For several weeks I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ encounter with the woman from Samaria. Something which would have made it particularly noteworthy in the 1st century would have been the history of bad blood between the Jews and Samaritans. After the exile, the Samaritan’s didn’t support the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem; in the … Continue reading Love and hate both take energy
As a pastor, I spend some time in cemeteries. It’s moving to see visitors taking care of headstones, planting flowers, or simply spending quiet moments in reflection or prayer. The peace and tranquility of those scenes stands in stark contrast to a discovery in British Columbia, Canada, where the remains of 215 children were found … Continue reading 215 children
Other people’s opinions
This week we’re going to spend some time with Jesus’ words in Luke 6:31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” We’ve all heard it before. In fact, we’ve heard it a lot. It even has broad-based appeal among those who don’t believe in God. Here’s the risk with this verse. … Continue reading Other people’s opinions
The polarizing internet
The internet has a polarizing effect. Recently a well-respected Christian organization posted a blog. Since it touched on the topic of politics, the comments came fast and furious. (Apparently, politics can be a touchy subject these days. Have you noticed?) Unfortunately, the comments were highly charged, accusatory, derogatory, and unfair. Have you noticed how quickly … Continue reading The polarizing internet
Quick to listen
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20). Quick to listen. The KJV translation says “swift to hear.” Either way, the meaning is clear. When we’re NOT quick to listen to God or to the concerns … Continue reading Quick to listen
“Fear” God. Really?
Last year a man came to a worship service I was leading because he was curious about this whole Christianity thing. The next week he emailed me because something had bothered him. He had read in the Bible that we should “fear God.” This made him uncomfortable. Perhaps he had read something like Psalm 33:8a … Continue reading “Fear” God. Really?
Let me suggest something that is a part of your faith—but you’ve maybe never thought of it that way: Respecting your elders. An ancient law in Leviticus 19:32 says, “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.” It easy to lose sight of this kind of … Continue reading Your elders
Online disrespect and technotrauma
More and more people are using the internet to communicate. It makes sense. After all, it’s quick and easy to send someone an email, text or direct message. But I think there’s a growing problem. It’s that people write things that are disrespectful. Why? First, let’s be honest. We humans are deeply flawed. Second, instant … Continue reading Online disrespect and technotrauma
When condescension starts
One of the things I’ve noticed in our modern society is that it’s easy for civility to go out the window. I realize that the internet has helped with a lot of things, but one of my concerns is that people do and say things online that they would never do and say in person. … Continue reading When condescension starts
You've heard the lie before: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." The idea is that words—because they are invisible—cannot hurt us. But we know it isn't true. The put down, the threat, the lie that cuts deeper than a knife. Words can have a negative power. BUT... they … Continue reading Grace notes