Can I Get Mad at God?

It was the return trip from hell. For 10 days, my wife and I had enjoyed a picture-perfect vacation in Scotland and her inner isles. We were flying home from Edinburgh to Newark, where we would catch our connecting flight home. At least, that was the plan. Roiling thunderstorms in...

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Why We Need a Theology of Sin

“You know, I used to believe in the essential goodness of man,” a friend recently told me during a fundraising banquet. “Not so much, anymore.” He didn’t go into details, but he was still reeling from a few situations involving mean, dysfunctional people. I simply replied, “Yeah, sin is a...

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The Dangerous God of Pentecost

I learned some Latvian words on Sunday. The reason? A church where my wife and I visited is hosting members of their sister congregation in Latvia. The guest preacher delivered a potent sermon on Pentecost, reminding us that the Holy Spirit can come with a convicting whisper or the force...

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Is the Church to Blame?

John Earnest was an earnest anti-Semite. Before opening fire in the Chabad Synagogue near San Diego during a Passover service on April 28, he published a rambling online manifesto that praised Adolf Hitler and condemned Jews to hell. In addition, Earnest expressed hatred of Islam, posting invectives against Muslims and...

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Undone Business

The bowl rested on a small table near the altar. Inside, coiled like little snakes, were white rubber bracelets imprinted with blue letters: WWJU The “U” threw me for a loop. It was supposed to end with a “D,” as in “What Would Jesus Do?” The question was the second...

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Plugging In

The other day, in the wee hours of the morning, a spring storm blew in with the fury of a toddler whose favorite toy had been taken away. We woke up to an eerily dark and quiet house – and it remained that way for over 15 hours as crews worked...

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The Grasshoppers of Life

My dad grew up in a Texas sharecropper’s shack during the Great Depression. He was barely a teenager when the “Grasshopper Wars” began. The winged insects darkened the sky like storm clouds, swooping down on crops and stripping them to stubble. Driving turned dangerous as the roads became slick with...

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When God Winks

Last year, I came across the phrase “God Wink.” It was coined by American author and inspirational speaker, Squire D. Russell, who defines it as “an event or personal experience, often identified as coincidence, so astonishing that it could only have come from divine origin.” I experienced such a “God Wink”...

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The Pain of Epiphany

My Facebook feed has been blowing up with Epiphany posts lately. You may have noticed that some of your friends have recently observed Epiphany and wondered what the fuss was all about. Epiphany is the “Twelfth Day of Christmas,” celebrating the revelation of God. Typical stories on and around this...

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