Monthly Archives: September 2017

  • Confession of Faith or Pledge of Allegiance?

    The recent NFL controversy—which is spreading to other venues too—concerning the appropriate posture during the national anthem got my mind running in so many different directions.

    First, there is the liturgical path I went down. We are liturgical beings and therefore we need structure and order and routine. It’s just what we do. It’s who we are. It’s all around us if we will look around and see. We need it. We crave it. As such the national anthem serves as the liturgical call to worship of all American sporting events. Very interesting.

    Second, I got thinking about the nature of this national anthem itself—this cultural call to worship—and what protests to it signified. Far more than a set of beliefs one is called upon to affirm intellectually, the protests to the national anthems reveal that the American anthem that signals the … Read More »

  • Community

    In his book, The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love, James Bryan Smith explores what it looks like to follow Jesus in the context of community of faith. He explores at least eight aspects of our communal life as Christians and the import and impact of that on our growth in grace. The community of faith is a: 1) Peculiar community; 2) Hopeful community; 3) Serving community; 4) Christ-centered community; 5) Reconciling community; 6) Encouraging community; 7) Generous community; and 8) Worshiping community.

    Knowing Christ and making him known in our context takes place in a whole host of ways

    Smith does a pretty good job at a graphing with the variegated way we, as a community, interface with both those on the inside of our community and those on the outside of it.

    In the most rudimentary … Read More »

  • The Amen

    And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
    We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
    The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
    His rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure,
    One little word shall fell him.

    Those, of course, are the words from the third stanza of Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Recently I was struck by the last six words – One little word shall fell him – and specifically the word little. Luther shames the devil and extols the power of God’s word. Not just one word shall fell him. But one little word. God’s word is a mighty chain saw and the devil is a tiny tree. It takes but one little, tiny word to fell … Read More »