passage the noun is Greek blasphemia, intimately associated with the verb Luke uses in his "blasphemy against … Continue reading The Unpardonable Sin (Part 2)
When I began to formally study theology, a few of my friends within the Christian circle offered me a warning. Their argument centered around the idea that Christians should not become too focused on the systematic analysis of the scriptures because such studies might diminish the thankfulness we have for God’s grace and love. … Continue reading “Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross
I grew up in Alaska, and since I loved animals, I imagined that I might make my living by chasing down caribou herds on the tundra or defending wild wolves from eradication. So fresh out of high school, I pursued a biology degree. As I progressed, however, it became clear that I had more affinity … Continue reading Methuselah: The Judean Date Palm