Connections 10.07.2018: The Problem of Job

What do we do with Job? For centuries, biblical scholars, critics, interpreters, and also the average person—not so different from you and me—have tried to answer that question. Job is fairly unique in the Bible.

Formations 01.07.2018: The Suffering Servant

Lately I’ve been reading about Bartolomé de las Casas. A sixteenth-century Dominican friar, Las Casas is best remembered for his protests against the dominant forms of Spanish colonial and evangelical activity—the wars of the conquest and the encomienda system.

Formations 09.03.2017: To Share the World

In Judson Mitcham’s Oblique Lexicon, the entry, “Gift,” begins with a globe given to two brothers who never asked for it. For most of the entry, Mitcham describes one brother laying on his bed and tossing the globe up and down, hoping that a mountain chain might kiss the ceiling.

Connections 05.07.2017: Suffering with Christ

Friends, I’m not sure that suffering is ever God’s will. Does God let humans suffer the consequences of our choices? Yes. Does God let humans suffer the calamities (natural disasters, criminal activities, sickness, poverty) that befall us in a broken world? Yes. Does God actually make it happen? I don’t know.

Connections 10.30.2016: Job, Jesus, and Me

At some point in my young life, I began participating in my parents’ nightly prayer time. Using the denominational devotional guide, one of them would read the suggested Scripture passage and the printed meditation, and then say a short prayer.

Connections 10.16.2016: Suffering. Praying. And…

A parishioner had liver cancer. One day, as we sat talking in his den, he told me that he had recently attended a service conducted by an evangelist who claimed to be able to heal the sick.

Formations 06.28.2015: A Conversation about Suffering

Though I was brought up in the church, it took the experience of leaving home and having to rub elbows with people from many different walks of life for me to get off of “auto pilot” and strive to make my faith my own.

Thrive: The Gift of Acknowledgement – Amy Shorner-Johnson

During the Christmas season, we often talk about loneliness and remembering those who are marginalized, those who might also feel abandoned as they get lost or overlooked.

Holiday Interrupted

I’ve been busy with the holidays since last week. When the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson was announced, I was picking up extended family from the airport. When a local action took place in my city the next day, I was gathered at my church for our annual Thanksgiving meal and service.

The Gripping Reality of the Spiritual “Dark Night”

We all know the hard-luck person (that’s what he gets labeled) who seems to encounter one tragedy after another. Sometimes, the tragedies seem to pile up on each other. Maybe you have been that person.

Uniform 10.12.2014: A Certain Assurance

Take a moment to name your top three fears. Chances are, your answers include some or even all of what Job experienced in his life. If anyone went through a “dark night of the soul,” it was him.

Uniform 02.16.2014: They’re Doing the Hard Thing

Two weeks ago, I posted an entry about doing the hard thing. “Do the hard thing,” I wrote. “Don’t just listen. Don’t just talk. Act on what you hear and say about Jesus. That’s what makes it real.” This idea is one of James’s main themes, and today’s text highlights it again.

You (Plural) Are Not Lacking

“You Are Not Lacking.” That was the title of the sermon I planned to preach on Sunday, January 19. But before I got to it, on Friday, January 17, the daughter-in-law of some beloved church members went on a walk near the church in the afternoon and never came home. Her name is Leanne Hecht Bearden.