My Recent (Pre-Modern) Reading

Here’s an update on some of what I’ve been reading lately. Much of my reading dovetails quite fortuitously. Hence, this not-so-brief post.

While all of the authors and books that I’m about to mention could be considered to be swimming in the same stream, I rather consider them to be fellow hikers coming out the other side of the same valley, the tower of non-transcendent rationality, namely, the valley of Modernity.

These authors join the ascent from the supposed peak of Enlightenment-modernity, each on their own winding path.… Continue Reading

A Topographical Map of the Gospel of Matthew

Note: I colorized, clarified, and updated the graphic after a conversation with Jonathan.

Just for the record, I am not writing this post in order to toot my own horn. But I wanted to wet your appetite for a soon-to-be-released, can’t miss book on the Sermon on the Mount.

World renowned Gospels’ scholar, Jonathan Pennington, will be releasing his latest book, The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary, on June 20, 2017. Jonathan happens to be a dear friend and I’ve had the benefit of reading an early manuscript.… Continue Reading

Virtue, Vice, & Social Media

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.… Continue Reading

The Dishonest Manager, Luke 16, & the Law of Mercy

It’s been far too long, thanks for coming out.

Here’s a popcorn, bullet point reflection on Father Ben’s excellent sermon from Luke 16 yesterday. Some of these “reflections” are from the sermon (especially those at the start). Lastly, I haven’t consulted commentaries or done any rigorous, in-depth exegesis, so these could be quite sloppy.

If you haven’t read the parable in awhile, read it first.

While the manager is “commended” for his shrewdness (v.8), the hero of the story is the merciful master.… Continue Reading

A Continuum of Loving

My day began with a wonderful reflection on love by my good friend Geoff, wherein he talks about the dangerous tendency for Christians in our day to be very busy about loving their enemies, all the while their relationships within the church and at home are malnourished (or wither and die). You really must read his post: “Loving Your Enemies Does Not Preclude Loving Your Friends”

If Matthew 5:43-48 is your only rubric for Christian love, then you might be tempted (as Geoff points out) to only love your enemies, to the neglect of those closest to you.… Continue Reading

This Is What Pastoral Ministry Looks Like

The Bible is chalk full of threefold exhortations. From Matthew’s obsession with three’s to Samson’s triple-whammy buffoonery, a wise reader of the Bible will pick up on and pay careful attention to this literary device. Repetition in writing or speaking is necessary both because humans are dense and because it is a time-tested rhetorical technique that works.

But this post isn’t about Delilah or the Sermon on the Mount. I have my eye on the resurrected Jesus and his most stubborn disciple.… Continue Reading

Date Night & The Sin of Communication

I firmly believe that one of the greatest problems in the church, in our families, and in all of humankind is the lack of communication. I don’t simply mean a lack of speaking. Rather, what I mean by a lack of “communication” is (1) a lack of clear speaking, (2) the lack of persuasive rhetoric, and (3) the pervasiveness of deceptive glory-of-self (denigration-of-another) motivated speech.

Ask my wife; in many ways we reverse the “typical” gender stereotypes, that of the closed off silent man and the always jabbering woman.… Continue Reading

Lions and Babies, Oh My!

Category mistakes and lack of nuance are fallen humanity’s two highest virtues vices. This human tendency to “tell like it is” is rampant in theological high towers, partisan Facebook posses, the fourth row of your local church congregation, and in the White House press room. Nobody is safe. Everyone is an extremist.

Enter Cecil (the lion) and Cecile (the human being).

“I looove chocolate!”

One area where lack of nuance is pervasive (and very often destructive as a result) is when we speak about love.… Continue Reading