What are the “weightier matters of the law”? (Matthew 23:23)

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “weightier matters of the law”? It sounds like they would be the parts of the Bible that are hard for a modern world to accept. Evangelical Christians in our time tend to litmus-test their faith according to their loyalty to what they see as the “weightier” parts of the Bible that clash with modern sensibilities, whether it’s young Earth creationism, the eternal conscious torment of hell, a complementarian account of gender, or opposition to homosexuality, to name the top four. But what does Jesus say are the “weightier matters of the law” in Matthew 23:23? Continue reading

Eternal life is living in God’s poetry

Growing up evangelical, I had drilled into me the dichotomy between “the law” and “grace.” We become broken record players, reminding ourselves and other people that we are saved by faith and not by following the rules. But then we often substitute ideological correctness (which is how we define “faith”) for following God’s rules as the “work” that saves us. I’m convinced that without a change in how we understand salvation, we cannot escape some form of works-righteousness. If salvation is what God does in response to an evaluation of something we do, say, or believe, then whatever we do, say, or believe is the “work” that justifies us. For salvation to be justification by faith, it must be our transformation into really believing that we have a generous God whose law is not supposed to be an onerous test of our fidelity but a gift for our benefit. That is the subject of my second sermon in the series Journey to Eternity: Continue reading

Ray Foss is my hero!

I just wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to a guy who inspires me. Ray Foss, a Methodist lawyer and active layperson from New Hampshire, has been on twitter every single night for the past week and a half sending up well over a hundred shoutouts to Jesus. I realize that both of our twitter followers are probably SUPER ANNOYED if they actually get on twitter between 9 and 10 pm EST because their feed gets cluttered with boisterous #JesusIsCandidate tweets pretty quickly. And I understand from the evidence that I have completely failed with a few exceptions to make an effective case for participating in this campaign or whatever it is. But let me tell you why Ray inspires me, even if I’ve already said something like this before in trying to persuade you to join in. Continue reading