Many spiritually-oriented people live in a world of eternal possibilities. What drives this? For one, there is a rich world waiting to be uncovered by those who embrace love and who seek truth. Opening ourselves to God’s spiritual direction can help us grapple with the Bible’s complexities and controversies. The Bible is full of statements which raise eyebrows—and tempers.  Christianity has always been home to theological difficulties.  Even while Jesus walked the earth, controversy was his constant companion. Jesus’ teachings have given rise to core religious doctrines, crucial creeds, and his words have been cherished by generations of believers. And here we find them today,Read More →

The Bible is loaded with the metaphorical use of language through, for instance, the use of analogies, figures of speech and hyperbole. The biblical writers understood the power of rhetoric and the creative use of words. In both ancient times and in the present, the effective use of language can grab attention and make a point with the power of poetic persuasiveness. Today’s message from John 10:1-10 is a case in point, where the writer compares Jesus to a gate through which shepherds and sheep enter. Jesus is not a literal gate, but the suggestion is that Jesus functions as the portal or entrance throughRead More →

Here we are two weeks out of Easter. As time passes, we may face an increasing struggle to maintain our spiritual momentum. Thankfully, today’s lectionary scripture selections remind us that God’s message continues, along with Jesus’ enlivening presence. In Luke 24:13-35 we have the story of the post-resurrection Jesus walking alongside two of his disciples, one of whom was named Cleopas.  A disguised Jesus joined the pair who were traveling to the village of Emmaus.  Neither of the two disciples recognized Jesus as he asked about the tumultuous events culminating in the crucifixion and resurrection. But to their credit, Cleopas and the other disciple respondedRead More →

In Easter’s wake, the Apostle Peter attests to the importance of Jesus. In today’s message text Peter reaches out to those able to hear, the true “Israelites” as he refers to them. Nonetheless, Peter places guilt for Jesus’ crucifixion upon his fellow Jews. Such blame is an ongoing controversy because of the implications and ramifications of anti-Semitism. Many scholars emphasize how the Romans who occupied Judea in the first century were ultimately responsible for Jesus’ death. Whatever is the case, there seems to be sufficient guilt among the various authorities and powers in ancient Jerusalem. Now, brace yourself for a mini-lesson in Bible quotations. ItRead More →