Jun 242017

Coffee in one hand

leaning in to share, listen:

How I talk to God.


“Momma, you’re special.”

Three-year-old touches my cheek.

How God talks to me.


While driving I make

lists: done, do, hope, love, hate, try.

How I talk to God.


Above the highway

hawk: high, alone, free, focused.

How God talks to me.


Rash, impetuous

chatter, followed by silence:

How I talk to God.


First, second, third, fourth

chance to hear, then another:

How God talks to me.


Fetal position

under flannel sheets, weeping

How I talk to God.


Moonlight on pillow

tending to my open wounds

How God talks to me.


Pulling from my heap

of words, the ones that mean yes:

How I talk to God.


Infinite connects

with finite, without words:

How God talks to me.

Kelly Belmonte

Jun 242017

Matthew 22:34-45

The Great Commandment

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.

So the Pharisees seeing that the Sadducees had failed, regroup.

  • I wonder in the sense of competition and jealousy if the Pharisees snickered at the Sadducees as theological lightweights?

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.

  • So they send out a lawyer to ask a law question – they send out a specialist, bringing in the closer in the 9th

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

  • Again with the teacher title – although they are unwilling to learn from him.
  • This question is quite similar to the question asked by the Rich Young Man.

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

  • OK, softball question, I will give you a softball answer – Love God.

38 This is the great and first commandment.

  • OK, this seems simple enough.
  • I like the way he divides great and first.

39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

  • You asked for one, but I will give you two.
  • Love man
  • Hey, the Rich Young Man asking a similar question got this one; Sell all that you have, give it to the poor and come follow me.

40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

  • Hey guys, it’s all here.
  • Note that he takes the lawyer back to the scriptures.
  • Now this is a summary of the law – not the elimination of the individual laws.
  • We do not have the freedom to do whatever we want in the name of love.
  • A deeper Look; what does God want from us / you with each command?
  • Loving God is a summary of the first 3 commandments.
  • 1st – God wants your heart. He wants you to trust him.
  • 2nd – God wants your mouth – to call upon his name properly in prayer and thanksgiving.
  • 3rd – God wants your ears by which he comes to you in his words so he can ‘holy you’ (make you holy). How do we keep holy? By letting God holy us — through his word.
  • Loving Man / your neighbor is a summary of the remaining 4-10 – as you interact with your neighbor.

Whose Son Is the Christ?

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,

  • Jesus wants to take an opportunity to talk to the Pharisees while they are still gathered together. This would be like “let’s try this one more time.”

42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”

  • So far so good – good answer – 2 Sam 7 stuff.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

  • Psalm 110

45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

  • Jesus is saying “don’t you even know your own scriptures?”
  • But I think they had never seen that passage in that light before.
  • This is the state that the unbeliever reads scripture – without the illumination.
  • I don’t know that you can understand the scriptures in a saving way without preaching. I don’t think someone can say, “I was just reading the Bible on my own and I became a Christian.”
  • God says through Paul, faith comes by hearing and then goes on to talk about how can you have a preacher if one is not sent etc.
  • Just like the Ethiopian Eunuch could not figure out the mysteries of the scripture until Philip was sent, preached God’s word and immediately baptized him.
  • Although I don’t think it helped the Pharisees, I doubt they looked at that passage in the same way going forward.
  • And that is probably what happened to every one of us who thought “we knew the Bible” – even if it was just enough to reject it, when we hear God’s word preached the blindness left us.


Jun 232017

When the local television station filmed the front of the house, I knew it could not be the home of my friend.

She would never tolerate an overgrown yard and weeds growing up through the cracked cement.

Same name, different person…had to be someone else.


Then they showed the mugshot and my old friend had indeed been the person that had allegedly shot and killed her husband.

The picture was not flattering…the alcohol was wearing off, but it looked like she had worn off a lot of alcohol since last I saw her.

Of course, the last time I saw her she was buying wine in the biggest receptacle offered.

Before that she was a co-worker and a consummate professional, irascible, untamable, and witty, but with the ability to be all that and hold a job.

The brass were terrified of her, but no one produced like her.

Sometime when she wasn’t looking, the alcohol took over.

Alcohol then became a factor in taking two lives, one in death and one potentially to a life in prison haunted by a single intoxicated outburst.

The ripples out from there are every bit as terrible.

They always are.

I do not know all the details of this horrible incident, and I hope that there is some information that mitigates her guilt, but those hopes are small.

This will end up being what we call one of those “senseless” tragedies, as if any tragedy actually makes sense.

Farther down a Facebook thread that spoke of these ruined lives was a invitation to another one of those “theology pubs”.

Come with us to the bar and talk theology.

We will demonstrate our liberty and and a thick veneer of cool while pitching Scriptures between pitchers of Coors.

I’m not a teetotaler, but I think I’ll pass.

When I needed Jesus, I actually went to church.

It looks like my old friend will miss it too.

She stayed home and drank…

Oddly enough, her neighbors said they knew there was a problem because the yard was overgrown and weeds were coming through the cement…

Make your own application… 

Jun 222017

God’s Birthing Suite

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.’ ” (John 3:1-3)


Unlike most of Jesus’ followers, Nicodemus was an esteemed public figure, highly educated, and a devout Jew. Although he did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, Nicodemus was convinced that Jesus was “a teacher come from God” and “God is with him.” Nicodemus honored Jesus. Therefore, Jesus’ abrupt and unfriendly rebuff of Nicodemus probably caught him off guard.

“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ ” (John 3:3)

Jesus applied the Law bluntly to humble Nicodemus so that he might recognize his illness and seek salvation in a Savior. Nicodemus desired to learn something from Jesus, but he thought it was something he could add to his considerable learning and piety. Jesus, by contrast, impressed on Nicodemus that what he needed was not advanced theology or more holiness, but to become an entirely different person. Otherwise, he “cannot see [i.e., understand or enter] the kingdom of God.”

“Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ ” (John 3:4)

Nicodemus had the external marks of righteousness and holiness. He obeyed outwardly God’s commandments, tithed, prayed, gave alms, etc. But these were works of the Law. These marks could not heal Nicodemus from the poison of his sin coursing through his old nature. None of the things Nicodemus had accomplished – his religious education, his seat in the Sanhedrin, his piety – could reckon him righteous before God. All of his accomplishments only aggravated his spiritual blindness and lostness.

Nicodemus did not understand that it is impossible for a man born of the flesh, in his old nature, to enter the kingdom of God. A new nature is required; one that is righteous in the sight of God. Therefore, Nicodemus would have to repent of his own righteousness; it would not help him. He must be born again, by the will of God (John 1:13).

“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ ” (John 3:5)

This new birth will be entirely God’s work, administered by the Holy Spirit in baptism, as Ezekiel prophesied: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses…. I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.” (Ezek 36:25-26a) Baptism, as Paul wrote, is: “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” (Tit 3:5). It is a washing away of our sins (Acts 22:16). Peter described baptism as a washing that now saves us (1 Pet 3:21). The font is God’s birthing suite for His new children.

There are three elements required for a baptism: God’s Word, water and the Holy Spirit. When Jesus speaks of “water and the Spirit,” He is speaking not of two baptisms (one by water and the other by the Spirit), but of one baptism of water and the Spirit. Moreover, Jesus does not leave out His Word, because the Spirit works through the Word: “he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak” (John 16:13). Similarly, when Paul speaks of baptism as a “washing of water with the word” (Eph 5:26), he does not leave out the Spirit, because the Word sends the Spirit.

The third element is water. By itself, water has no spiritual properties. But when, by His command and promise, Christ’s Word, is added to the water, it becomes what the Prophet Ezekiel termed “clean water” (Ezek 36:25), through which the Holy Spirit births a new child of God.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:6-8)

Jesus used a parable to describe the new birth. One knows the wind is present when he hears its sound and feels it blow. In an analogous fashion, one knows the Holy Spirit is present in baptism when he hears the Word and feels the water.

“Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?’ ” (John 3:9-10)

The gift of new birth was promised in Israel’s Scriptures. Jesus chided Nicodemus, as a teacher, for not knowing his own Scriptures. David understood: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps 51:10) Ezekiel also: “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezek 11:19).

“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:11-15)

Jesus then proclaimed His Gospel to Nicodemus that the new birth and entrance into the kingdom of God will come by God’s grace through faith in Him alone. The bronze serpent that Moses affixed to a pole in wilderness, which cured the Israelites physically from the bite of venomous snakes, prefigured the cure from the poison of sin that Jesus procured for the world on the cross.

The Israelites were without any cure from the deadly venom of the snakes, which God sent as punishment for their murmuring against Him. But on account of the people’s repentance and the intercession of Moses, God had mercy on the people. According to God’s command and promise, Moses made a bronze snake, which was neither alive nor venomous. By itself, the bronze had no curative properties. But wrapped inside God’s Word, “everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live” (Num 21:8), the bronze serpent became a salutary symbol.

Similarly, all humanity has been bitten by the poison of sin for which we possess no remedy. Therefore, God’s Son, came to us incarnate of our flesh, but without the poison of sin. Notwithstanding His innocence, Jesus gave up His life for our sins on the cross to destroy the power of sin. “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3b). His death is salutary for everyone who believes in Him.

God offers us the forgiveness of our sin, not by seeing with the physical eye, as the Israelites looked at the bronze serpent, but by hearing with faith (Gal 3:2). We do not receive our adoption as children of God by looking at a bronze object, but by feeling clean water applied to our skin while hearing the names of the Triune God given to us at the font, by the command and with the promise of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Jun 212017

“I believe in the Kingdom Come

Then all the colours will bleed into one

Bleed into one.

But yes, I’m still running.

You broke the bonds

And you loosed the chains

Carried the cross of my shame

Oh my shame, you know I believe it.

But I still haven’t found

What I’m looking for.

But I still haven’t found

What I’m looking for.”

I recently heard Bono refer to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as a “gospel song with a restless spirit”.

Along with being one of the most accomplished and recognizable rock bands in the history of the genre, U2 has long been known for its use of spiritual imagery and sometimes outright Christian lyrics.  There is often much curiosity as to the faith and religiosity of the group.  While the band would never fit into the category of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), there is still the impetus by some to classify them as a “Christian” band.  Bono has been quite outspoken about his faith, especially in more recent years, while other band members are more reserved in what they share about whatever beliefs they do or don’t have.  In many ways they remain an enigma when it comes to their “Christianity”.

This is frustrating to some of us.  We want everything to be neat and tidy when it comes to the faith.  You’re either in or out.  You’re either a Christian individual/band/author/etc. or a secular one.  You’re an Evangelical or Reformed or Lutheran or Catholic or Orthodox or etc., etc., or else you’re not a believer.  And for some of us, if someone claims membership in one of the formerly mentioned categories of faith, that just might actually place them in the latter category of unbeliever.

Beyond the categories, we also want everything to be nice and neat in the spoken faith and actions of someone who has a professed faith.  While we don’t expect everything to be perfect, we do expect that once someone gets saved or “rededicates” their life or joins the Evangelical/Lutheran/Anglican/etc. Church that they have found what they’re “looking for”.  They shouldn’t be saying they believe in Jesus on one hand and remaining on some kind of unsettled search on the other.  After all, shouldn’t faith in the work and person of Jesus Christ be the ultimate answer and destination and fulfillment of our needs and yearnings?

Now, of course, in reality nobody can be “sort of” a Christian.  Everyone is either truly in the faith or not – there is no middle ground.  Everyone is either in or out of the Lamb’s Book of Life.  However, there is only One who is the owner of that book and knows all the names present or missing.  For the rest of us, it can be a bit messier than we want in trying to “know” the truth about everybody else in regards to their faith and spiritual state.  We don’t want somebody professing a faith in Christ and then seemingly remaining in a restless state.  Even if we may all have our moments of doubt or uncertainty about matters of the faith, we don’t like it when somebody is regularly questioning the status quo or frequently looking for something more.  These things just don’t fit nicely into our boxes.  If someone is really saved, shouldn’t they be more settled?

It is wonderful when someone comes to faith in Christ and they find true contentment.  It is great when someone joins a church and they feel like they have found a home and no longer struggle with restlessness or anxieties within their faith.  I would hope that each and every believer would be able to experience such a state.  Yet for some professed believers, it would appear they struggle to reach such a state and some seemingly never get there this side of eternity.  Some may have gone through harrowing circumstances in their lives that make it difficult to come to such a peaceful standing.  Others may not have had any specifically terrible traumatic experiences, yet a restlessness gnaws at their soul.  I do not claim to be able to precisely describe and diagnose each such situation.  But for those who struggle to reach that state of comfort and contentment, does that make them lesser Christians?  Does that make them less genuine?  Does that possibly put them out of the faith all together?

I certainly don’t want to play God here and act like I know all the answers and can explain it all.  But I do tend to think that God has a purpose for that restlessness that resides with some believers.  And that it doesn’t automatically make them lesser Christians in any sense.  Maybe it is a tool that God sometimes uses to keep people searching after Him.  Maybe He sometimes uses it to spur them into action.  Maybe Bono wouldn’t have advocated so greatly for the poor and needy in this world if he didn’t have that restlessness.  I don’t know these things, it is just speculation.  But I think they are things worthy of consideration.

I recently heard a popular Evangelical preacher exhorting people to search their Bible when they have questions.  Certainly good advice and a wise thing to do.  But he then went on to say that whenever he has had a question about anything, he has never not found the answer in the Bible when he went looking for it.  In fact, many times it has been quite simple to do, he said.  

I called bull. 

Tell that to the parents who lost their child to a grisly fight with cancer.  Tell that to the one who lost a loved one to a senseless murder or terrorist attack.  Tell that to someone who suffers with a severe and incurable physical or mental or psychological condition.  Many of them are not going to find their answers in the Bible of why they have had to experience such a terrible matter.  Yes, they may find comfort and peace and even contentment.  But answers to why God has allowed such a horrible thing to happen?  I would doubt many ever receive direct answers to such when searching the Word.  Things just aren’t as nice and neat and simple as the big popular preacher wants to tell you that they are and that we want to believe them to be.

And so, a group Like U2 defies the expectations of many of us as to what we expect Christians to be.  Even for those who know substantially more about the band than I do, in some matters there probably would be honest acknowledgment of perplexity.  And yes, there are many things that U2 has said and done that could be worthy of criticism.  They have been far from perfect in their actions or in some of their stated or veiled theologies….. just like the rest of us.  But I don’t know if their restlessness is necessarily a bad thing.  Maybe God has a purpose for Bono and the rest feeling like they “still haven’t found what they’re looking for”.

But this really isn’t about U2.  They are just the popular example.  Some of us have found a deep contentment in our faith and/or church.  Others of us have that restless spirit with varying degrees of intensity for varying lengths of time.  All of us are hypocrites from time to time when contrasting what we say Christians should do versus how we actually act.  And so it isn’t always so nice and neat, even for those of us who are content.  Why should we expect differently from those who are a bit more unsettled?

No matter what our state, we don’t always do all the right things or always rightly represent Christ or have all the answers (nor does God always reveal all the answers to us).  Not everything within Christianity is always as befitting as we sometimes think it should be.  And maybe that’s not always a bad thing.  Whatever our lot in life, may God bless us and keep us.                      

Jun 202017

Below The Belt

In the matter of marital and pre-marital counseling, I always had a rule – three counseling sessions only – the man, the woman and the couple.  If more than three seemed to be required, I referred the couple to a professional outside of the church I was serving.  There are several reasons I came to this particular rule.  Early on in ministry, like many starting off, I wanted to help people and thought that I could do so by talking people, including couples, through their difficulties. 

I soon learned that very often I could indeed help the couple, see them resolve some of their issues, and then, they would leave the church and go elsewhere.  It was simply that having talked to me about intimate secrets in their relationship, they no longer felt comfortable sitting in a church where the pastor knew what they had done, who they had slept with, the intensity of their arguments or even that they had decided to get married because of a pregnancy.  Additionally, with extended pre-marital counseling, issues often arose in discussion that indicated that the impending marriage might well be a disaster.  Sometimes, they would come to the conclusion on their own and, other times, I would be stuck wondering how much I had the right, obligation or duty to say.  No matter how it occurred, it seldom worked out for the good of the church or my heretofore good relationship with the couple!

So, I arrived at my rule – three counseling sessions only – limited involvement.

This had the added advantage of not becoming intimately involved with any person in the congregation in discussions that might touch upon sexual issues.  This is simply wisdom in terms of pastoral counseling. Over the course of the past forty years, however, so many of the issues have changed.  In my early twenties, most of us were looking at the possibility of a single, last forever marriage that would have the storybook ending – “and they lived happily ever after”.  At our thirty-fifth anniversary a few years back, my wife and I tried to come up with how many of our friends had reached that goal.  We came up with two other couples (one of which is now getting a divorce).  Most of our married friends had been divorced at some point (some more than once) and remarried.  Often we had to follow the mantra, “remember to be nice to the new wife/husband”, so as to maintain relationships with old and trusted friends.  We also learned not to delve too deeply into the often sordid or embarrassing reasons for the divorce.  

It is accepted wisdom that 40% – 50% of marriages fail.  In recent years, that percentage has dipped slightly, but it is uncertain as to whether this is owing to the stability of more recent marriages or to the reality that many couples simply live together without benefit of marriage. Moreover, other issues of sexuality have come to dominate our discussions in a remarkably short span of time. Gay, lesbian and, now, transgender identity have come to the forefront of national, as well as, denominational politics.  Same sex unions are now the law of the land. Gender identity is now openly debated and discussed.  Male and female roles, or the lack thereof, are in transition. Meanwhile, churches and, indeed, the culture at large, have become fractured and fractious as these issues, one by one, are discussed openly in the national media.

Now, beyond anything else, I am a church historian, both by disposition and training. As such, I am unwilling to overturn two thousand years of Christian teaching and moral theology to suit the whims and currents of secular society.  At the same time, I am reminded of the Roman Senate locked in debate in the forum as the Goths and Vandals were already pouring through the gates of the city.  Their debate was consigned to irrelevancy owing to the reality that had already fallen upon them. 

Furthermore (and I think we must admit this) we have been remarkably tolerant with some issues and intolerant with others. Generally, we have been very tolerant, especially in recent years, with regard to divorce and remarriage in the Church.  Most of us can even name a number of Christian leaders and pastors in this category.  Also, many churches have essentially adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to couples living together without benefit of marriage. (Although the identical address on the marriage license is a good clue.) I’m not saying this is right or wrong, I’m simply stating the reality.  Yet, we often do this because we can see ourselves in the young couple living together, or in the troubled marriage of a friend or relative.  We hope and pray that with the passage of time, their circumstances and conduct might change. They are like us and, therefore, we treat them as we would wish to be treated, with respect, understanding, tolerance and forgiveness.  When, however, we turn our attention to a gay or lesbian couple, (much less someone struggling with gender identity) we find ourselves viewing “the other”; that is, they are not like us.  Moreover, even though Scripture speaks often and compellingly regarding marriage, faithfulness (and in some cases, divorce), we will “soften” those passages for those who are “like us”, allowing time for change and/or forgiveness.  For those who are “not like us”, however, a small number of proof texts (some misapplied) are at the ready, with few exceptions for age, time or circumstance and, so, often, we are seen as being hypocritical.

All this is to say, I’m tired of the “below the belt” issues that are increasingly dominating our Christian discourse, discussions and debates.  Moreover, we must admit, there is much in the discussions, on both sides, that verges on the salacious and the voyeuristic.

Yes, I recognize that activists on both sides of the issue are outspoken.  On both sides, things are said and written with the intent to provoke a reaction.  For myself, I would not feel comfortable, for the reasons stated above, in a pro-active LGBT congregation. Nor, however, would I feel comfortable in a congregation in which anti-Gay activism was the order of the day.  Additionally, I would not feel comfortable in a congregation in which the complex issues of marriage, divorce, and sexuality are placed as the main tenets of the faith, outpacing and overshadowing Christ’s love and Christ’s forgiveness  As with marital and pre-marital counseling, we might consider placing some limits on our involvement and even our supposed expertise in such matters, not only for our own sake, but more especially for the sake of the Church and those people who come to us simply seeking a new life in Christ.

Duane W.H. Arnold

Jun 202017

Our faith is historically verifiable or it’s nothing…

How does growing apostasy prove Christians are getting closer to the truth?

Should churches keep their Civil War landmarks?

How should a Christian church celebrate America?

Greg Laurie and the SBC…

Thanking God in the present invites His work in the future…

Three essentials of pastoral preaching…

The success affair…

Is Ham’s ark sinking?

Enough “virgin in the volcano” theology…

The James MacDonald mess…

“Listener supported” K-Love’s paid ads…

Do egalitarians take the Bible seriously?

Saving my neighbor…

Kay Warren’s rocky marriage…

Jesus isn’t looking for good people…

How to believe…

Lynching in America…

Atonement controversy in the ELCA…

Mind the gap between dreams and reality…

The church doesn’t need people, people need the church…

Baptism impasse…Baptists vs. Presbyterians…

10 things about the “new charismatics”…

Anne Frank’s enduring testament…

Preventing pastoral burnout…

The Reformation at 500 by Russell Moore…

Entering into the questions at Biologos…

59% of millennials raised in church have dropped out…here’s why…

The silence of the lambs…

Need low cost web hosting with personal service? Use the company I do…

As always, support my publisher EricL at top right…great guy who does great work…



Jun 192017

1. I didn’t run special articles for either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day this year, because I caved to the the current fervor to obliterate everything that smacks of societal norms. We shouldn’t celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day because some folks didn’t or don’t have good relationships with one or both and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Also, having a good family is now a sign of “privilege”. Next year, we will run articles on both, God willing. I’m tired of the tyranny of the few in every place in society…

2. Speaking of the tyranny of the few…in Oregon, you now no longer have to designate your gender on your drivers license. You can choose to have an “x” instead of a “m” or “f”. Hell, why don’t we just use the whole alphabet…”x” may offend someone too…or they may identify more closely with a “c” or a “y”…

3. The lattice of language that has lifted the tyranny of the few is collapsing on itself. Now we’re not supposed to use pronouns like “he” and “she”, but refer to individuals as “they”. I will not do so. Nope, not me. To do so is to participate in the language of a false reality where nothing is standard and there are no moral norms. It is a forced anarchy of the mind and moral ethics and I’m not playing….

4. I find myself longing for “normal” even in things where I do not fit the norm. Standards have served us well for a long time…

5. The new craze to boycott advertisers on programs we disagree with erodes free speech for everyone…

6. One of the greatest errors of evangelicalism was to brand everything “Catholic” evil…

7. Greg Laurie decided to join up with the Southern Baptists and caused quite a ripple throughout Calvary Chapel. Turns out, he’s not the first by any stretch of the imagination…there are quite a few “dual affiliates” out there…and the number is growing.

8. Phil and I are on a podcast sabbatical for the summer while he heads up to the woods of Maine…

9. My daily life reflects very little of what I see on social media. Social media has morphed from a place where we share our lives to an alternate reality that displays us all at our extremes. The beauty of the mundane doesn’t get enough attention for posters…

10. When we decided that preaching was the most important part of the worship service, we completely skewed what worship really is…and placed a burden on pastors that they weren’t intended to carry…


Jun 182017

Lord God:
you alone are holy,
you who work wonders!
You are strong, you are great,
you are the Most High,
you are the almighty King,
you, holy Father, King of heaven and earth.

Lord God: you are Three and you are One,
you are goodness, all goodness,
you are the highest Good,
Lord God, living and true.

You are love and charity, you are wisdom,
you are humility, you are patience,
you are beauty, you are sweetness,
you are safety, you are rest, you are joy,
you are our hope
and our delight,
you are justice, you are moderation
you are all our wealth
and riches overflowing.

You are beauty, you are gentleness,
you are our shelter, our guard
and our defender,
you are strength, you are refreshment,
you are our hope.
you are our faith.
you are our love,
you are our complete consolation,
you are our life everlasting,
great and wonderful Lord,
all powerful God, merciful Savior!


St Francis

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