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Just what is a “christian,” exactly? You’d think I’d know, being a minister. I’m sure that I could dust off a long-winded definition I learned in seminary. Or Google it and see what the latest Wikipedia or dictionary entry says. But I guess I’ve become a little confused, so please...

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One word makes a difference

I think “belonging” is a hot topic in churches right now. I want to say that it always has been, but we did go through several centuries where obligation, requirement and fear were pretty powerful motivators. Maybe they still are, for some. But, in these days of declining attendance and...

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Who are you?

In the history of the Christian church, Paul is certainly a “somebody.” His letters – the epistles – form a significant chunk of Christian scripture in the Bible, though some may be more authentically Paul than others. Perhaps even more significantly, we have those writings because he travelled, establishing communities...

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Faith alive with doubt

Every year, on the Sunday after Easter Day, we tell the same story. And I don’t mean the same story but a different source. Like, on Easter Day, we tell the resurrection story every year but from a different gospel. The schedule we follow for readings, the Lectionary, says one...

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He’s not there, he’s here.

The tomb was empty. The stone was rolled away from the entrance. The linen burial shroud they wrapped him in was still there, but the body of Jesus was gone. Isn’t that just like Jesus. He never seems to stay where we put him. Good thing: if he did, we...

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Is this what you were expecting?

Palm Sunday’s a big deal in most churches. It should be, it’s the beginning of what’s called Holy Week, the week that also includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, leading to Easter. It’s pretty much the only time we can chronologically follow Jesus’ story day to day. Sunday, Jesus rides...

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It’s a matter of life and death.

I think that one of the greatest gifts of the Bible is the capacity of the stories it holds to reveal truth far beyond an obvious meaning. Maybe I’ve been reading too many parables lately. Parables aren’t just stories with an obvious point, they’re meant to offer insight into Jesus’...

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Is it “like this?”

I love it when Jesus tells a parable. Parables are those little stories that have a message and illustrate a point or a lesson Jesus is teaching. They’re his “it’s like this” stories. At least, that’s the way they seem to appear in the gospels. Jesus tells a story and...

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Full and Fruitful

It’s been my experience that God gets blamed for a lot of things. I’m sure that God gets credit for lots, too. Surely no one says “Thank God!” as just a random expression of appreciation, do they? God’s included in many many things we say, but, before I get off...

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Deal or No Deal

It feels to me sometimes like we live in a world of “the deal.” So much of what we do and how we live seems to rely on what kind of a deal we can get. Or make. I give x, I get y in return. I invest (money, time,...

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