We talk about having personal things. We employ a personal trainer to help us shed pounds and get that coveted beachbody. We open a personal bank account to manage our finances. And, please, keep your hands off our personal property and your eyes out of our personal diary.
I remember two things about Ms. Sally: she wore a hat to church every Sunday and the grownups were always whispering serious things about her.
This is the night when the earth is without form, and void, and darkness is over the face of the deep.* And the Spirit of God moves upon the face of the waters. Then God says, “Let there be light,” and there is light. The seal of the darkness is broken and the morning of the first creation breaks forth out of night.
On Good Friday, Jesus cries out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1). When you hear those words, what do you think of?
In this article we follow the wise counsel of Lewis by giving ear to the past. We encircle the cross with a few of the church fathers. Stand between Justin Martyr and Cyril of Jerusalem. Listen for a few moments to Augustine and Irenaeus and Gregory.
Whether your native tongue is English, Icelandic, or Arabic, during Holy Week you'll share a handful of words in common with believers around the world. They are Hebrew words. By them the Spirit tells us what the Son of the Father has done—and still does—for us. Together they encapsulate what Holy Week is all about.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is perhaps one of the most unlikely—and unorthodox—places to learn about the Bible. But God often chooses out-of-the-box people and places as his favorite classrooms.
In a valley gorged on dead men's bones,
With femurs and skulls twixt sticks and stones,
A graveyard prophet with Spirit breath
Exhaled a sermon that buried death.
Want to do something that people really cherish?
Commit an act of infamy.
Do something really stupid.
Make a mistake worthy of a headline.
In the most chaotic times of life, we maintain a white-knuckled grip on anything that remains predictable. It might be a close friendship or a gym routine. It might be something simple like how you fold and stack the towels.
We tend to assume that big problems require equally big solutions. You don't send a child to do a man's job. That would be foolish.If anybody should realize this, God should. It’s not like he needs a remedial course in being a divinity. He’s had all eternity to figure this stuff out. Nothing is his first rodeo.
We’re messed up people with messed up bodies. All of us. Even Miss America gets hemorrhoids.The Fall mocks us in our own skin. We’re all walking sermons. Our bodies preach what life is like in a world groaning under the weight of evil. And it’s a life that eventually reduces our flesh to worm food.
You’re ugly. You’re fat. You’re stupid. You’re dirty. You’re a disgrace. You’re a failure. Inside our heads the accusations pour forth. It’s like a courtroom packed with lawyers barking against us.
Our deepest fear, writes Marianne Williamson, is not that we are inadequate. Or that something will happen to our children. Or that we’ll be raped or murdered or robbed.
Being a father or mother is a lot like being a priest. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish, Christian, or one of the “religious nones.” Whatever faith—or the lack thereof—parents affirm, they spend about 18 years conducting a profoundly influential worship service in the lives of their children.
The devil’s copy of the Bible is not gathering dust on a nightstand. It’s the most dog-eared, underlined, highlighted book in his library. Satan is steeped in the Scriptures.
Caving to temptation makes you a happier person than resisting it. Break a few rules. Throw caution to the wind. Quit being Mr. Goody-two-shoes.
In a couple of days, many pastors and priests will stand at the altar holding up a grey thumb, like hitchhikers waiting to ride shotgun with Jesus. It’s Ash Wednesday, A sea of smudged foreheads. Kids smearing black all over themselves, mom and dad, and the back of the pew. All in all, it’s the dirtiest day in the church year.
Here’s what will happen. Maybe you’ve already been through it. Or maybe you’re living through it right now. I don’t know what will trigger it—I’m no prophet—but I do know, sooner or later, something will.
Everyone who goes to heaven is there because God chose them to be.
Everyone who goes to hell is there because they chose to be.
This is the mystery of the way God works. And the way we are.
It's beautiful and terrible, comforting and shocking, all at the same time.