Writing to a wide audience in the first century, James highlighted some very important elements in our faith if it is to be “pure and faultless.” Among other things, Jesus’ followers should keep themselves “from being polluted by the world.” Bible scholar N.T. Wright translates that phrase like this: “prevent the world leaving its dirty … Continue reading Polluted by the world?
The word ‘religion’ comes from the same Latin root as ‘ligament,’ meaning ‘to bind.’ In this sense, ‘religion’ refers to a system of beliefs and practices that ‘bind’ us to God and other people in a community. That’s obviously a good thing. But there’s another way the word ‘religion’ is used which I think is … Continue reading It’s not You-ianity
In Acts 2, Peter preaches a sermon about the resurrection to thousands of people. In response they ask, “What shall we do?” “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” he replies, “And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (verse … Continue reading The Religion of Self
To those of you who are Christians, let me ask a very direct question: Is Jesus the centre of your Christianity? It’s easy for it to become about something else. If we’re not careful, our religion can become about how well we observe a certain set of rules, or about a certain denomination, or a … Continue reading An unworthy focus
“Diversity” is a big deal these days. It’s the idea that we should be accepting of people from different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. For me, it brings to mind Psalm 133:1 where it says, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” But there are two kinds of diversity. There’s cheap … Continue reading Cheap Diversity vs Rich Diversity
The word “religion” isn’t very popular. People (including myself!) prefer to use substitutes like “spirituality” or “faith” as a way of bypassing this un-trendy word that can call to mind firm-fisted sermons, strict morality or chanting monks. But let’s pause on it for a minute. It comes from an old word meaning “to bind.” So … Continue reading Boundedness