A Corporate Lenten Prayer

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven. Have mercy on us, Lord.   We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true […]

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Identity Formation and Being a Die-Hard Cubs Fan

David Brooks writes today about not being able to shake being a Mets fan.  I know whereof he speaks.  My being a Cubs fan precedes my choice, just as Brooks’s team loyalty does his. It was thrust upon me from my childhood.  I, too, can recall individual at-bats from 30 and 35 years ago.  I’ve tried […]

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The Offensive Inclusivity of Jesus’ Family, Pt. 3

A third text from Luke exhibits the offensive inclusivity of Jesus’ family, this one from the Book of Acts. At the end of his third mission, Paul arrives in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17).  It’s Pentecost and the city is jammed with pilgrims and heightened religious fervor.  James informs him that his presence in the city is […]

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The Offensive Inclusivity of Jesus’ Family, Pt. 2

Jesus’ inclusive ministry crossed ethnic lines, offending Jewish racial prejudices.  It also offended self-satisfied religious leaders. Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:1-2). They were offended that Jesus was […]

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The Offensive Inclusivity of Jesus’ Family

Luke’s Gospel, like Mark, emphasizes “outsiders.”  In Mark, everyone who ought to get Jesus doesn’t (the disciples, Pharisees, scribes, etc.) and everyone who shouldn’t get Jesus does (the demon-possessed, leprous, unclean, the Syrophoenician woman, etc.). In Luke, Jesus is the Savior of all humanity—Jew and gentile—and this doesn’t sit well with God’s people.  We see […]

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Lent Prayer for the Weekend

Lord, with your loving care guide the repentance we have begun. Help us to persevere with love and sincerity.   Lord, we know how much you love us. It’s hard for us to feel it sometimes, but we know your love is always with us.   Help us to draw upon your love as a way to […]

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How to Desire the Kingdom of God

In Mark 10, everyone wants the Kingdom and the King.  Just as in the rest of Mark’s Gospel, however, many people see the Kingdom through their personal idolatries. In U2’s “The Wanderer,” the main character encounters people with such perverted conceptions: I stopped outside a church house Where the citizens like to sit. They say […]

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Leadership in Light of the Cross

The cross is central in Mark’s Gospel, determining everything about the character of Jesus, God, and discipleship to God’s Son. The cross also orients leadership among God’s people.  Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you […]

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