The Melody of Grace

Listen to Audio On a recent visitation to one of our congregations, Joy and I stayed in a hotel with a premium cable plan. We don’t have HBO at home. This hotel offered four different versions of that channel, as well as a number of listings we had never seen. It probably comes as no…

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Dismantling Empires and Saving Ruined Souls

Listen to Audio When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, long lines formed for the baptismal font. Think of the Apple store on the night before the newest version of the iPhone goes on sale. Everybody who was anybody wanted to join the faith. To remain somebody now meant that you had…

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Some Things Are Hard to Hear

Listen to Audio For those accustomed to modern pictures depicting smiling Jesus and mild-mannered, freshly scrubbed Jesus, Mark’s account of Jesus’s exchange with the Syrophoenician woman does not compute. A woman begs for mercy, not for herself, but for her tormented child. Jesus responds by calling the woman a dog. Jesus seems to have gotten…

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