“So the Christian who is consecrated by faith does good works, but the works do not make him holier or more Christian, for that is the work of faith alone. And if a man were not first a believer and a Christian, all his works would amount to nothing and would be truly wicked and damnable sins.”
Before all this techno hubbub I was raised playing board games with my family. My kids today call them ‘bored’ games. But not in my house back in the day. If someone wasn’t crying or screaming it wasn’t a good night of competition.
Respectable religious types can spot an absence of good old fashioned piety a mile away. Take the religious leaders in Jesus’ day as an example. The more they see and hear from Jesus, the more they are sure they want nothing to do with Jesus.
“Question everything,” my generation has been told. To many millennials, doubting any information passed down to us comes as second nature. This characteristic gives us courage to ask hard questions and assurance that the answers won’t break any exterior system we’ve constructed.
The image of a German monk nailing a revolutionary document—The 95 Theses—is inspiring and iconic. For this reason, some who don’t know much about Martin Luther and his legacy turn first to those theses from 1517.
In a recent movie on Emily Dickinson, I was reminded of the vast difference between the faith of the Lutheran Reformation, and many forms of American religion that followed in its wake.
A couple of weeks ago, the brilliant T.V. revival, Twin Peaks: The Return, came to a close. The writer and director David Lynch baffled his giddy audience with 18 episodes of near absurdity, robbing nostalgic fans of their desire to return to the past.
Love God and love your neighbor. That’s the whole law in a nutshell. The aim and goal of all laws and commands is love. Love is the law.
I have been told many times that the future of Lutheranism lays in the hands of those who have not grown up Lutheran. Being an ex “Fundagelical” myself, I tend to smile when I hear these things, especially when new wars over a proper understanding of Law and Gospel are being waged.
For the last three years, I have been wearing an Apple Watch. One of the critical features of the watch is fitness tracking. Using a very accurate heart rate monitor and a set of motion tracking sensors, the watch can determine if and when I exercise, as well as how many calories I have burned.
“Why evil?,” asks everyone from long time church going folk to militant atheists preaching on the Internet. It’s a good question. This world is messed up. A pastor or leader should never play it down, or pretend not to sympathize with his neighbor.
Robert Farrar Capon made the excellent point that the parables of Jesus need to be understood as riddles—riddles that, when solved or unlocked, illustrate elements of the radical and sometimes outrageous nature of God’s grace.
Why does Jesus curse His accusers (Psalm 109:20), but say, “bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you”? (Matthew 5:44) Jesus did not curse anyone from the cross. Instead, He prayed for everyone who cursed Him, slandered, mocked, and spit on Him.
At various occasions in life I have been asked what it was like to be Bo Giertz’s daughter. The implicit reason was that it must have been something special.
For some reason, American culture tends to venerate dead celebrities, whatever their contribution to society. Still, I was surprised to see so many in the media telling the story of “the Hef’s” life in a way that presents him as a hero.
I was first introduced to the work of Bo Giertz in Rome. It was in that city that Bo Giertz had promised his queen that he wanted to be nothing, and would be no more than a “regular priest.” We would say pastor, but in Sweden Lutherans still call their pastors priests.
Jesus begins and ends His earthly ministry with the promise of recovery. In the synagogue in Nazareth Jesus read the prophet Isaiah, sat down, and declared Scripture fulfilled.
For many Christians, sitting still while “days of trouble” threaten to overwhelm us is more of a strain on our conscience than direct action. More than that, when we can identify the source of trouble, our inclination is often to rage against attacks to our body or property.
In my quest to understand and articulate a dialogue position between science and religion, I have come to understand one thing clearly—tension is the de facto state of affairs between faith and reason, science and theology.