Category: The Bible

When the Bible is No Longer a Book

“A new kind of mutated Christianity for a digital age is appearing.” Rev. Dr. Pete Phillips I still remember the first time I preached a sermon with an iPad. Fearing my congregation’s response, I walked to the pulpit with notes and a Bible concealing the glowing screen. I continued the practice of bait and switch for several years until I sensed people growing less nervous. While there are still…  [more]

Trump and the Transfiguration

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the noise and seeming chaos of the first days of the Trump administration. The tweets, the hyperventilating media, the alternative facts, the pundits, pontificators, and protesters. The insults, the leaks, the fake news, the lies, the Facebook posts, the language of war, opposition, resistance. It’s all created a deafening roar. The world feels full of sound and fury. The…  [more]

Bible Study with Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens is on a tear. The mysterious, press-shy, and often obtuse indie-music darling has been leaving little to the imagination when it comes to his Christian convictions lately. It seems desperate times call for desperate measures. Stevens has a platform, dadgummit, and he’s gonna do some preachin’! Although Stevens’ music has been imbued with spirit and soul since day one, he’s been…  [more]

Eve and the ESV

Last month, my 97-year-old grandfather died. He was a missionary who devoted his life to putting the Bible in the hands of people, in their own mother tongue whenever possible. As he lay dying, my cousins and I quickly stitched together a video of us reading Psalm 23. In the last few decades, he preached from the NIV, even though that was not the translation he was most accustomed to as a child, because he found it…  [more]

Voting for God’s Kingdom

How might one vote in a way that places God’s kingdom above all? This question—which I’ve suggested earlier on TC is primary for Christians living in a democracy—is difficult because Scripture doesn’t discuss voting. It does teach Christians to submit to and pray for authorities since they are tasked by God to keep evil in check and promote human well-being. It also commissions…  [more]

A new Noah’s ark? How about a renewed Garden of Eden

Amid an apocalyptic July, in which terrible events evoked the book of Revelation, it was comforting to see the book of Genesis figure in the news on at least two occasions. On July 7, the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Ky., opened to the public. And on July 17, the Iraqi marshlands, which lie at the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers and are thought by many scholars to be the location of origin for the…  [more]

The BFG: forgiveness and phizzwizards

“We are the dreamers of dreams.” That’s Willy Wonka, quoting the poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy, in the 1971 movie adaptation of the Roald Dahl children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The line applies even more aptly, however, to another Dahl adaptation, out now in theaters: The BFG. Directed by Steven Spielberg, The BFG centers on the unlikely relationship between an orphan named…  [more]

The Gospel in G: Gratitude

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in an adapted sermon series tracing the arc of God’s story, as told through Scripture and the created world around us. You can find other installments here. As the son of a quiet college professor, I was always a little afraid of my Uncle Damen. He was a Detroit guy, who served in the army, worked for Chrysler, hunted deer and got divorced and remarried. He had a temper,…  [more]

In lieu of “in lieu of flowers”

The extensive media coverage of the recent funeral of boxing legend Muhammad Ali got me thinking about the culture of memorial services in the West. Have you ever sat in a funeral and looked at a big flower arrangement at the front of the sanctuary, and thought, “Wow, that must be $300 worth of flowers — that money could have been used to feed a whole lot of hungry people?” Congratulations. You…  [more]

The Gospel in G: Grace

Editor’s note: This is the third in an adapted sermon series tracing the arc of God’s story, as told through Scripture and the created world around us. You can find other installments here. He was a regular at the neighborhood watering hole. Most days he would get off the train and have a couple of drinks before he went home. And most days, as I waited for my wife to get off work, he and I would talk.…  [more]

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