A Commandment Is Not a Suggestion
Why do we need to listen to the commandments? The commandments are part of a relationship, a give-and-take communication with God, initiated by God and continued by human responses. If we want to be in relationship with God, paying attention to God’s hopes and expectations for us is part of the bargain.
Diversity in First Century Judaism
What were the groups and concerns of the people of Israel during the first century of the Roman occupation? What do we know about their thoughts, feelings, and hopes?
Jesus and Friends
Baptism of Jesus by the Spirit
What happened when Jesus and John the Baptist met at the Jordan? They had been cousins as boys, but as men they were players in a much larger drama, God’s plan for salvation of the world. What needed to happen between them to prepare Jesus for the work ahead of him?
Jesus and Law
How did Jesus relate to the Jewish law? He was raised a Jew and studied the scripture. He found the meaning of his own life and ministry in the scripture. Did he mean to replace the law with his own teaching? Enter the discussion here.
Jesus: Son of David and Son of Aaron
One of the messianic figures expected in the first century was the priestly messiah of the House of Aaron. Could Jesus have been this priestly figure?
Paul and Early Church
What Kind of Person Was Saint Paul?
When we only know people through what they write, whether it’s letters or email, not having met them in person, it’s hard to get a feel for what they mean by what they say. For Paul, it helps to think about what he was like in order to understand what he says.
What Would Paul’s Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Have Been?
The personality type indicator developed by Meyers and Briggs has been shown to be such a good predictor of aptitudes that it is often used in career counseling. How well did Paul’s personality type match his career as an evangelist and church founder?
Living Together in Times of Conflict
The world and the neighbors are watching when folks in a church get into fights with each other. Jesus expects us to love our enemies, but how do we do it?
Conflict in Church – Curse or Blessing?
We usually think of conflict as something to be resolved or eliminated from church life. But there are some very real opportunities for those of us in the church to learn while we live through our conflicts with each other. The purpose of conflict in church is to help us learn to love our enemies in a place where we can practice forgiveness, love, and prayer with our opponents. Brothers and sisters in Christ are family, and we can’t choose our relatives.
Learning to Like Diversity
We hear that diversity is a good thing, but we often act as if we feel better around those who are just like ourselves. Some diversity is easy and interesting, but other diversity is uncomfortable because there are differences in areas that are important to us. We need to change the way we feel about differences in order to welcome the challenging kind of diversity. How can we learn to appreciate the very things that make us uncomfortable living with and working with those who are different?
How Praying for Enemies Changes Us
Do you want to change the way you feel about a person when that person is an opponent, an enemy, or someone you just don’t like? Prayer, by involving God in the way you feel, can make the difference. Praying for our opponents doesn’t mean praying that they will lose or that they will change to agree with us. Prayer means seeing our opponents from God’s eyes, and it opens us to God’s love working in us.