Showing posts from October, 2015

Reformation Sunday- Rom 3:19-28

Rom 3:19-28
The church is in a continual state of reform. Like a ship, it is always adjusting its course as it is tossed about by the waves of each generation. In the early days of the church the apostles dealt with (among other things) those that sought to hold the law over Gentile Christians and make them into Jews before they became Christians. Later, the Church Fathers and mothers dealt with those that tried to introduce strange ideas that removed either the divinity or the humanity of Jesus. There were some that tried to remove the Old Testament from the Bible as if it spoke of a different God. Much later, Francis of Assisi embraced poverty in a medieval church that was being corrupted by wealth and opulence. There are many examples and there have always been calls for reform. And the church has continuously, to a greater or lesser degree, been in the process of reforming. Every generation has challenges to face. There are always course adjustments to be made as the church charge…

How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God- Mark 10

Mark 10:17-31
For the last few weeks we have been dealing with some difficult teachings. Last week we heard some hard words about divorce. The week before that we heard about the danger we are in if we cause someone to stumble as they try to follow Jesus. And the week before that we heard how Jesus was turning the world upside down, making the servants and children into the most important people in the society of the Kingdom. This week we encounter yet another difficult teaching of Jesus- the difficulty of entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

I find that I have two reactions to these hard messages of Jesus. One, is the thought of crushing defeat. I want to give up because it just seems too difficult to live up to his teaching. The other reaction I have is that I try to soften his teaching. I try to twist his teaching to match my life so I don’t have to make any changes. The Danish Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said:“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. …

Teaching religion in school

Responding to the following article: Who's going to teach religion? by JC Schaap

Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for this!

My first university degree was in Religious Studies. The methodology we used meant that we (usually) bracketed out the historicity of certain figures and events (particularly supernatural events). We would present the religion as "this is what they say about themselves". We didn't often ask the question, "is this true?" No doubt the question is important to ask at some point (I heard a fantastic lecture on this point by John Stackhouse entitled "BEYOND BRACKETING: WHY ACCOUNTING FOR THE SUPERNATURAL CANNOT BE INDEFINITELY POSTPONED" available through the Regent Audio Book store). I don’t see any reason why this kind of bracketing couldn’t be used in public schools.

Originally, I put my children in the public school system hoping that my sons would be exposed to those who have a variety of backgrounds. I hoped they would learn about Is…

Mark 10 On Divorce

On Divorce

Mark 10:2-16
The first marriage ceremony I ever conducted ended in a divorce a decade later. I have been with couples as they have struggled to save their marriage. Sometimes they sought help when it was already too late. Some were unwilling to give up their pride in order to heal the relationship. Some struggled for years, but they were just such different people it was a constant battle. Some dealt with mental illness. Some had different levels of commitment to the marriage. Some had different levels of emotional maturity. The breakup was always painful. A divorce is like a death. While it might have some sense of release for some, it always comes with grief. Of the dozens of couples I have married I’m na├»ve enough to believe that none of them expected to get divorced as they walked down the aisle. And yet, many couples do.

We hear more uncomfortable words from Jesus this morning. Today we hear his teaching on divorce-“…what God has joined together, let no one separate.…