Five verses God has tattooed on my heart: #4 Psalm 119:113

Two years ago, I decided to give myself a challenge as I was starting out this blog. I decided to blog my way through the longest, and what I assumed to be the most boring psalm in the Bible, Psalm 119. Boy was I surprised at what I found there! It’s basically a love song about God’s law. I thought it was nothing more than a giant sycophantic gesture. But it was my time of reading this psalm during my Monday fasts probably more than anything else when the Bible first began to breathe on me
in a mystical way. There were many verses that blew my mind but verse 113 was the one that I decided would be the title of a devotional book if I ever wrote one about Psalm 119. Continue reading

Five verses God has tattooed on my heart: #3 John 1:5

In my second semester of Biblical Greek in seminary, I discovered John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not seize it.” I had to translate it for my homework. What immediately drew my attention was the verb in the second clause which the NRSV translates as “overcome” and the NIV translates as “comprehend.” It was reflecting on the intersection between these two translations that gave John 1:5 the meaning that it has for me. Continue reading

Looking Back on 2012: April-May

In March, I fasted from blogging for Lent. April and May of 2012 were dominated by thoughts about our United Methodist General Conference. There was also a series of violent tornadoes that John Piper decided to interpret as God’s wrath against America for homosexuality or abortion (I can’t remember which one). Since homosexuality dominated the conversation around General Conference, I wrote a few pieces about it, striving to be both faithful to scripture and faithful to people I love who are gay. I also preached a sermon comparing and contrasting the uniformity and top-down vision of the Tower of Babel with the chaos of Pentecost. So here are the 10 from April and May. Continue reading

Seven chapters, new title for Mercy Not Sacrifice

I have reduced my book to seven chapters and have given it a new title: Mercy Not Sacrifice: Salvation for Recovering Evangelicals. It may be too bold; I almost feel like checking the sky above me for lightning. My brother John Meunier had challenged me to come up with a unifying theme, and last night in Bible study we read about Zacchaeus where Jesus says, “Salvation has come to this house.” So it hit me this morning that there’s one question that evangelicals think we know the answer to but really ought to step back and reconsider: What is salvation? I propose 7 answers. Continue reading

My favorite Catholic hymn: There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy

Today at the basilica Monday mass like many weeks, our recessional hymn was “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.” I really love this hymn and have been wanting to adapt it into a contemporary format. It affirms the basic goodness of God. Not just goodness in the sense that “God’s in charge so whatever He does is something we’re supposed to call good,” but the kind and gentle goodness Jesus exudes in saying “Come to me you who are weary.” I’m weary today so I was richly blessed by it. Here are the words.

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Words of wisdom from Henri de Lubac

If I keep on reading theologians like Henri de Lubac, I might not be able to resist going Catholic. The main thing that holds me back is my confidence in the appropriateness of my wife’s call to sacramental ministry and a genuine bafflement that iconic representation of Christ would be gendered in light of Galatians 3:28. Well, and then there’s the fact that like the first Protestant, Paul of Tarsus, if the Jerusalem council told me to make the Gentiles avoid sacrificial meats (Acts 15:20), then I would follow Paul’s example of pastoral authority in “interpreting” apostolic authority as something that does not command absolute obedience but should not be scorned (Romans 14). So I’ll probably always remain a Protestant in love with Catholicism but with some degree of personal unmediated access to the Word and Spirit. Still I don’t think Henri de Lubac would excommunicate me if he were the pope, since he was a man who transcended the tyranny of knowledge in its ghastly scholastic/systematic scaffolding to touch the depth of God’s wisdom. All right so I’ll stop babbling and start sharing the words of wisdom that got me giddy from de Lubac’s Paradoxes of Faith. Continue reading